Five Years of Theosophy

00_Kaisern Chen Haitse Mountains





Selected from “The Theosophist”


Mohini M. Chatterji

Contributions by
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, T. Subba Row,
Damodar K. Mavalankar, and more.




The “Elixir of Life”
Is the Desire to “Live” Selfish?
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Ancient Opinions Upon Psychic Bodies
The Nilgiri Sannyasis
Witchcraft on the Nilgiris
Shamanism and Witchcraft Amongst the Kolarian Tribes
Mahatmas and Chelas
The Brahmanical Thread
Reading in a Sealed Envelope
The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac
The Sishal and Bhukailas Yogis


True and False Personality
Zoroastrianism on the Septenary Constitution of Man
Brahmanism on the Sevenfold Principle in Man
The Septenary Principle in Different Indian Systems
The Septenary Principle in Esotericism
Personal and Impersonal God
Prakriti and Purusha
Morality and Pantheism
Occult Study
Some Inquiries Suggested by Mr. Sinnett’s “Esoteric Buddhism”
Sakya Muni’s Place in History
Inscriptions Discovered by General A. Cunningham
Discrimination of Spirit and Not-Spirit
Was Writing Known Before Pânini?


What is Theosophy?
H0w a “Chela” Found His “Guru”
The Sages of the Himavat
The Himalayan Brothers—Do They Exist?
Interview With A Mahatma
The Secret Doctrine


The Puranas on the Dynasty of the Moryas and on Koothoomi
The Theory of Cycles


Odorigen and Jiva
Introversion of Mental Vision
How Shall We Sleep?”
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Om” and its Practical Significance




The “Elixir of Life”

From a Chela’s1 Diary. by G—— M——, F.T.S.

And Enoch walked with the Elohim, and the Elohim took him.”—GENESIS.


The curious information—for whatsoever else the world may think of it, it will doubtless be acknowledged to be that—contained in the article that follows, merits a few words of introduction. The details given in it on the subject of what has always been considered as one of the darkest and most strictly guarded of the mysteries of the initiation into occultism—from the days of the Rishis until those of the Theosophical Society—came to the knowledge of the author in a way that would seem to the ordinary run of Europeans strange and supernatural. He himself, however, we may assure the reader, is a most thorough disbeliever in the Supernatural, though he has learned too much to limit the capabilities of the natural as some do. Further, he has to make the following confession of his own belief. It will be apparent, from a careful perusal of the facts, that if the matter be really as stated therein, the author cannot himself be an adept of high grade, as the article in such a case would never have been written. Nor does he pretend to be one. He is, or rather was, for a few years an humble Chela. Hence, the converse must consequently be also true, that as regards the higher stages of the mystery he can have no personal experience, but speaks of it only as a close observer left to his own surmises—and no more. He may, therefore, boldly state that during, and notwithstanding, his unfortunately rather too short stay with some adepts, he has by actual experiment and observation verified some of the less transcendental or incipient parts of the “Course.” And, though it will be impossible for him to give positive testimony as to what lies beyond, he may yet mention that all his own course of study, training and experience, long, severe and dangerous as it has often been, leads him to the conviction that everything is really as stated, save some details purposely veiled. For causes which cannot be explained to the public, he himself may he unable or unwilling to use the secret he has gained access to. Still he is permitted by one to whom all his reverential affection and gratitude are due—his last guru—to divulge for the benefit of Science and Man, and specially for the good of those who are courageous enough to personally make the experiment, the following astounding particulars of the occult methods for prolonging life to a period far beyond the common—G. M.

Probably one of the first considerations which move the worldly-minded at present to solicit initiation into Theosophy is the belief, or hope, that, immediately on joining, some extraordinary advantage over the rest of mankind will be conferred upon the candidate. Some even think that the ultimate result of their initiation will perhaps be exemption from that dissolution which is called the common lot of mankind. The traditions of the “Elixir of Life,” said to be in the possession of Kabalists and Alchemists, are still cherished by students of Medieval Occultism—in Europe. The allegory of the Ab-è Hyat or Water of Life, is still credited as a fact by the degraded remnants of the Asiatic esoteric sects ignorant of the real GREAT SECRET. The “pungent and fiery Essence,” by which Zanoni renewed his existence, still fires the imagination of modern visionaries as a possible scientific discovery of the future.

Theosophically, though the fact is distinctly declared to be true, the above-named conceptions of the mode of procedure leading to the realization of the fact, are known to be false. The reader may or may not believe it; but as a matter of fact, Theosophical Occultists claim to have communication with (living) Intelligences possessing an infinitely wider range of observation than is contemplated even by the loftiest aspirations of modern science, all the present “Adepts” of Europe and America—dabblers in the Kabala—notwithstanding. But far even as those superior Intelligences have investigated (or, if preferred, are alleged to have investigated), and remotely as they may have searched by the help of inference and analogy, even They have failed to discover in the Infinity anything permanent but—SPACE. ALL IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Reflection, therefore, will easily suggest to the reader the further logical inference that in a Universe which is essentially impermanent in its conditions, nothing can confer permanency. Therefore, no possible substance, even if drawn from the depths of Infinity; no imaginable combination of drugs, whether of our earth or any other, though compounded by even the Highest Intelligence; no system of life or discipline though directed by the sternest determination and skill, could possibly produce Immutability. For in the universe of solar systems, wherever and however investigated, Immutability necessitates “Non-Being” in the physical sense given it by the Theists—Non-Being which is nothing in the narrow conceptions of Western Religionists—a reductio ad absurdum. This is a gratuitous insult even when applied to the pseudo-Christian or ecclesiastical Jehovite idea of God.

Consequently, it will be seen that the common ideal conception of “Immortality” is not only essentially wrong, but a physical and metaphysical impossibility. The idea, whether cherished by Theosophists or non-Theosophists, by Christians or Spiritualists, by Materialists or Idealists, is a chimerical illusion. But the actual prolongation of human life is possible for a time so long as to appear miraculous and incredible to those who regard our span of existence as necessarily limited to at most a couple of hundred years. We may break, as it were, the shock of Death, and instead of dying, change a sudden plunge into darkness to a transition into a brighter light. And this may be made so gradual that the passage from one state of existence to another shall have its friction minimised, so as to be practically imperceptible. This is a very different matter, and quite within the reach of Occult Science. In this, as in all other cases, means properly directed will gain their ends, and causes produce effects. Of course, the only question is, what are these causes, and how, in their turn, are they to be produced. To lift, as far as may be allowed, the veil from this aspect of Occultism, is the object of the present paper.

We must premise by reminding the reader of two Theosophic doctrines, constantly inculcated in “Isis” and in other mystic works—namely, (a) that ultimately the Kosmos is One—one under infinite variations and manifestations, and (b) that the so-called man is a “compound being”—composite not only in the exoteric scientific sense of being a congeries of living so-called material Units, but also in the esoteric sense of being a succession of seven forms or parts of itself, interblended with each other. To put it more clearly we might say that the more ethereal forms are but duplicates of the same aspect,—each finer one lying within the inter-atomic spaces of the next grosser. We would have the reader understand that these are no subtleties, no “spiritualities” at all in the Christo-Spiritualistic sense. In the actual man reflected in your mirror are really several men, or several parts of one composite man; each the exact counterpart of the other, but the “atomic conditions” (for want of a better word) of each of which are so arranged that its atoms interpenetrate those of the next “grosser” form. It does not, for our present purpose, matter how the Theosophists, Spiritualists, Buddhists, Kabalists, or Vedantists, count, separate, classify, arrange or name these, as that war of terms may be postponed to another occasion. Neither does it matter what relation each of these men has to the various “elements” of the Kosmos of which he forms a part. This knowledge, though of vital importance in other respects, need not be explained or discussed now. Nor does it much more concern us that the Scientists deny the existence of such an arrangement, because their instruments are inadequate to make their senses perceive it. We will simply reply—“get better instruments and keener senses, and eventually you will.”

All we have to say is that if you are anxious to drink of the “Elixir of Life,” and live a thousand years or so, you must take our word for the matter at present, and proceed on the assumption. For esoteric science does not give the faintest possible hope that the desired end will ever be attained by any other way; while modern, or so-called exact science—laughs at it.

So, then, we have arrived at the point where we have determined—literally, not metaphorically—to crack the outer shell known as the mortal coil or body, and hatch out of it, clothed in our next. This “next” is not spiritual, but only a more ethereal form. Having by a long training and preparation adapted it for a life in this atmosphere, during which time we have gradually made the outward shell to die off through a certain process (hints of which will be found further on) we have to prepare for this physiological transformation.

How are we to do it? In the first place we have the actual, visible, material body—Man, so called; though, in fact, but his outer shell—to deal with. Let us bear in mind that science teaches us that in about every seven years we change skin as effectually as any serpent; and this so gradually and imperceptibly that, had not science after years of unremitting study and observation assured us of it, no one would have had the slightest suspicion of the fact.

We see, moreover, that in process of time any cut or lesion upon the body, however deep, has a tendency to repair the loss and reunite; a piece of lost skin is very soon replaced by another. Hence, if a man, partially flayed alive, may sometimes survive and be covered with a new skin, so our astral, vital body—the fourth of the seven (having attracted and assimilated to itself the second) and which is so much more ethereal than the physical one—may be made to harden its particles to the atmospheric changes. The whole secret is to succeed in evolving it out, and separating it from the visible; and while its generally invisible atoms proceed to concrete themselves into a compact mass, to gradually get rid of the old particles of our visible frame so as to make them die and disappear before the new set has had time to evolve and replace them . . . We can say no more. The Magdalene is not the only one who could be accused of having “seven spirits” in her, though men who have a lesser number of spirits (what a misnomer that word!) in them, are not few or exceptional; they are the frequent failures of nature—the incomplete men and women.2

Each of these has in turn to survive the preceding and more dense one, and then die. The exception is the sixth when absorbed into and blended with the seventh. The “Dhatu”3 of the old Hindu physiologist had a dual meaning, the esoteric side of which corresponds with the Tibetan “Zung” (seven principles of the body).

We Asiatics, have a proverb, probably handed down to us, and by the Hindus repeated ignorantly as to its esoteric meaning. It has been known ever since the old Rishis mingled familiarly with the simple and noble people they taught and led on. The Devas had whispered into every man’s ear—Thou only—if thou wilt—art “immortal.” Combine with this the saying of a Western author that if any man could just realize for an instant, that he had to die some day, he would die that instant. The Illuminated will perceive that between these two sayings, rightly understood, stands revealed the whole secret of Longevity. We only die when our will ceases to be strong enough to make us live. In the majority of cases, death comes when the torture and vital exhaustion accompanying a rapid change in our physical conditions becomes so intense as to weaken, for one single instant, our “clutch on life,” or the tenacity of the will to exist. Till then, however severe may be the disease, however sharp the pang, we are only sick or wounded, as the case may be. This explains the cases of sudden deaths from joy, fright, pain, grief or such other causes. The sense of a life-task consummated, of the worthlessness of one’s existence, if strongly realized, produced death as surely as poison or a rifle-bullet. On the other hand, a stern determination to continue to live, has, in fact, carried many through the crises of the most severe diseases, in perfect safety.

First, then, must be the determination—the Will—the conviction of certainty, to survive and continue.4 Without that, all else is useless. And to be efficient for the purpose, it must be, not only a passing resolution of the moment, a single fierce desire of short duration, but a settled and continued strain, as nearly as can be continued and concentrated without one single moment’s relaxation. In a word, the would-be “ Immortal” must be on his watch night and day, guarding self against—himself. To live—to live—to live—must be his unswerving resolve. He must as little as possible allow himself to be turned aside from it. It may be said that this is the most concentrated form of selfishness,—that it is utterly opposed to our Theosophic professions of benevolence, and disinterestedness, and regard for the good of humanity. Well, viewed in a short-sighted way, it is so. But to do good, as in everything else, a man must have time and materials to work with, and this is a necessary means to the acquirement of powers by which infinitely more good can be done than without them. When these are once mastered, the opportunities to use them will arrive, for there comes a moment when further watch and exertion are no longer needed:the moment when the turning-point is safely passed. For the present as we deal with aspirants and not with advanced chelas, in the first stage a determined, dogged resolution, and an enlightened concentration of self on self, are all that is absolutely necessary. It must not, however, be considered that the candidate is required to be unhuman or brutal in his negligence of others. Such a recklessly selfish course would be as injurious to him as the contrary one of expending his vital energy on the gratification of his physical desires. All that is required from him is a purely negative attitude. Until the turning-point is reached, he must not “lay out” his energy in lavish or fiery devotion to any cause, however noble, however “good,” however elevated.5 Such, we can solemnly assure the reader, would bring its reward in many ways—perhaps in another life, perhaps in this world, but it would tend to shorten the existence it is desired to preserve, as surely as self-indulgence and profligacy. That is why very few of the truly great men of the world (of course, the unprincipled adventurers who have applied great powers to bad uses are out of the question)—the martyrs, the heroes, the founders of religions, the liberators of nations, the leaders of reforms—ever became members of the long-lived “Brotherhood of Adepts” who were by some and for long years accused of selfishness. (And that is also why the Yogis, and the Fakirs of modern India—most of whom are acting now but on the dead-letter tradition, are required if they would be considered living up to the principles of their profession—to appear entirely dead to every inward feeling or emotion.) Notwithstanding the purity of their hearts, the greatness of their aspirations, the disinterestedness of their self-sacrifice, they could not live for they had missed the hour. They may at times have exercised powers which the world called miraculous; they may have electrified man and subdued Nature by fiery and self-devoted Will; they may have been possessed of a so-called superhuman intelligence; they may have even had knowledge of, and communion with, members of our own occult Brotherhood; but, having deliberately resolved to devote their vital energy to the welfare of others, rather than to themselves, they have surrendered life; and, when perishing on the cross or the scaffold, or falling, sword in hand, upon the battle-field, or sinking exhausted after a successful consummation of the life-object, on death-beds in their chambers, they have all alike had to cry out at last: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!”

So far so good. But, given the will to live, however powerful, we have seen that, in the ordinary course of mundane life, the throes of dissolution cannot be checked. The desperate, and again and again renewed struggle of the Kosmic elements to proceed with a career of change despite the will that is checking them, like a pair of runaway horses struggling against the determined driver holding them in, are so cumulatively powerful, that the utmost efforts of the untrained human will acting within an unprepared body become ultimately useless. The highest intrepidity of the bravest soldier; the interest desire of the yearning lover; the hungry greed of the unsatisfied miser; the most undoubting faith of the sternest fanatic; the practised insensibility to pain of the hardiest red Indian brave or half-trained Hindu Yogi; the most deliberate philosophy of the calmest thinker—all alike fail at last. Indeed, sceptics will allege in opposition to the verities of this article that, as a matter of experience, it is often observed that the mildest and most irresolute of minds and the weakest of physical frames are often seen to resist “Death” longer than the powerful will of the high-spirited and obstinately-egotistic man, and the iron frame of the labourer, the warrior and the athlete. In reality, however, the key to the secret of these apparently contradictory phenomena is the true conception of the very thing we have already said. If the physical development of the gross “outer shell” proceeds on parallel lines and at an equal rate with that of the will, it stands to reason that no advantage for the purpose of overcoming it, is attained by the latter. The acquisition of improved breechloaders by one modern army confers no absolute superiority if the enemy also becomes possessed of them. Consequently it will be at once apparent, to those who think on the subject, that much of the training by which what is known as “a powerful and determined nature,” perfects itself for its own purpose on the stage of the visible world, necessitating and being useless without a parallel development of the “gross” and so-called animal frame, is, in short, neutralized, for the purpose at present treated of, by the fact that its own action has armed the enemy with weapons equal to its own. The force of the impulse to dissolution is rendered equal to the will to oppose it; and being cumulative, subdues the will-power and triumphs at last. On the other hand, it may happen that an apparently weak and vacillating will-power residing in a weak and undeveloped physical frame, may be so reinforced by some unsatisfied desire—the Ichcha (wish)—as it is called by the Indian Occultists (for instance, a mother’s heart-yearning to remain and support her fatherless children)—as to keep down and vanquish, for a short time, the physical throes of a body to which it has become temporarily superior.

The whole rationale then, of the first condition of continued existence in this world, is (a) the development of a Will so powerful as to overcome the hereditary (in a Darwinian sense) tendencies of the atoms composing the “gross” and palpable animal frame, to hurry on at a particular period in a certain course of Kosmic change; and (b) to so weaken the concrete action of that animal frame as to make it more amenable to the power of the Will. To defeat an army, you must demoralize and throw it into disorder.

To do this then, is the real object of all the rites, ceremonies, fasts, “prayers,” meditations, initiations and procedures of self-discipline enjoined by various esoteric Eastern sects, from that course of pure and elevated aspiration which leads to the higher phases of Adeptism Real, down to the fearful and disgusting ordeals which the adherent of the “Left-hand-Road” has to pass through, all the time maintaining his equilibrium. The procedures have their merits and their demerits, their separate uses and abuses, their essential and non-essential parts, their various veils, mummeries, and labyrinths. But in all, the result aimed at is reached, if by different processes. The Will is strengthened, encouraged and directed, and the elements opposing its action are demoralized. Now, to any one who has thought out and connected the various evolution theories, as taken, not from any occult source, but from the ordinary scientific manual accessible to all—from the hypothesis of the latest variation in the habits of species—say, the acquisition of carnivorous habits by the New Zealand parrot, for instance—to the farthest glimpses backwards into Space and Eternity afforded by the “Fire Mist”doctrine, it will be apparent that they all rest on one basis. That basis is, that the impulse once given to a hypothetical Unit has a tendency to continue; and consequently, that anything “done” by something at a certain time and certain place tends to repeat itself at other times and places.

Such is the admitted rationale of heredity and atavism. That the same things apply to our ordinary conduct is apparent from the notorious ease with which “habits,”—bad or good, as the case may be—are acquired, and it will not be questioned that this applies, as a rule, as much to the moral and intellectual, as to the physical world.

Furthermore, History and Science teach us plainly that certain physical habits conduce to certain moral and intellectual results. There never yet was a conquering nation of vegetarians. Even in the old Aryan times, we do not learn that the very Rishis, from whose lore and practice we gain the knowledge of Occultism, ever interdicted the Kshetriya (military) caste from hunting or a carnivorous diet. Filling, as they did, a certain place in the body politic in the actual condition of the world, the Rishis as little thought of interfering with them, as of restraining the tigers of the jungle from their habits. That did not affect what the Rishis did themselves.

The aspirant to longevity then must be on his guard against two dangers. He must beware especially of impure and animal6 thoughts. For Science shows that thought is dynamic, and the thought-force evolved by nervous action expanding outwardly, must affect the molecular relations of the physical man. The inner men,7 however sublimated their organism may be, are still composed of actual, not hypothetical,particles, and are still subject to the law that an “action” has a tendency to repeat itself; a tendency to set up analogous action in the grosser “shell” they are in contact with, and concealed within.

And, on the other hand, certain actions have a tendency to produce actual physical conditions unfavourable to pure thoughts, hence to the state required for developing the supremacy of the inner man.

To return to the practical process. A normally healthy mind, in a normally healthy body, is a good starting-point. Though exceptionally powerful and self-devoted natures may sometimes recover the ground lost by mental degradation or physical misuse, by employing proper means, under the direction of unswerving resolution, yet often things may have gone so far that there is no longer stamina enough to sustain the conflict sufficiently long to perpetuate this life; though what in Eastern parlance is called the “merit” of the effort will help to ameliorate conditions and improve matters in another.

However this may be, the prescribed course of self-discipline commences here. It may be stated briefly that its essence is a course of moral, mental, and physical development, carried on in parallel lines—one being useless without the other. The physical man must be rendered more ethereal and sensitive; the mental man more penetrating and profound; the moral man more self-denying and philosophical. And it may be mentioned that all sense of restraint—even if self-imposed—is useless. Not only is all “goodness” that results from the compulsion of physical force, threats, or bribes (whether of a physical or so-called “spiritual’ nature) absolutely useless to the person who exhibits it, its hypocrisy tending to poison the moral atmosphere of the world, but the desire to be “good” or “pure,” to be efficacious must be spontaneous. It must be a self-impulse from within, a real preference for something higher, not an abstention from vice because of fear of the law: not a chastity enforced by the dread of Public Opinion; not a benevolence exercised through love of praise or dread of consequences in a hypothetical Future Life.8

It will be seen now in connection with the doctrine of the tendency to the renewal of action, before discussed, that the course of self-discipline recommended as the only road to Longevity by Occultism is not a “visionary” theory dealing with vague “ideas,” but actually a scientifically devised system of drill. It is a system by which each particle of the several men composing the septenary individual receives an impulse, and a habit of doing what is necessary for certain purposes of its own free-will and with “pleasure.” Every one must be practised and perfect in a thing to do it with pleasure. This rule especially applies to the case of the development of Man. “Virtue” may be very good in its way—it may lead to the grandest results. But to become efficacious it has to be practised cheerfully not with reluctance or pain. As a consequence of the above consideration the candidate for Longevity at the commencement of his career must begin to eschew his physical desires, not from any sentimental theory of right or wrong, but for the following good reason. As, according to a well-known and now established scientific theory, his visible material frame is always renewing its particles; he will, while abstaining from the gratification of his desires, reach the end of a certain period during which those particles which composed the man of vice, and which were given a bad predisposition, will have departed. At the same time, the disuse of such functions will tend to obstruct the entry, in place of the old particles, of new particles having a tendency to repeat the said acts. And while this is the particular result as regards certain “vices,” the general result of an abstention from “gross” acts will be (by a modification of the well-known Darwinian law of atrophy by non-usage) to diminish what we may call the “relative” density and coherence of the outer shell (as a result of its less-used molecules); while the diminution in the quantity of its actual constituents will be “made up” (if tried by scales and weights) by the increased admission of more ethereal particles.

What physical desires are to be abandoned and in what order? First and foremost, he must give up alcohol in all forms; for while it supplies no nourishment, nor any direct pleasure (beyond such sweetness or fragrance as may be gained in the taste of wine, etc., to which alcohol, in itself, is non-essential) to even the grossest elements of the “physical” frame, it induces a violence of action, a rush so to speak, of life, the stress of which can only be sustained by very dull, gross, and dense elements, and which, by the operation of the well-known law of Re-action (in commercial phrase, “supply and demand”) tends to summon them from the surrounding universe, and therefore directly counteracts the object we have in view.

Next comes meat-eating, and for the very same reason, in a minor degree. It increases the rapidity of life, the energy of action, the violence of passions. It may be good for a hero who has to fight and die, but not for a would-be sage who has to exist and . . .

Next in order come the sexual desires; for these, in addition to the great diversion of energy (vital force) into other channels, in many different ways, beyond the primary one (as, for instance, the waste of energy in expectation, jealousy, etc.), are direct attractions to a certain gross quality of the original matter of the Universe, simply because the most pleasurable physical sensations are only possible at that stage of density. Alongside with and extending beyond all these and other gratifications of the senses (which include not only those things usually known as “vicious,” but all those which, though ordinarily regarded as “innocent,” have yet the disqualification of ministering to the pleasures of the body—the most harmless to others and the least “gross” being the criterion for those to be last abandoned in each case)—must be carried on the moral purification.

Nor must it be imagined that “ austerities” as commonly understood can, in the majority of cases, avail much to hasten the “etherealizing” process. That is the rock on which many of the Eastern esoteric sects have foundered, and the reason why they have degenerated into degrading superstitions. The Western monks and the Eastern Yogees, who think they will reach the apex of powers by concentrating their thought on their navel, or by standing on one leg, are practising exercises which serve no other purpose than to strengthen the willpower, which is sometimes applied to the basest purposes. These are examples of this one-sided and dwarf development. It is no use to fast as long as you require food. The ceasing of desire for food without impairment of health is the sign which indicates that it should be taken in lesser and ever decreasing quantities until the extreme limit compatible with life is reached. A stage will be finally attained where only water will be required.

Nor is it of any use for this particular purpose of longevity to abstain from immorality so long as you are craving for it in your heart; and so on with all other unsatisfied inward cravings. To get rid of the inward desire is the essential thing, and to mimic the real thing without it is barefaced hypocrisy and useless slavery.

So it must be with the moral purification of the heart. The “basest” inclinations must go first— then the others. First avarice, then fear, then envy, worldly pride, uncharitableness, hatred; last of all ambition and curiosity must be abandoned successively. The strengthening of the more ethereal and so-called “spiritual” parts of the man must go on at the same time. Reasoning from the known to the unknown, meditation must be practised and encouraged. Meditation is the inexpressible yearning of the inner Man to “go out towards the infinite,” which in the olden time was the real meaning of adoration, but which has now no synonym in the European languages, because the thing no longer exists in the West, and its name has been vulgarized to the make-believe shams known as prayer, glorification, and repentance. Through all stages of training the equilibrium of the consciousness—the assurance that all must be right in the Kosmos, and therefore with you a portion of it—must be retained. The process of life must not be hurried but retarded, if possible; to do otherwise may do good to others—perhaps even to yourself in other spheres, but it will hasten your dissolution in this.

Nor must the externals be neglected in this first stage. Remember that an adept, though “existing” so as to convey to ordinary minds the idea of his being immortal, is not also invulnerable to agencies from without. The training to prolong life does not, in itself, secure one from accidents. As far as any physical preparation goes, the sword may still cut, the disease enter, the poison disarrange. This case is very clearly and beautifully put in “Zanoni,” and it is correctly put and must be so, unless all “adeptism” is a baseless lie. The adept may be more secure from ordinary dangers than the common mortal, but he is so by virtue of the superior knowledge, calmness, coolness and penetration which his lengthened existence and its necessary concomitants have enabled him to acquire; not by virtue of any preservative power in the process itself. He is secure as a man armed with a rifle is more secure than a naked baboon; not secure in the sense in which the deva (god) was supposed to be securer than a man.

If this is so in the case of the high adept, how much more necessary is it that the neophyte should be not only protected but that he himself should use all possible means to ensure for himself the necessary duration of life to complete the process of mastering the phenomena we call death! It may be said, why do not the higher adepts protect him? Perhaps they do to some extent, but the child must learn to walk alone; to make him independent of his own efforts in respect to safety, would be destroying one element necessary to his development—the sense of responsibility. What courage or conduct would be called for in a man sent to fight when armed with irresistible weapons and clothed in impenetrable armour? Hence the neophyte should endeavour, as far as possible, to fulfill every true canon of sanitary law as laid down by modern scientists. Pure air, pure water, pure food, gentle exercise, regular hours, pleasant occupations and surroundings, are all, if not indispensable, at least serviceable to his progress. It is to secure these, at least as much as silence and solitude, that the Gods, Sages, Occultists of all ages have retired as much as possible to the quiet of the country, the cool cave, the depths of the forest, the expanse of the desert, or the heights of the mountains. Is it not suggestive that the Gods have always loved the “high places”; and that in the present day the highest section of the Occult Brotherhood on earth inhabits the highest mountain plateaux of the earth?9

Nor must the beginner disdain the assistance of medicine and good medical regimen. He is still an ordinary mortal, and he requires the aid of an ordinary mortal.

“Suppose, however, all the conditions required, or which will be understood as required (for the details and varieties of treatment requisite, are too numerous to be detailed here), are fulfilled, what is the next step?” the reader will ask. Well if there have been no backslidings or remissness in the procedure indicated, the following physical results will follow:

First the neophyte will take more pleasure in things spiritual and pure. Gradually gross and material occupations will become not only uncraved for or forbidden, but simply and literally repulsive to him. He will take more pleasure in the simple sensations of Nature—the sort of feeling one can remember to have experienced as a child. He will feel more light-hearted, confident, happy. Let him take care the sensation of renewed youth does not mislead, or he will yet risk a fall into his old baser life and even lower depths. “Action and Re-action are equal.”

Now the desire for food will begin to cease. Let it be left off gradually—no fasting is required. Take what you feel you require. The food craved for will be the most innocent and simple. Fruit and milk will usually be the best. Then as till now, you have been simplifying the quality of your food, gradually—very gradually—as you feel capable of it diminish the quantity. You will ask: “Can a man exist without food?” No, but before you mock, consider the character of the process alluded to. It is a notorious fact that many of the lowest and simplest organisms have no excretions. The common guinea-worm is a very good instance. It has rather a complicated organism, but it has no ejaculatory duct. All it consumes—the poorest essences of the human body—is applied to its growth and propagation. Living as it does in human tissue, it passes no digested food away. The human neophyte, at a certain stage of his development, is in a somewhat analogous condition, with this difference or differences, that he does excrete, but it is through the pores of his skin, and by those too enter other etherealized particles of matter to contribute towards his support.10 Otherwise, all the food and drink is sufficient only to keep in equilibrium those “gross” parts of his physical body which still remain to repair their cuticle-waste through the medium of the blood. Later on, the process of cell-development in his frame will undergo a change; a change for the better, the opposite of that in disease for the worse—he will become all living and sensitive, and will derive nourishment from the Ether (Akas). But that epoch for our neophyte is yet far distant.

Probably, long before that period has arrived, other results, no less surprising than incredible to the uninitiated will have ensued to give our neophyte courage and consolation in his difficult task. It would be but a truism to repeat what has been again alleged (in ignorance of its real rationale) by hundreds and hundreds of writers as to the happiness and content conferred by a life of innocence and purity. But often at the very commencement of the process some real physical result, unexpected and unthought of by the neophyte, occurs. Some lingering disease, hitherto deemed hopeless, may take a favourable turn; or he may develop healing mesmeric powers himself; or some hitherto unknown sharpening of his senses may delight him. The rationale of these things is, as we have said, neither miraculous nor difficult of comprehension. In the first place, the sudden change in the direction of the vital energy (which, whatever view we take of it and its origin, is acknowledged by all schools of philosophy as most recondite, and as the motive power) must produce results of some kind. In the second, Theosophy shows, as we said before, that a man consists of several men pervading each other, and on this view (although it is very difficult to express the idea in language) it is but natural that the progressive etherealization of the densest and most gross of all should leave the others literally more at liberty. A troop of horses may be blocked by a mob and have much difficulty in fighting its way through; but if every one of the mob could be changed suddenly into a ghost, there would be little to retard it. And as each interior entity is more rare, active, and volatile than the outer and as each has relation with different elements, spaces, and properties of the Kosmos which are treated of in other articles on Occultism, the mind of the reader may conceive—though the pen of the writer could not express it in a dozen volumes—the magnificent possibilities gradually unfolded to the neophyte.

Many of the opportunities thus suggested may be taken advantage of by the neophyte for his own safety, amusement, and the good of those around him; but the way in which he does this is one adapted to his fitness—a part of the ordeal he has to pass through, and misuse of these powers will certainly entail the loss of them as a natural result. The Itchcha (or desire) evoked anew by the vistas they open up will retard or throw back his progress.

But there is another portion of the Great Secret to which we must allude, and which is now, for the first, in a long series of ages, allowed to be given out to the world, as the hour for it is come.

The educated reader need not be reminded again that one of the great discoveries which has immortalized the name of Darwin is the law that an organism has always a tendency to repeat, at an analogous period in its life, the action of its progenitors, the more surely and completely in proportion to their proximity in the scale of life. One result of this is, that, in general, organized beings usually die at a period (on an average) the same as that of their progenitors. It is true that there is a great difference between the actual ages at which individuals of any species die. Disease, accidents and famine are the main agents in causing this. But there is, in each species, a well-known limit within which the Race-life lies, and none are known to survive beyond it. This applies to the human species as well as any other. Now, supposing that every possible sanitary condition had been complied with, and every accident and disease avoided by a man of ordinary frame, in some particular case there would still, as is known to medical men, come a time when the particles of the body would feel the hereditary tendency to do that which leads inevitably to dissolution, and would obey it. It must be obvious to any reflecting man that, if by any procedure this critical climacteric could be once thoroughly passed over, the subsequent danger of “Death” would be proportionally less as the years progressed. Now this, which no ordinary and unprepared mind and body can do, is possible sometimes for the will and the frame of one who has been specially prepared. There are fewer of the grosser particles present to feel the hereditary bias—there is the assistance of the reinforced “interior men” (whose normal duration is always greater even in natural death) to the visible outer shell, and there is the drilled and indomitable Will to direct and wield the whole.11

From that time forward the course of the aspirant is clearer. He has conquered “the Dweller of the Threshold”—the hereditary enemy of his race, and, though still exposed to ever-new dangers in his progress towards Nirvana, he is flushed with victory, and with new confidence and new powers to second it, can press onwards to perfection.

For, it must be remembered, that nature everywhere acts by Law, and that the process of purification we have been describing in the visible material body, also takes place in those which are interior, and not visible to the scientist by modifications of the same process. All is on the change, and the metamorphoses of the more ethereal bodies imitate, though in successively multiplied duration, the career of the grosser, gaining an increasing wider range of relations with the surrounding kosmos, till in Nirvana the most rarefied Individuality is merged at last into the INFINITE TOTALITY.

From the above description of the process, it will be inferred why it is that “Adepts” are so seldom seen in ordinary life; for, pari passu, with the etherealization of their bodies and the development of their power, grows an increasing distaste, and a so-to-speak, “contempt” for the things of our ordinary mundane existence. Like the fugitive who successively casts away in his flight those articles which incommode his progress, beginning with the heaviest, so the aspirant eluding “Death” abandons all on which the latter can take hold. In the progress of Negation everything got rid of is a help. As we said before, the adept does not become “immortal” as the word is ordinarily understood. By or about the time when the Death-limit of his race is passed he is actually dead, in the ordinary sense, that is to say, he has relieved himself of all or nearly all such material particles as would have necessitated in disruption the agony of dying. He has been dying gradually during the whole period of his Initiation. The catastrophe cannot happen twice over. He has only spread over a number of years the mild process of dissolution which others endure from a brief moment to a few hours. The highest Adept is, in fact, dead to, and absolutely unconscious of, the world; he is oblivious of its pleasures, careless of its miseries, in so far as sentimentalism goes, for the stern sense of DUTY never leaves him blind to its very existence. For the new ethereal senses opening to wider spheres are to ours much in the relation of ours to the Infinitely Little. New desires and enjoyments, new dangers and new hindrances arise, with new sensations and new perceptions; and far away down in the mist—both literally and metaphorically—is our dirty little earth left below by those who have virtually “gone to join the gods.”

And from this account too, it will be perceptible how foolish it is for people to ask the Theosophist to “procure for them communication with the highest Adepts.” It is with the utmost difficulty that one or two can be induced, even by the throes of a world, to injure their own progress by meddling with mundane affairs. The ordinary reader will say: “This is not god-like. This is the acme of selfishness.” . . . But let him realize that a very high Adept, undertaking to reform the world, would necessarily have to once more submit to Incarnation. And is the result of all that have gone before in that line sufficiently encouraging to prompt a renewal of the attempt?

A deep consideration of all that we have written, will also give the Theosophists an idea of what they demand when they ask to be put in the way of gaining practically “higher powers.” Well, there, as plainly as words can put it, is the PATH . . . can they tread it?

Nor must it be disguised that what to the ordinary mortal are unexpected dangers, temptations and enemies also beset the way of the neophyte. And that for no fanciful cause, but the simple reason that he is, in fact, acquiring new senses, has yet no practice in their use, and has never before seen the things he sees. A man born blind suddenly endowed with vision would not at once master the meaning of perspective, but would, like a baby, imagine in one case, the moon to be within his reach, and, in the other, grasp a live coal with the most reckless confidence.

And what, it may be asked, is to recompense this abnegation of all the pleasures of life, this cold surrender of all mundane interests, this stretching forward to an unknown goal which seems ever more unattainable? For, unlike some of the anthropomorphic creeds, Occultism offers to its votaries no eternally permanent heaven of material pleasure, to be gained at once by one quick dash through the grave. As has, in fact, often been the case many would be prepared willingly to die now for the sake of the paradise hereafter. But Occultism gives no such prospect of cheaply and immediately gained infinitude of pleasure, wisdom and existence. It only promises extensions of these, stretching in successive arches obscured by successive veils, in an unbroken series up the long vista which leads to NIRVANA. And this too, qualified by the necessity that new powers entail new responsibilities, and that the capacity of increased pleasure entails the capacity of increased sensibility to pain. To this, the only answer that can be given is two-fold: (1st) the consciousness of Power is itself the most exquisite of pleasures, and is unceasingly gratified in the progress onwards with new means for its exercise and (2ndly) as has been already said—THIS is the only road by which there is the faintest scientific likelihood that “Death” can be avoided, perpetual memory secured, infinite wisdom attained, and hence an immense helping of mankind made possible, once that the adept has safely crossed the turning-point. Physical as well as metaphysical logic requires and endorses the fact that only by gradual absorption into infinity can the Part become acquainted with the Whole, and that that which is now something can only feel, know, and enjoy EVERYTHING when lost in Absolute Totality in the vortex of that Unalterable Circle wherein our Knowledge becomes Ignorance, and the Everything itself is identified with the NOTHING.

Is the Desire to “Live” Selfish?

The passage “to live, to live, to live must be the unswerving resolve,” occurring in the article on the Elixir of Life, is often quoted by superficial and unsympathetic readers as an argument that the teachings of occultism are the most concentrated form of selfishness. In order to determine whether the critics are right or wrong, the meaning of the word “selfishness” must first be ascertained.

According to an established authority, selfishness is that “exclusive regard to one’s own interest or happiness; that supreme self-love or self-preference which leads a person to direct his purposes to the advancement of his own interest, power, or happiness, without regarding those of others.”

In short, an absolutely selfish individual is one who cares for himself and none else, or, in other words, one who is so strongly imbued with a sense of the importance of his own personality that to him it is the crown of all thoughts, desires, and aspirations, and beyond which lies the perfect blank. Now, can an occultist be then said to be “selfish when he desires to live in the sense in which that word is used by the writer of the article on the Elixir of Life? It has been said over and over again that the ultimate end of every aspirant after occult knowledge is Nirvana or Mukti, when the individual, freed from all Mayavic Upadhi, becomes one with Paramatma, or the Son identifies himself with the Father in Christian phraseology. For that purpose, every veil of illusion which creates a sense of personal isolation, a feeling of separateness from THE ALL, must be torn asunder, or, in other words, the aspirant must gradually discard all sense of selfishness with which we are all more or less affected. A study of the Law of Kosmic Evolution teaches us that the higher the evolution, the more does it tend towards Unity. In fact, Unity is the ultimate possibility of Nature, and those who through vanity and selfishness go against her purposes, cannot but incur the punishment of annihilation. The occultist thus recognizes that unselfishness and a feeling of universal philanthropy are the inherent laws of our being, and all he does is to attempt to destroy the chains of selfishness forged upon us all by Maya. The struggle then between Good and Evil, God and Satan, Suras and Asuras, Devas and Daityas, which is mentioned in the sacred books of all the nations and races, symbolizes the battle between unselfish and selfish impulses, which takes place in a man, who tries to follow the higher purposes of Nature, until the lower animal tendencies, created by selfishness, are completely conquered, and the enemy thoroughly routed and annihilated. It has also been often put forth in various Theosophical and other occult writings that the only difference between an ordinary man who works along with Nature during the course of Kosmic evolution and an occultist, is that the latter, by his superior knowledge, adopts such methods of training and discipline as will hurry on that process of evolution, and he thus reaches in a comparatively short time the apex which the ordinary individual will take perhaps billions of years to reach. In short, in a few thousand years he approaches that type of evolution which ordinary humanity attains in the sixth or seventh Round of the Manvantara, i.e., cyclic progression. It is evident that an average man cannot become a MAHATMA in one life, or rather in one incarnation. Now those, who have studied the occult teachings concerning Devachan and our after-states, will remember that between two incarnations there is a considerable period of subjective existence. The greater the number of such Devachanic periods, the greater is the number of years over which this evolution is extended. The chief aim of the occultist is therefore to so control himself as to be able to regulate his future states, and thereby gradually shorten the duration of his Devachanic existence between two incarnations. In the course of his progress, there comes a time when, between one physical death and his next rebirth, there is no Devachan but a kind of spiritual sleep, the shock of death, having, so to say, stunned him into a state of unconsciousness from which he gradually recovers to find himself reborn, to continue his purpose. The period of this sleep may vary from twenty-five to two hundred years, depending upon the degree of his advancement. But even this period may be said to be a waste of time, and hence all his exertions are directed to shorten its duration so as to gradually come to a point when the passage from one state of existence into another is almost imperceptible. This is his last incarnation, as it were, for the shock of death no more stuns him. This is the idea the writer of the article on the Elixir of Life means to convey when he says:

By or about the time when the Death-limit of his race is passed he is actually dead, in the ordinary sense, that is to say, he has relieved himself of all or nearly all such material particles as would have necessitated in disruption the agony of dying. He has been dying gradually during the whole period of his Initiation. The catastrophe cannot happen twice over, he has only spread over a number of years the mild process of dissolution which others endure from a brief moment to a few hours. The highest Adept is, in fact, dead to, and absolutely unconscious of, the World he is oblivious of its pleasures, careless of its miseries, in so far as sentimentalism goes, for the stern sense of Duty never leaves him blind to its very existence.

The process of the emission and attraction of atoms, which the occultist controls, has been discussed at length in that article and in other writings. It is by these means that he gets rid gradually of all the old gross particles of his body, substituting for’ them finer and more ethereal ones, till at inst the former sthula sarira is completely dead and disintegrated, and he lives in a body entirely of his own creation, suited to his work. That body is essential to his purposes; as the Elixir of Life says:

To do good, as in every thing else, a man must have time and materials to Work with, and this is a necessary means to the acquirement of powers by which infinitely more good can be done than without them. When these are once mastered, the opportunities to use them will arrive. . . . .

Giving the practical instructions for that purpose, the same paper continues:

The physical man must be rendered more ethereal and sensitive; the mental man more penetrating and profound; the moral man more selfdenying and philosophical.

Losing sight of the above important considerations, the following passage is entirely misunderstood:

And from this account too, it will be perceptible how foolish it is for people to ask the Theosophist “to procure for them communication with the highest Adepts.” It is with the utmost difficulty that one or two can be induced, even by the throes of a world, to injure their own progress by meddling with mundane affairs. The ordinary reader will say: “This is not God-like. This is the acme of selfishness.” . . . . But let him realize that a very high Adept, undertaking to reform the world, would necessarily have to once more submit to Incarnation. And is the result of all that have gone before in that line sufficiently encouraging to prompt a renewal of the attempt?

Now, in condemning the above passage as inculcating selfishness, superficial critics neglect many profound truths. In. the first place, they forget the other extracts already quoted which impose self-denial as a necessary condition of success, and which say that, with progress, new senses and new powers are acquired with which infinitely more good can be done than without them. The more spiritual the Adept becomes the less can he meddle with mundane gross affairs and the more he has to confine himself to spiritual work. It has been repeated, times out of number, that the work on the spiritual plane is as superior to the work on the intellectual plane as the latter is superior to that on the physical plane. The very high Adepts, therefore, do help humanity, but only spiritually: they are constitutionally incapable of meddling with worldly affairs. But this applies only to very high Adepts. There are various degrees of Adept-ship, and those of each degree work for humanity on the planes to which they may have risen. It is only the chelas that can live in the world, until they rise to a certain degree. And it is because the Adepts do care for the world that they make their chelas live in and work for it, as many of those who study the subject are aware. Each cycle produces its own occultists capable of working for the humanity of the time on all the different planes; but when the Adepts foresee that at a particular period humanity will he incapable of producing occultists for work on particular planes, for such occasions they do provide by either voluntarily giving up their further progress and waiting until humanity reaches that period, or by refusing to enter into Nirvana and submitting to re-incarnation so as to he ready for work when the time comes. And although the world may not be aware of the fact, yet there are even now certain Adepts who have preferred to remain in statu quo and refuse to take the higher degrees, for the benefit of the future generations of humanity. In short, as the Adepts work harmoniously, since unity is the fundamental law of their being, they have, as it were, made a division of labour, according to which each works on the plane appropriate to himself for the spiritual elevation of us all—and the process of longevity mentioned in the Elixir of Life is only the means to the end which, far from being selfish, is the most unselfish purpose for which a human being can labour.


A general misconception on this subject seems to prevail. One confines oneself for some time in a room, and passively gazes at one’s nose, a spot on the wall, or, perhaps, a crystal, under the impression that such is the true form of contemplation enjoined by Raj Yoga. Many fail to realize that true occultism requires a physical, mental, moral and spiritual development to run on parallel lines, and injure themselves, physically and spiritually, by practice of what they falsely believe to be Dhyan. A few instances may be mentioned here with advantage, as a warning to over-zealous students.

At Bareilly the writer met a member of the Theosophical Society from Farrukhabad, who narrated his experiences and shed bitter tears of repentance for his past follies—as he termed them. It appears from his account that fifteen or twenty years ago having read about contemplation in the Bhagavad Gita, he undertook the practice of it, without a proper comprehension of its esoteric meaning and carried it on for several years. At first he experienced a sense of pleasure, but simultaneously he found he was gradually losing self-control; until after a few years he discovered, to his great bewilderment and sorrow, that he was no longer his own master. He felt his heart actually growing heavy, as though a load had been placed on it. He had no control over his sensations the communication between the brain and the heart had become as though interrupted. As matters grew worse, in disgust lie discontinued his “contemplation.” This happened as long as seven years ago; and, although since then lie has not felt worse, yet he could never regain his original healthy state of mind and body.

Another case came under the writer’s observation at Jubbulpore. The gentleman concerned, after reading Patanjali and such other works, began to sit for “contemplation.” After a short time he commenced seeing abnormal sights and hearing musical bells, but neither over these phenomena nor over his own sensations could he exercise any control. He could not produce these results at will, nor could he stop them when they were occurring. Numerous such examples may be cited. While penning these lines, the writer has on his table two letters upon this subject, one from Moradabad and the other from Trichinopoly. In short, all this mischief is due to a misunderstanding of the significance of contemplation as enjoined upon students by all the schools of Occult Philosophy. With a view to afford a glimpse of the Reality through the dense veil that enshrouds the mysteries of this Science of Sciences, an article, the Elixir of Life, was written. Unfortunately, in too many instances, the seed seems to have fallen upon barren ground. Some of its readers pin their faith to the following clause in that paper:

Reasoning from the known to the unknown meditation must be practised and encouraged.

But, alas! their preconceptions have prevented them from comprehending what is meant by meditation. They forget that the meditation spoken of “is the inexpressible yearning of the inner Man to ‘go out towards the infinite,’ which in the olden time was the real meaning of adoration”—as the next sentence shows. A good deal of light would be thrown upon this subject if the reader were to turn to an earlier part of the same paper, and peruse attentively the following paragraphs:

So, then, we have arrived at the point where we have determined—literally, not metaphorically—to crack the outer shell known as the mortal coil or body, and hatch out of it, clothed in our next. This ‘next’ is not a spiritual, but only a more ethereal form. Having by a long training and preparation adapted it for a life in the atmosphere, during which time we have gradually made the outward shell to die off through a certain process . . . . we have to prepare for this physiological transformation.

How are we to do it ? In the first place we have the actual, visible, material body—Man, so called, though, in fact, but his outer shell—to deal with. Let us bear in mind that Science teaches us that in about every seven years we change skin as effectually as any serpent; and this so gradually and imperceptibly that, had not science after years of unremitting study and observation assured us of it, no one would have had the slightest suspicion of the fact. . . . . Hence, if a man, partially flayed alive, may sometimes survive and be covered with a new skin, so our astral, vital body . . . . may be made to harden its particles to the atmospheric changes. The whole secret is to succeed in evolving it out, and separating it from the visible; and while its generally invisible atoms proceed to concrete themselves into a compact mass, to gradually get rid of the old particles of our visible frame so as to make them die and disappear before the new set has had time to evolve and replace them. We can say no more.

A correct comprehension of the above scientific process will give a clue to the esoteric meaning of meditation or contemplation. Science teaches us that man changes his physical body continually, and this change is so gradual that it is almost imperceptible. Why then should the case be otherwise with the inner man? The latter too is developing and changing atoms at every moment. And the attraction of these new sets of atoms depends upon the Law of Affinity—the desires of the man drawing to his bodily tenement only such particles as are necessary to give them expression.

For Science shows that thought is dynamic, and the thought-force evolved by nervous action expanding itself outwardly, must affect the molecular relations of the physical man. The inner men, however sublimated their organism may be, are still composed of actual, not hypothetical, particles, and are still subject to the law that an “action” has a tendency to repeat itself; a tendency to set up analogous action in the grosser “shell” they are in contact with, and concealed within.—The Elixir of Life.

What is it the aspirant of Yog Vidya strives after if not to gain Mukti by transferring himself gradually from the grosser to the next less gross body, until all the veils of Maya being successively removed his Atma becomes one with Paramatma? Does he suppose that this grand result can be achieved by a two or four hours’ contemplation? For the remaining twenty or twenty-two hours that the devotee does not shut himself up in his room for meditation is the process of the emission of atoms and their replacement by others stopped? If not, then how does he mean to attract all this time only those suited to his end? From the above remarks it is evident that just as the physical body requires incessant attention to prevent the entrance of a disease, so also the inner man requires an unremitting watch, so that no conscious or unconscious thought may attract atoms unsuited to its progress. This is the real meaning of contemplation. The prime factor in the guidance of the thought is Will.

Without that, all else is useless. And, to be efficient for the purpose, it must be, not only a passing resolution of the moment, a single fierce desire of short duration, but a settled and continued strain, as nearly as can be continued and concentrated without one single moment’s remission.

The student would do well to take note of the italicized clause in the above quotation. He should also have it indelibly impressed upon his mind that

It is no use to fast as long as one requires food. . . . . To get rid of the inward desire is the essential thing, and to mimic the real thing without it is barefaced hypocrisy and useless slavery.

Without realizing the significance of this most important fact, any one who for a moment finds cause of disagreement with any one of his family, or has his vanity wounded, or for a sentimental flash of the moment, or for a selfish desire to utilize the Divine power for gross purposes—at once rushes into contemplation and dashes himself to pieces on the rock dividing the known from the known. Wallowing in the mire of exotericism, he knows not what it is to live in the world and yet be not of the world; in other words, to guard self against self is an almost incomprehensible axiom for the profane. The Hindu ought to know better from the life of Janaka, who, although a reigning monarch, was yet styled Rajarshi and is said to have attained Nirvana. hearing of his widespread fame, a few sectarian bigots went to his court to test his Yoga-power. As soon as they entered the court-room, the king having read their thoughts—a power which every chela attains at a certain stage—gave secret instructions to his officials to have a particular street in the city lined on both sides by dancing girls singing the must voluptuous songs. He then had some gharas (pots) filled with water up to the brim so that the least shake would be likely to spill their contents. The wiseacres, each with a full ghara (pot) on his head, were ordered to pass along the street, surrounded by soldiers with drawn swords to he used against them if even so much as a drop of water were allowed to run over. The poor fellows having returned to the palace after successfully passing the test, were asked by the King-Adept what they had met with in the street they were made to go through. With great indignation they replied that the threat of being cut to pieces had so much worked upon their minds that they thought of nothing but the water on their heads, and the intensity of their attention did not permit them to take cognizance of what was going on around them. Then Janaka told them that on the same principle they could easily understand that, although being outwardly engaged in managing the affairs of his State, he could, at the same time, be an Occultist. He too, while in the world, was not of the world. In other words, his inward aspirations had been leading him on continually to the goal in which his whole inner self was concentrated.

Raj Yoga encourages no sham, requires no physical postures. It has to deal with the inner man whose sphere lies in the world of thought. To have the highest ideal placed before oneself and strive incessantly to rise up to it, is the only true concentration recognized by Esoteric Philosophy which deals with the inner world of noumena, not the outer shell of phenomena.

The first requisite for it is thorough purity of heart. Well might the student of Occultism say with Zoroaster, that purity of thought, purity of word, and purity of deed,—these are the essentials of one who would rise above the ordinary level and join the “gods.” A cultivation of the feeling of unselfish philanthropy is the path which has to be traversed for that purpose. For it is that alone which will lead to Universal Love, the realization of which constitutes the progress towards deliverance from the chains forged by Maya (illusion) around the Ego. No student will attain this at once, but as our Venerated Mahatma says in the “Occult World”:

The greater the progress towards deliverance, the less this will be the case, until, to crown all, human and purely individual personal feelings, blood-ties arid friendship, patriotism and race predilection, will all give way to become blended into one universal feeling, the only true and holy, the only unselfish and eternal one, Love, an Immense Love for Humanity as a whole.

In short, the individual is blended with the ALL.

Of course, contemplation, as usually understood, is not without its minor advantages. It develops one set of physical faculties as gymnastics does the muscles. For the purposes of physical mesmerism it is good enough; but it can in no way help the development of the psychological faculties, as the thoughtful reader will perceive. At the same time, even for ordinary purposes, the practice can never be too well guarded. If, as some suppose, they have to be entirely passive and lose themselves in the object before them, they should remember that, by thus encouraging passivity, they, in fact, allow the development of mediumistic faculties in themselves. As was repeatedly stated—the Adept and the Medium are the two Poles: while the former is intensely active and thus able to control the elemental forces, the latter is intensely passive and thus incurs the risk of falling a prey to the caprice and malice of mischievous embryos of human beings, and the elementaries.

It will be evident from the above that true meditation consists in the “reasoning from the known to the unknown.” The “known” is the phenomenal world, cognizable by our five senses. And all that we see in this manifested world are the effects, the causes of which are to be sought after in the noumenal, the unmanifested, the “unknown world”: this is to be accomplished by meditation, i.e., continued attention to the subject. Occultism does not depend upon one method, but employs both the deductive and the inductive. The student must first learn the general axioms, which have sufficiently been laid down in the Elixir of Life and other occult writings. What the student has first to do is to comprehend these axioms and, by employing the deductive method, to proceed from universals to particulars. He has then to reason from the “known to the unknown,” and see if the inductive method of proceeding from particulars to universals supports those axioms. This process forms the primary stage of true contemplation. The student must first grasp the subject intellectually before he can hope to realize his aspirations. When this is accomplished, then comes the next stage of meditation, which is “the inexpressible yearning of the inner man to ‘go out towards the infinite.’” Before any such yearning can be properly directed, the goal must first be determined. The higher stage, in fact, consists in practically realizing what the first steps have placed within one’s comprehension. In short, contemplation, in its true sense, is to recognize the truth of Eliphas Levi’s saying:

To believe without knowing is weakness; to believe, because one knows, is power.

The Elixir of Life not only gives the preliminary steps in the ladder of contemplation but also tells the reader how to realize the higher stages. It traces, by the process of contemplation as it were, the relation of man, “the known,” the manifested, the phenomenon, to “the unknown,” the unmanifested, the noumenon. It shows the student what ideal to contemplate and how to rise up to it. It places before him the nature of the inner capacities of man and how to develop them. To a superficial reader, this may, perhaps, appear as the acme of selfishness. Reflection will, however, show the contrary to be the case. For it teaches the student that to comprehend the noumenal, he must identify himself with Nature. Instead of looking upon himself as an isolated being, he must learn to look upon himself as a part of the Integral Whole. For, in the unmanifested world, it can be clearly perceived that all is controlled by the “Law of Affinity,” the attraction of the one for the other. There, all is Infinite Love, understood in its true sense.

It may now not be out of place to recapitulate what has already been said. The first thing to be done is to study the axioms of Occultism and work upon them by the deductive and the inductive methods, which is real contemplation. To turn this to a useful purpose, what is theoretically comprehended must be practically realized.


Chelas and Lay Chelas

A “Chela” is a person who has offered himself to a master as a pupil to learn practically the “hidden mysteries of Nature and the psychical powers latent in man.” The master who accepts him is called in India a Guru; and the real Guru is always an adept in the Occult Science. A man of profound knowledge, exoteric and esoteric, especially the latter; and one who has brought his carnal nature under the subjection of the WILL; who has developed in himself both the power (Siddhi) to control the forces of Nature, and the capacity to probe her secrets by the help of the formerly latent but now active powers of his being—this is the real Guru. To offer oneself as a candidate for Chelaship is easy enough, to develop into an adept the most difficult task any man could possibly undertake. There are scores of “natural-born” poets, mathematicians, mechanics, statesmen, etc. But a natural-born adept is something practically impossible. For, though we do hear at very rare intervals of one who has an extraordinary innate capacity for the acquisition of occult knowledge and power, yet even he has to pass the self-same tests and probations, and go through the self-same training as any less endowed fellow aspirant. In this matter it is most true that there is no royal road by which favourites may travel.

For centuries the selection of Chelas—Outside the hereditary group within the gon-pa (temple)—has been made by the Himalayan Mahatmas themselves from among the class—in Tibet, a considerable one as to number—of natural mystics. The only exceptions have been in the cases of Western men like Fludd, Thomas Vaughan, Paracelsus, Pico di Mirandolo, Count St. Germain, etc., whose temperament affinity to this celestial science, more or less forced the distant Adepts to come into personal relations with them, and enabled them to get such small (or large) proportion of the whole truth as was possible under their social surroundings. From Book IV. of Kui-te, Chapter on “The Laws of Upasanas,” we learn that the qualifications expected in a Chela were:

1. Perfect physical health;

2. Absolute mental and physical purity;

3. Unselfishness of purpose; universal charity; pity for all animate beings;

4. Truthfulness and unswerving faith in the law of Karma, independent of the intervention of any power in Nature: a law whose course is not to be obstructed by any agency, not to be caused to deviate by prayer or propitiatory exoteric ceremonies;

5. A courage undaunted in every emergency, even by peril to life;

6. An intuitional perception of one’s being the vehicle of the manifested Avalokitesvara or Divine Atma (Spirit);

7. Calm indifference for, but a just appreciation of, everything that constitutes the objective and transitory world, in its relation with, and to, the invisible regions.

Such, at the least, must have been the recommendations of one aspiring to perfect Chelaship. With the sole exception of the first, which in rare and exceptional cases might have been modified, each one of these points has been invariably insisted upon, and all must have been more or less developed in the inner nature by the Chela’s unhelped exertions, before he could be actually “put to the test.”

When the self-evolving ascetic—whether in, or outside the active world—has placed himself, according to his natural capacity, above, hence made himself master of his (1) Sarira—body; (2) Indriya—senses; (3) Dosha—faults; (4) Dukkha—pain; and is ready to become one with his Manas—mind; Buddhi—intellection, or spiritual intelligence; and Atma—highest soul, i.e., spirit when he is ready for this, and, further, to recognize in Atma the highest ruler in the world of perceptions, and in the will, the highest executive energy (power), then may he, under the time-honoured rules, be taken in hand by one of the Initiates. He may then be shown the mysterious path at whose farther end is obtained the unerring discernment of Phala, or the fruits of causes produced, and given the means of reaching Apavarga—emancipation from the misery of repeated births, pretya-bhāva, in whose determination the ignorant has no hand.

But since the advent of the Theosophical Society, one of whose arduous tasks it is to re-awaken in the Aryan mind the dormant memory of the existence of this science and of those transcendent human capabilities, the rules of Chela selection have become slightly relaxed in one respect. Many members of the Society who would not have been otherwise called to Chelaship became convinced by practical proof of the above points, and rightly enough thinking that if other men had hitherto reached the goal, they too, if inherently fitted, might reach it by following the same path, importunately pressed to be taken as candidates. And as it would be an interference with Karma to deny them the chance of at least beginning, they were given it. The results have been far from encouraging so far, and it is to show them the cause of their failure as much as to warn others against rushing heedlessly upon a similar fate, that the writing of the present article has been ordered. The candidates in question, though plainly warned against it in advance, began wrong by selfishly looking to the future and losing sight of the past. They forgot that they had done nothing to deserve the rare honour of selection, nothing which warranted their expecting such a privilege; that they could boast of none of the above enumerated merits. As men of the selfish, sensual world, whether married or single, merchants, civilian or military employees, or members of the learned professions, they had been to a school most calculated to assimilate them to the animal nature, least so to develop their spiritual potentialities. Yet each and all had vanity enough to suppose that their case would be made an exception to the law of countless centuries, as though, indeed, in their person had been born to the world a new Avatar! All expected to have hidden things taught, extraordinary powers given them, because—well, because they had joined the Theosophical Society. Some had sincerely resolved to amend their lives, and give up their evil courses we must do them that justice, at all events.

All were refused at first, Col. Olcott the President himself, to begin with: and he was not formally accepted as a Chela until he had proved by more than a year’s devoted labours and by a determination which brooked no denial, that he might safely be tested. Then from all sides came complaints—from Hindus, who ought to have known better, as well as from Europeans who, of course, were not in a condition to know anything at all about the rules. ‘The cry was that unless at least a few Theosophists were given the chance to try, the Society could not endure. Every other noble and unselfish feature of our programme was ignored—a man’s duty to his neighbour, to his country, his duty to help, enlighten, encourage and elevate those weaker and less favoured than he; all were trampled out of sight in the insane rush for adeptship. The call for phenomena, phenomena, phenomena, resounded in every quarter, and the Founders were impeded in their real work and teased importunately to intercede with the Mahatmas, against whom the real grievance my, though their poor agents had to take all the buffets. At last, the word came from the higher authorities that a few of the most urgent candidates should be taken at their word. The result of the experiment would perhaps show better than any amount of preaching what Chelaship meant, and what are the consequences of selfishness and temerity. Each candidate was warned that be must wait for year in any event, before his fitness could be established, and that he must pass through a series of tests that would bring out all there was in him, whether bad or good. They were nearly all married men, and hence were designated “Lay Chelas”—a term new in English, but having long had its equivalent in Asiatic tongues. A Lay Chela is but a man of the world who affirms his desire to become wise in spiritual things. Virtually, every member of the Theosophical Society who subscribes to the second of our three “Declared Objects” is such; for though not of the number of true Chelas, he has yet the possibility of becoming one, for he has stepped across the boundary-line which separated him from the Mahatmas, and has brought himself, as it were, under their notice. In joining the Society and binding himself to help along its work, he has pledged himself to act in some degree in concert with those Mahatmas, at whose behest the Society was organized, and under whose conditional protection it remains. The joining is then, the introduction; all the rest depends entirely upon the member himself, and he need never expect the most distant approach to the “favour” of one of our Mahatmas or any other Mahatmas in the world—should the latter consent to become known—that has not been fully earned by personal merit. The Mahatmas are the servants, not the arbiters of the Law of Karma. Lay-Chelaship confers no privilege upon any one except that of working for merit under the observation of a Master. And whether that Master be or be not seen by the Chela makes no difference whatever as to the result: his good thought, words and deeds will bear their fruits, his evil ones, theirs. To boast of Lay Chelaship or make a parade of it, is the surest way to reduce the relationship with the Guru to a mere empty name, for it would be prima facie evidence of vanity and unfitness for farther progress. And for years we have been teaching everywhere the maxim “First deserve, then desire” intimacy with the Mahatmas.

Now there is a terrible law operative in Nature, one which cannot be altered, and whose operation clears up the apparent mystery of the selection of certain “Chelas” who have turned out sorry specimens of morality, these few years past. Does the reader recall the old proverb, “Let sleeping dogs lie?” There is a world of occult meaning in it. No man or woman knows his or her moral strength until it is tried. Thousands go through life very respectably, because they were never put to the test. This is a truism doubtless, but it is most pertinent to the present case. One who undertakes to try for Chelaship by that very act rouses and lashes to desperation every sleeping passion of his animal nature. For this is the commencement of a struggle for mastery in which quarter is neither to be given nor taken. It is, once for all, “To be, or Not to be;” to conquer, means Adeptship: to fail, an ignoble Martyrdom; for to fall victim to lust, pride, avarice, vanity, selfishness, cowardice, or any other of the lower propensities, is indeed ignoble, if measured by the standard of true manhood. The Chela is not only called to face all the latent evil propensities of his nature, but, in addition, the momentum of maleficent forces accumulated by the community and nation to which he belongs. For he is an integral part of those aggregates, and what affects either the individual man or the group (town or nation), reacts the one upon the other. And in this instance his struggle for goodness jars upon the whole body of badness in his environment, and draws its fury upon him. If he is content to go along with his neighbours and be almost as they are—perhaps a little better or somewhat worse than the average—no one may give him a thought. But let it be known that he has been able to detect the hollow mockery of social life, its hypocrisy, selfishness, sensuality, cupidity and other bad features, and has determined to lift himself up to a higher level, at once he is hated, and every bad, bigotted, or malicious nature sends at him a current of opposing will-power. If he is innately strong he shakes it off, as the powerful swimmer dashes through the current that would bear a weaker one away. But in this moral battle, if the Chela has one single hidden blemish—do what he may, it shall and will be brought to light. The varnish of conventionalities which “civilization” overlays us all with must come off to the last coat, and the inner self, naked and without the slightest veil to conceal its reality, is exposed. The habits of society which hold men to a certain degree under moral restraint, and compel them to pay tribute to virtue by seeming to be good whether they are so or not—these habits are apt to be all forgotten, these restraints to be all broken through under the strain of Chelaship. He is now in an atmosphere of illusions—Maya. Vice puts on its most alluring face, and the tempting passions attract the inexperienced aspirant to the depths of psychic debasement. This is not a case like that depicted by a great artist, where Satan is seen playing a game of chess with a man upon the stake of his soul, while the latter’s good angel stands beside him to counsel and assist. For the strife is in this instance between the Chela’s will and his carnal nature, and Karma forbids that any angel or Guru should interfere until the result is known. With the vividness of poetic fancy Bulwar Lytton has idealized it for us in his “Zanoni,” a work which will ever be prized by the occultist while in his “Strange Story” he has with equal power shown the black side of occult research and its deadly perils. Chelaship was defined, the other day, by a Mahatma as a “psychic resolvent, which eats away all dross and leaves only the pure gold behind.” If the candidate has the latent lust for money, or political chicanery, or materialistic scepticism, or vain display, or false speaking, or cruelty, or sensual gratification of any kind the germ is almost sure to sprout; and so, on the other hand, as regards the noble qualities of human nature. The real man comes out. Is it not the height of folly, then, for any one to leave the smooth path of common-place life to scale the crags of Chelaship without some reasonable feeling of certainty that he has the right stuff in him? Well says the Bible: “Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall”—a text that would-be Chelas should consider well before they rush headlong into the fray! It would have been well for some of our Lay Chelas if they had thought twice before defying the tests. We call to mind several sad failures within a twelve-month. One went wrong in the head, recanted noble sentiments uttered but a few weeks previously, and became a member of a religion he had just scornfully and unanswerably proven false. A second became a defaulter and absconded with his employer’s money—the latter also a Theosophist. A third gave himself up to gross debauchery, and confessed it, with ineffectual sobs and tears, to his chosen Guru. A fourth got entangled with a person of the other sex and fell out with his dearest and truest friends. A fifth showed signs of mental aberration and was brought into Court upon charges of discreditable conduct. A sixth shot himself to escape the consequences of criminality, on the verge of detection! And so we might go on and on. All these were apparently sincere searchers after truth, and passed in the world for respectable persons. Externally, they were fairly eligible as candidates for Chelaship, as appearances go; but “within all was rottenness and dead men’s bones.” The world’s varnish was so thick as to hide the absence of the true gold underneath; and the “resolvent” doing its work, the candidate proved in each instance but a gilded figure of moral dross, from circumference to core.

In what precedes we have, of course, dealt but with the failures among Lay Chelas; there have been partial successes too, and these are passing gradually through the first stages of their probation. Some are making themselves useful to the Society and to the world in general by good example and precept. If they persist, well for them, well for us all: the odds are fearfully against them, but still “there is no Impossibility to him who Wills.” The difficulties in Chelaship will never be less until human nature changes and a new order is evolved. St. Paul (Rom. vii. 18,19) might have had a Chela in mind when he said “to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do.” And in the wise Kirátárjuniyam of Bharávi it is written:

The enemies which rise within the body,
hard to be overcome—the evil passions—
Should manfully be fought; who conquers these
Is equal to the conqueror of worlds. (XI. 32.)

Ancient Opinions Upon Psychic Bodies

It must be confessed that modern Spiritualism falls very short of the ideas formerly suggested by the sublime designation which it has assumed. Chiefly intent upon recognizing and putting forward the phenomenal proofs of a future existence, it concerns itself little with speculations on the distinction between matter and spirit, and rather prides itself on having demolished Materialism without the aid of metaphysics. Perhaps a Platonist might say that the recognition of a future existence is consistent with a very practical and even dogmatic materialism, but it is rather to be feared that such a materialism as this would not greatly disturb the spiritual or intellectual repose of our modern phenomenalists.1 Given the consciousness with its sensibilities safely housed in the psychic body which demonstrably survives the physical carcase, and we are like men saved from shipwreck, who are for the moment thankful and content, not giving thought whether they are landed on a hospitable shore, or on a barren rock, or on an island of cannibals. It is not of course intended that this “hand to mouth” immortality is sufficient for the many thoughtful minds whose activity gives life and progress to the movement, but that it affords the relief which most people feel when in an age of doubt they make the discovery that they are undoubtedly to live again. To the question “how are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come?” modern Spiritualism, with its empirical methods, is not adequate to reply. Yet long before Paul suggested it, it had the attention of the most celebrated schools of philosophy, whose speculations on the subject, however little they may seem to be verified, ought not to be without interest to us, who, after all, are still in the infancy of a spiritualist revival.

It would not be necessary to premise, but for the frequency with which the phrase occurs, that “the spiritual body” is a contradiction in terms. The office of body is to relate spirit to an objective world. By Platonic writers it is usually termed okhema—“vehicle.” It is the medium of action, and also of sensibility. In this philosophy the conception of Soul was not simply, as with us, the immaterial subject of consciousness. How warily the interpreter has to tread here, every one knows who has dipped, even superficially, into the controversies among Platonists themselves. All admit the distinction between the rational and the irrational part or principle, the latter including, first, the sensibility, and secondly, the Plastic, or that lower which in obedience to its sympathies enables the soul to attach itself to, and to organize into a suitable body those substances of the universe to which it is most congruous. It is more difficult to determine whether Plato or his principal followers, recognized in the rational soul or nous a distinct and separable entity, that which is sometimes discriminated as “the Spirit.” Dr. Henry More, no mean authority, repudiates this interpretation.

“There can be nothing more monstrous,” he says, “than to make two souls in man, the one sensitive, the other rational, really distinct from one another, and to give the name of Astral spirit to the former, when there is in man no Astral spirit beside the Plastic of the soul itself, which is always inseparable from that which is rational. Nor upon any other account can it be called Astral, but as it is liable to that corporeal temperament which proceeds from the stars, or rather from any material causes in general, as not being yet sufficiently united with the divine body—that vehicle of divine virtue or power.”

So he maintains that the Kabalistic three souls—Nephesh, Ruach, Neschamah—originate in a misunderstanding of the true Platonic doctrine, which is that of a threefold “vital congruity.” These correspond to the three degrees of bodily existence, or to the three “vehicles,” the terrestrial, the aerial, and the ethereal. The latter is the augoeides—the luciform vehicle of the purified soul whose irrational part has been brought under complete subjection to the rational. The aerial is that in which the great majority of mankind find themselves at the dissolution of the terrestrial body, and in which the incomplete process of purification has to be undergone during long ages of preparation for the soul’s return to its primitive, ethereal state. For it must be remembered that the preexistence of souls is a distinguishing tenet of this philosophy as of the Kabala. The soul has “sunk into matter.” From its highest original state the revolt of its irrational nature has awakened and developed successively its “vital congruities” with the regions below, passing, by means of its “Plastic,” first into the aerial and afterwards into the terrestrial condition. Each of these regions teems also with an appropriate population which never passes, like the human soul, from one to the other—“gods,” “demons,” and animals.2 As to duration, “the shortest of all is that of the terrestrial vehicle. In the aerial, the soul may inhabit, as they define, many ages, and in the ethereal, for ever.” Speaking of the second body, Henry More says

“the soul’s astral vehicle is of that tenuity that itself can as easily pass the smallest pores of the body as the light does glass, or the lightning the scabbard of a sword without tearing or scorching of it.”

And again,

“I shall make bold to assert that the soul may live in an aerial vehicle as well as in the ethereal, and that there are very few that arrive to that high happiness as to acquire a celestial vehicle immediately upon their quitting the terrestrial one; that heavenly chariot necessarily carrying us in triumph to the greatest happiness the soul of man is capable of, which would arrive to all men indifferently, good or bad, if the parting with this earthly body would suddenly mount us into the heavenly. When by a just Nemesis the souls of men that are not heroically virtuous will find themselves restrained within the compass of this caliginous air, as both Reason itself suggests, and the Platonists have unanimously determined.”

Thus also the most thorough-going, and probably the most deeply versed in the doctrines of the master among modern Platonists, Thomas Taylor (Introduction. Phædo):

“After this our divine philosopher informs that the pure soul will after death return to pure and eternal natures; but that the impure soul, in consequence of being imbued with terrene affections, will be drawn down to a kindred nature, and be invested with a gross vehicle capable of being seen by the corporeal eye.3 For while a propensity to body remains in the soul, it causes her to attract a certain vehicle to herself; either of an aerial nature, or composed from the spirit and vapours of her terrestrial body, or which is recently collected from surrounding air; for according to the arcana of the Platonic philosophy, between an ethereal body, which is simple and immaterial and is the eternal connate vehicle of the soul, and a terrene body, which is material and composite, and of short duration, there is an aerial body, which is material indeed, but simple and of a more extended duration; and in this body the unpurified soul dwells for a long time after its exit from hence, till this pneumatic vehicle being dissolved, it is again invested with a composite body; while on the contrary the purified soul immediately ascends into the celestial regions with its ethereal vehicle alone.”

Always it is the disposition of the soul that determines the quality of its body.

“However the soul be in itself affected,” says Porphyry (translated by Cudworth), “so does it always find a body suitable and agreeable to its present disposition, and therefore to the purged soul does naturally accrue a body that comes next to immateriality, that is, an ethereal one.”

And the same author,

“The soul is never quite naked of all body, but hath always some body or other joined with it, suitable and agreeable to its present disposition (either a purer or impurer one). But that at its first quitting this gross earthly body, the spirituous body which accompanieth it (as its vehicle) must needs go away fouled and incrassated with the vapours and steams thereof, till the soul afterwards by degrees purging itself, this becometh at length a dry splendour, which hath no misty obscurity nor casteth any shadow.”

Here it will be seen, we lose sight of the specific difference of the two future vehicles—the ethereal is regarded as a sublimation of the aerial. This, however, is opposed to the general consensus of Plato’s commentators. Sometimes the ethereal body, or augoeides, is appropriated to the rational soul, or spirit, which must then be considered as a distinct entity, separable from the lower soul. Philoponus, a Christian writer, says, that

“the Rational Soul, as to its energy, is separable from all body, but the irrational part or life thereof is separable only from this gross body, and not from all body whatsoever, but hath after death a spirituous or airy body, in which it acteth—this I say is a true opinion which shall afterwards be proved by us. . . . . The irrational life of the soul hath not all its being in this gross earthly body, but remaineth after the soul’s departure out of it, having for its vehicle and subject the spirituous body, which itself is also compounded out of the four elements, but receiveth its denomination from the predominant part, to wit, Air, as this gross body of ours is called earthy from what is most predominant therein.”—Cudworth, “Intell. Syst.”

From the same source we extract the following:

“Wherefore these ancients say that impure souls after their departure out of this body wander here up and down for a certain space in their spirituous vaporous and airy body, appearing about sepulchres and haunting their former habitation. For which cause there is great reason that we should take care of living well, as also of abstaining from a fouler and grosser diet; these Ancients telling us likewise that this spirituous body of ours being fouled and incrassated by evil diet, is apt to render the soul in this life also more obnoxious to the disturbances of passions. They further add that there is something of the Plantal or Plastic life, also exercised by the soul, in those spirituous or airy bodies after death; they being nourished too, though not after the same manner, as those gross earthy bodies of ours are here, but by vapours, and that not by parts or organs, but throughout the whole of them (as sponges), they imbibing everywhere those vapours. For which cause they who are wise will in this life also take care of using a thinner and dryer diet, that so that spirituous body (which we have also at this present time within our proper body) may not be clogged and incrassed, but attenuated. Over and above which, those Ancients made use of catharms, or purgations to the same end and purpose also. For as this earthy body is washed by water so is that spirituous body cleansed by cathartic vapours—some of these vapours being nutritive, others purgative. Moreover, these Ancients further declared concerning this spirituous body that it was not organized, but did the whole of it in every part throughout exercise all functions of sense, the soul hearing, seeing and perceiving all sensibles by it everywhere. For which cause Aristotle himself affirmeth in his Metaphysics that there is properly but one sense and one Sensory. He by this one sensory meaneth the spirit, or subtle airy body, in which the sensitive power doth all of it through the whole immediately apprehend all variety of sensibles. And if it be demanded to how it comes to pass that this spirit becomes organized in sepulchres, and most commonly of human form, but sometimes in the forms of other animals, to this those Ancients replied that their appearing so frequently in human form proceeded from their being incrassated with evil diet, and then, as it were, stamped upon with the form of this exterior ambient body in which they are, as crystal is formed and coloured like to those things which it is fastened in, or reflects the image of them. And that their having sometimes other different forms proceedeth from the phantastic power of the soul itself, which can at pleasure transform the spirituous body into any shape. For being airy, when it is condensed and fixed, it becometh visible, and again invisible and vanishing out of sight when it is expanded and rarified.” Proem in Arist. de Anima.

And Cudworth says,

“Though spirits or ghosts had certain supple bodies which they could so far condense as to make them sometimes visible to men, yet is it reasonable enough to think that they could not constipate or fix them into such a firmness, grossness and solidity, as that of flesh and bone is to continue therein, or at least not without such difficulty and pain as would hinder them from attempting the same. Notwithstanding which it is not denied that they may possibly sometimes make use of other solid bodies, moving and acting them, as in that famous story of Phlegons when the body vanished not as other ghosts use to do, but was left a dead carcase behind.”

In all these speculations the Anima Mundi plays a conspicuous part. It is the source and principle of all animal souls, including the irrational soul of man. But in man, who would otherwise be merely analogous to other terrestrial animals—this soul participates in a higher principle, which tends to raise and convert it to itself. To comprehend the nature of this union or hypostasis it would be necessary to have mastered the whole of Plato’s philosophy as comprised in the Parmenides and the Timæus; and he would dogmatize rashly who without this arduous preparation should claim Plato as the champion of an unconditional immortality. Certainly in the Phædo the dialogue popularly supposed to contain all Plato’s teaching on the subject—the immortality allotted to the impure soul is of a very questionable character, and we should rather infer from the account there given that the human personality, at all events, is lost by successive immersions into “matter.” The following passage from Plutarch (quoted by Madame Blavatsky, “Isis Unveiled,” vol. ii. p. 284) ‘will at least demonstrate the antiquity of notions which have recently been mistaken for fanciful novelties.

“Every soul hath some portion of nous, reason, a man cannot be a man without it; but as much of each soul as is mixed with flesh and appetite is changed, and through pain and pleasure becomes irrational. Every soul doth not mix herself after one sort; some plunge themselves into the body, and so in this life their whole frame is corrupted by appetite and passion; others are mixed as to some part, but the purer part still remains without the body. It is not drawn down into the body, but it swims above, and touches the extremest part of the man’s head; it is like a cord to hold up and direct the subsiding part of the soul, as long as it proves obedient and is not overcome by the appetites of the flesh. The part that is plunged into the body is called soul. But the incorruptible part is called the nous, and the vulgar think it is within them, as they likewise imagine the image reflected from a glass to be in that glass. But the more intelligent, who know it to be without, call it a Dæmon.”

And in the same learned work (“Isis Unveiled”) we have two Christian authorities, Irenæus and Origen, cited for like distinction between spirit and soul in such a manner as to show that the former must necessarily be regarded as separable from the latter. In the distinction itself there is of course no novelty for the most moderately well-informed. It is insisted upon in many modern works, among which may be mentioned Heard’s “Trichotomy of Man” and Green’s “Spiritual Philosophy”; the latter being an exposition of Coleridge’s opinion on this and cognate subjects. But the difficulty of regarding the two principles as separable in fact as well as in logic arises from the senses, if it is not the illusion of personal identity. That we are particle, and that one part only is immortal, the non-metaphysical mind rejects with the indignation which is always encountered by a proposition that is at once distasteful and unintelligible. Yet perhaps it is not a greater difficulty (if, indeed, it is not the very same) than that hard saying which troubled Nicodemus, and which has been the key-note of the mystical religious consciousness ever since. This, however, is too extensive and deep a question to be treated in this paper, which has for its object chiefly to call attention to the distinctions introduced by ancient thought into the conception of body as the instrument or “vehicle” of soul. That there is a correspondence between the spiritual condition of man and the medium of his objective activity every spiritualist will admit to be probable, and it may well be that some light is thrown on future states by the possibility or the manner of spirit communication with this one.


The Nilgiri Sannyasis

I was told that Sannyasis were sometimes met with on a mountain called Velly Mallai Hills, in the Coimbatore District, and trying to meet with one, I determined to ascend this mountain. I travelled up its steep sides and arrived at an opening, narrow and low, into which I crept on all fours. Going up some twenty yards I reached a cave, into the opening of which I thrust my head and shoulders. I could see into it clearly, but felt a cold wind on my face, as if there was some opening or crevice—so I looked carefully, but could see nothing. The room was about twelve feet square. I did not go into it. I saw arranged round its sides stones one cubit long, all placed upright. I was much disappointed at there being no Sannyasi, and came back as I went, pushing myself backwards as there was no room to turn. I was then told Sannyasis had been met with in the dense sholas (thickets), and as my work lay often in such places, I determined to prosecute my search, and did so diligently, without, however, any success.

One day I contemplated a journey to Coimbatore on my own affairs, and was walking up the road trying to make a bargain with a handy man whom I desired to engage to carry me there; but as we could not come to terms, I parted with him and turned into the Lovedale Road at 6 P.M. I had not gone far when I met a man dressed like a Sannyasi, who stopped and spoke to me. He observed a ring on my finger and asked me to give it to him. I said he was welcome to it, but inquired what he would give me in return. He said, “I don’t care particularly about it; I would rather have that flour and sugar in the bundle on your back.” “I will give you that with pleasure,” I said, and took down my bundle and gave it to him. “Half is enough for me,” he said; but subsequently changing his mind added, “now let me see what is in your bundle,” pointing to my other parcel. “I can’t give you that.” He said, “Why cannot you give me your swami (family idol)?” I said, “It is my swami, I will not part with it; rather take my life.” On this he pressed me no more, but said, “Now you had better go home.” I said, “I will not leave you.” “Oh you must,” he said, “you will die here of hunger.” “Never mind,” I said, “I can but die once.” “You have no clothes to protect you from the wind and rain; you may meet with tigers,” he said. “I don’t care,” I replied. “It is given to man once to die. What does it signify how he dies?” When I said this he took my hand and embraced me, and immediately I became unconscious. When I returned to consciousness, I found myself with the Sannyasi in a place new to me on a hill, near a large rock and with a big shola near. I saw in the shola right in front of us, that there was a pillar of fire, like a tree almost. I asked the Sannyasi what was that like a high fire. “Oh,” he said, “most likely a tree ignited by some careless wood-cutters.” “No,” I said, “it is not like any common fire—there is no smoke, nor are there flames—and it’s not lurid and red. I want to go and see it.” “No, you must not do so, you cannot go near that fire and escape alive.” “Come with me then,” I begged. “No—I cannot,” he said, “if you wish to approach it, you must go alone and at your own risk; that tree is the tree of knowledge and from it flows the milk of life whoever drinks this never hungers again.” Thereupon I regarded the tree with awe.

I next observed five Sannyasis approaching. They came up and joined the one with me, entered into talk, and finally pulled out a hookah and began to smoke. They asked me if I could smoke. I said no. One of them said to me, let us see the swami in your bundle (here gives a description of the same). I said, “I cannot, I am not clean enough to do so.” “Why not perform your ablutions in yonder stream?” they said. “If you sprinkle water on your forehead that will suffice.” I went to wash my hands and feet, and laved my head, and showed it to them. Next they disappeared. “As it is very late, it is time you returned home,” said my first friend. “No,” I said, “now I have found you I will not leave you.” “No, no,” he said, “you must go home. You cannot leave the world yet; you are a father and a husband, and you must not neglect your worldly duties. Follow the footsteps of your late respected uncle; he did not neglect his worldly affairs, though he cared for the interests of his soul; you must go, but I will meet you again when you get your fortnightly holiday.” On this he embraced me, and I again became unconscious. When I returned to myself, I found myself at the bottom of Col. Jones’ Coffee Plantation above Coonor on a path. Here the Sannyasi wished me farewell, and pointing to the high road below, he said, “Now you will know your way home;” but I would not part from him. I said, “All this will appear a dream to me unless you will fix a day and promise to meet me here again.” “I promise,” he said. “No, promise me by an oath on the head of my idol.” Again he promised, and touched the head of my idol. “Be here,” he said, “this day fortnight.” When the day came I anxiously kept my engagement and went and sat on the stone on the path. I waited a long time in vain. At last I said to myself, “I am deceived, he is not coming, he has broken his oath”—and with grief I made a poojah. Hardly had these thoughts passed my mind, than lo! he stood beside me. “Ah, you doubt me,” he said; “why this grief.” I fell at his feet and confessed I had doubted him and begged his forgiveness. He forgave and comforted me, and told me to keep in my good ways and he would always help me; and he told me and advised me about all my private affairs without my telling him one word, and he also gave me some medicines for a sick friend which I had promised to ask for but had forgotten. This medicine was given to my friend and he is perfectly well now.

A verbatim translation of a Settlement Officer’s statement to


Witchcraft on the Nilgiris

Having lived many years (30) on the Nilgiris, employing the various tribes of the Hills on my estates, and speaking their languages, I have had many opportunities of observing their manners and customs and the frequent practice of Demonology and Witchcraft among them. On the slopes of the Nilgiris live several semi-wild people: 1st, the “Curumbers,” who frequently hire themselves out to neighbouring estates, and are first-rate fellers of forest; 2nd, the “Tain” (“Honey Curumbers”), who collect and live largely on honey and roots, and who do not come into civilized parts; 3rd, the “Mulu” Curumbers, who are rare on the slopes of the hills, but common in Wynaad lower down the plateau. These use bows and arrows, are fond of hunting, and have frequently been known to kill tigers, rushing in a body on their game and discharging their arrows at a short distance. In their eagerness they frequently fall victims to this animal; but they are supposed to possess a controlling power over all wild animals, especially elephants and tigers; and the natives declare they have the power of assuming the forms of various beasts. Their aid is constantly invoked both by the Curumbers first named, and by the natives generally, when wishing to be revenged on an enemy.

Besides these varieties of Curumbers there are various other wild tribes I do not now mention, as they are not concerned in what I have to relate.

I had on my estate near Ootacamund a gang of young Badágas, some 30 young men, whom I had had in my service since they were children, and who had become most useful handy fellows. From week to week I missed one or another of them, and on inquiry was told they had been sick and were dead!

One market-day I met the Moneghar of the village to which my gang belonged and some of his men, returning home laden with their purchases. The moment he saw me he stopped, and coming up to me, said, “Mother, I am in great sorrow and trouble, tell me what I can do!” “Why, what is wrong?” I asked. “All my young men are dying, and I cannot help them, nor prevent it; they are under a spell of the wicked Curumbers who are killing them, and I am powerless.” “Pray explain,” I said; “why do the Curumbers behave in this way, and what do they do to your people?” “Oh, Madam, they are vile extortioners, always asking for money; we have given and given till we have no more to give. I told them we had no more money and then they said,—All right—as you please; we shall see. Surely as they say this, we know what will follow—at night when we are all asleep, we wake up suddenly and see a Curumber standing in our midst, in the middle of the room occupied by the young men.” “Why do you not close and bolt your doors securely?” I interrupted. “What is the use of bolts and bars to them? they come through stone walls. . . . Our doors were secure, but nothing can keep out a Curumber. He points his finger at Mada, at Kurira, at Jogie—he utters no word, and as we look at him he vanishes! In a few days these three young men sicken, a low fever consumes them, their stomachs swell, they die. Eighteen young men, the flower of my village, have died thus this year. These effects always follow the visit of a Curumber at night.” “Why not complain to the Government?” I said. “Ah, no use, who will catch them?” “Then give them the 200 rupees they ask this once on a solemn promise that they exact no more.” “I suppose we must find the money somewhere,” he said, turning sorrowfully away.

A Mr. K—— is the owner of a coffee estate near this, and like many other planters employs Burghers. On one occasion he went down the slopes of the hills after bison and other large game, taking some seven or eight Burghers with him as gun carriers (besides other things necessary in jungle- walking—axes to clear the way, knives and ropes, etc.). He found and severely wounded a fine elephant with tusks. Wishing to secure these, he proposed following up his quarry, but could not induce his Burghers to go deeper and further into the forests; they feared to meet the “Mula Curumbers” who lived thereabouts. For long he argued in vain, at last by dint of threats and promises he induced them to proceed, and as they met no one, their fears were allayed and they grew bolder, when suddenly coming on the elephant lying dead (oh, horror to them!), the beast was surrounded by a party of Mulu Curumbers busily engaged in cutting out the tusks, one of which they had already disengaged! The affrighted Burghers fell back, and nothing Mr. K—— could do or say would induce them to approach the elephant, which the Curumbers stoutly declared was theirs. They had killed him they said. They had very likely met him staggering under his wound and had finished him off. Mr. K—— was not likely to give up his game in this fashion. So walking threateningly to the Curumbers he compelled them to retire, and called to his Burghers at the same time. The Curumbers only said, “Just you DARE to touch that elephant,” and retired. Mr. K—— thereupon cut out the remaining tusk himself, and slinging both on a pole with no little trouble, made his men carry them. He took all the blame on himself, showed them that they did not touch them, and finally declared he would stay there all night rather than lose the tusks. The idea of a night near the Mulu Curumbers was too much for the fears of the Burghers, and they finally took up the pole and tusks and walked home. From that day those men, all but one who probably carried the gun, sickened, walked about like spectres, doomed, pale and ghastly, and before the month was out all were dead men, with the one exception!

A few months ago, at the village of Ebanaud, a few miles from this, a fearful tragedy was enacted. The Moneghar or headman’s child was sick unto death. This, following on several recent deaths, was attributed to the evil influences of a village of Curumbers hard by. The Burghers determined on the destruction of every soul of them. They procured the assistance of a Toda, as they invariably do on such occasions, as without one the Curumbers are supposed to be invulnerable. They proceeded to the Curumber village at night and set their huts on fire, and as the miserable inmates attempted to escape, flung them back into the flames or knocked them down with clubs. In the confusion one old woman escaped unobserved into the adjacent bushes. Next morning she gave notice to the authorities, and identified seven Burghers, among whom was the Moneghar or headman, and one Toda. As the murderers of her people they were all brought to trial in the Courts here,—except the headman, who died before he could be brought in—and were all sentenced and duly executed, that is, three Burghers and the Toda, who were proved principals in the murders.

Two years ago an almost identical occurrence took place at Kotaghery, with exactly similar results, but without the punishment entailed having any deterrent effect. They pleaded “justification,” as witchcraft had been practised on them. But our Government ignores all occult dealings and will not believe in the dread power in the land. They deal very differently with these matters in Russia, where, in a recent trial of a similar nature, the witchcraft was admitted as an extenuating circumstance and the culprits who had burnt a witch were all acquitted. All natives of whatever caste are well aware of these terrible powers and too often do they avail themselves of them—much oftener than any one has an idea of. One day as I was riding along I came upon a strange and ghastly object—a basket containing the bloody head of a black sheep, a cocoanut, 10 rupees in money, some rice and flowers. These smaller items I did not see, not caring to examine any closer; but I was told by some natives that those articles were to be found in the basket. The basket was placed at the apex of a triangle formed by three fine threads tied to three small sticks, so placed that any one approaching from the roads on either side had to stumble over the threads and receive the full effects of the deadly “Soonium” as the natives call it. On inquiry I learnt that it was usual to prepare such a “Soonium” when one lay sick unto death; as throwing it on another was the only means of rescuing the sick one, and woe to the unfortunate who broke a thread by stumbling over it!


Shamanism and Witchcraft Amongst the Kolarian Tribes

Having resided for some years amongst the Mimdás and Hós of Singbhoom, and Chutia Nagpur, my attention was drawn at times to customs differing a good deal in some ways, but having an evident affinity to those related of the Nilghiri “Curumbers” in Mrs. Morgan’s article. I do not mean to say that the practices I am about to mention are confined simply to the Kolarian tribes, as I am aware both Oraons (a Dravidian tribe), and the different Hindu castes living side by side with the Kòls, count many noted wizards among their number; but what little I have come to know of these curious customs, I have learnt among the Mimdás and Hós, some of the most celebrated practitioners among them being Christian converts. The people themselves say, that these practices are peculiar to their race, and not learnt from the Hindu invaders of their plateau; but I am inclined to think that some, at least, of the operations have a strong savour of the Tantric black magic about them, though practised by people who are often entirely ignorant of’ any Hindu language.

These remarks must he supplemented by a short sketch of Kól ideas of worship. They have nothing that I have either seen or heard of in the shape of an image, but their periodical offerings are made to a number of elemental spirits, and they assign a genie to every rock or tree in the country, whom they do not consider altogether malignant, but who, if not duly “fed” or propitiated, may become so.

The Singbonga (lit., sun or light spirit) is the chief; Búrú Bonga (spirit of the hills), and the Ikhir Bonga (spirit of the deep), come next. After these come the Darha, of which each family has its own, and they may be considered in the same light as Lares and Penates. But every threshing, flour and oil mill, has its spirit, who must be duly fed, else evil result may be expected. Their great festival (the Karam) is in honour of Singbonga and his assistants; the opening words of the priests’ speech on that occasion, sufficiently indicate that they consider Singbonga, the creator of men and things. Múnúre Singbonga manokoa luekidkoa (In the beginning Singbonga made men).

Each village has its Sarna or sacred grove, where the hereditary priest from time to time performs sacrifices, to keep things prosperous; but this only relates to spirits actually connected with the village, the three greater spirits mentioned, being considered general, are only fed at intervals of three or more years, and always on a public road or other public place, and once every ten years a human being was (and as some will tell you is) sacrified to keep the whole community of spirits in good train. The Páháns, or village priests, are regular servants of the spirits, and the nájo, deona and bhagats are people who in some way are supposed to obtain an influence or command over them. The first and lowest grade of these adepts, called nájos (which may be translated as practitioners of witchcraft pure and simple), are frequently women. They are accused, like the “Mula Curumbers,” of demanding quantities of grain or loans of money, etc., from people, and when these demands are refused, they go away with a remark to the effect, “that you have lots of cattle and grain just now, but we’ll see what they are like after a month or two.” Then probably the cattle of the bewitched person will get some disease, and several of them die, or some person of his family will become ill or get hurt in some unaccountable way. Till at last, thoroughly frightened, the afflicted person takes a little uncooked rice and goes to a deona or mati (as he is called in the different vernaculars of the province)—the grade immediately above nájo in knowledge—and promising him a reward if he will assist him, requests his aid; if the deona accedes to the request, the proceedings are as follows. The deona taking the oil brought, lights a small lamp and seats himself beside it with the rice in a súrpa (winnower) in his hands. After looking intently at the lamp flame for a few minutes, he begins to sing a sort of chaunt of invocation in which all the spirits are named, and at the name of each spirit a few grains of rice are thrown into the lamp. When the flame at any particular name gives a jump and flares up high, the spirit concerned in the mischief is indicated. Then the deona takes a small portion of the rice wrapped up in a sál (Shorea robusta) leaf and proceeds to the nearest new white-ant nest from which he cuts the top off and lays the little bundle, half in and half out of the cavity. Having retired, he returns in about an hour to see if the rice is consumed, and according to the rapidity with which it is eaten he predicts the sacrifice which will appease the spirit. This ranges from a fowl to a buffalo, but whatever it may include, the pouring out of blood is an essential. It must be noted, however, that the mati never tells who the nájo is who has excited the malignity of the spirit.

But the most important and lucrative part of a deona’s business is the casting out of evil spirits, which operation is known variously as ásháb and langhan. The sign of obsession is generally some mental alienation accompanied (in bad cases) by a combined trembling and restlessness of limbs, or an unaccountable swelling up of the body. Whatever the symptoms may he the mode of cure appears to be much the same. On such symptoms declaring themselves, the deona is brought to the house and is in the presence of the sick man and his friends provided with some rice in a surpa, some oil, a little vermilion, and the deona produces from his own person a little powdered sulphur and an iron tube about four inches long and two tiklis.1 Before the proceedings begin all the things mentioned are touched with vermilion, a small quantity of which is also mixed with the rice. Three or four grains of rice and one of the tikhis being put into the tube, a lamp is then lighted beside the sick man and the deona begins his chaunt, throwing grains of rice at each name, and when the flame flares up, a little of the powdered sulphur is thrown into the lamp and a little on the sick man, who thereupon becomes convulsed, is shaken all over and talks deliriously, the deona’s chaunt growing louder all the while. Suddenly the convulsions and the chaunt cease, and the deona carefully takes up a little of the sulphur off the man’s body and puts into the tube, which he then seals with the second tiklis. The deona and one of the man’s friends then leave the hut, taking the iron tube and rice with them, the spirit being now supposed out of the man and bottled up in the iron tube. They hurry across country until they leave the hut some miles behind. Then they go to the edge of some tank or river, to some place they know to be frequented by people for the purposes of bathing, etc., where, after some further ceremony, the iron is stuck into the ground and left there. This is done with the benevolent intention that the spirit may transfer its attentions to the unfortunate person who may happen to touch it while bathing. I am told the spirit in this case usually chooses a young and healthy person. Should the deona think the spirit has not been able to suit itself with a new receptacle, he repairs to where a bazaar is taking place and there (after some ceremony) he mixes with the crowd, and taking a grain of the reddened rice jerks it with his forefinger and thumb in such a way that without attracting attention it falls on the person or clothes of some. This is done several times to make certain. Then the deona declares he has done his work, and is usually treated to the best dinner the sick man’s friends can afford. It is said that the person to whom the spirit by either of these methods is transferred may not be affected for weeks or even months. But some fine day while he is at his work, he will suddenly stop, wheel round two or three times on his heels and fall down more or less convulsed, from that time forward he will begin to be troubled in the same way as his dis-obsessed predecessor was.

Having thus given some account of the deona, we now come to the bhagat, called by the Hindus sokha and sivnath. This is the highest grade of all, and, as I ought to have mentioned before, the ilm (knowledge) of both the deona and bhagat grades is only to be learned by becoming a regular chela of a practitioner; but I am given to understand that the final initiation is much hastened by a seasonable liberality on the part of the chela. During the initiation of the sokha certain ceremonies are performed at night by aid of a human corpse, this is one of the things which has led me to think that this part at least of these practices is connected with Tantric black magic.

The bhagat performs two distinct functions: (1st), a kind of divination called bhao (the same in Hindi), and (2nd), a kind of Shamanism called darasta in Hindi, and bharotan in Horokaji, which, however, is resorted to only on very grave occasions—as, for instance, when several families think they are bewitched at one time and by the same najo.

The bhao is performed as follows:—The person having some query to propound, makes a small dish out of a sàl leaf and puts in it a little uncooked rice and a few pice; he then proceeds to the bhagat and lays before him the leaf and its contents, propounding at the same time his query. The bhagat then directs him to go out and gather two golaichi (varieties of Posinia) flowers (such practitioners usually having a golaichi tree close to their abodes); after the flowers are brought the bhagat seats himself with the rice close to the inquirer, and after some consideration selects one of the flowers, and holding it by the stalk at about a foot from his eyes in his left hand twirls it between his thumb and fingers, occasionally with his right hand dropping on it a grain or two of rice.2 In a few minutes his eyes close and he begins to talk—usually about things having nothing to do with the question in hand, but after a few minutes of this, he suddenly yells out an answer to the question, and without another word retires. The inquirer takes his meaning as he can from the answer, which, I believe, is always ambiguous.

The bharotan as I have above remarked is only resorted to when a matter of grave import has to be inquired about; the bhagat makes a high charge for a séance of this description. We will fancy that three or four families in a village consider themselves bewitched by a nájo, and they resolve to have recourse to a bhagat to find out who the witch is; with this view a day is fixed on, and two delegates are procured from each of five neighbouring villages, who accompany the afflicted people to the house of the bhagat, taking with them a dáli or offering, consisting of vegetables, which on arrival is formally presented to him. Two delegates are posted at each of the four points of the compass, and the other two sent themselves with the afflicted parties to the right of the bhagat, who occupies the centre of the apartment with four or five chelas, a clear space being reserved on the left. One chela then brings a small earthenware-pot full of lighted charcoal, which is set before the bhagat with a pile of mango wood chips and a ball composed of dhunia (resin of Shorea robusta), gur (treacle), and ghee (clarified butter), and possibly other ingredients. The bhagat’s sole attire consists of a scanty lenguti (waist-cloth), a necklace of the large wooden beads such as are usually worn by fakeers, and several garlands of golaichi flowers round his neck, his hair being unusually long and matted. Beside him stuck in the ground is his staff. One chela stands over the firepot with a bamboo-mat fan in his hand, another takes charge of the pile of chips, and a third of the ball of composition, and one or two others seat themselves behind the bhagat, with drums and other musical instruments in their hands. All being in readiness, the afflicted ones are requested to state their grievance. This they do, and pray the bhagat to call before him the nájo, who has stirred up the spirits to afflict them, in order that he may be punished. The bhagat then gives a sign to his chelas, those behind him raise a furious din with their instruments, the fire is fed with chips, and a bit of the composition is put on it from time to time, producing a volume of thick greyish-blue smoke; this is carefully fanned over, and towards the bhagat, who, when well wrapped in smoke, closes his eyes and quietly swaying his body begins a low chaunt. The chaunt gradually becomes louder and the sway of his body more pronounced, until he works himself into a state of complete frenzy. Then with his body actually quivering, and his head rapidly working about from side to side, he sings in a loud voice how a certain nájo (whom he names) had asked money of those people and was refused, and how he stirred up certain spirits (whom he also names) to hurt them, how they killed so and so’s bullocks, some one else’s sheep, and caused another’s child to fall ill. Then he begins to call on the nájo to come and answer for his doings, and in doing so rises to his feet—still commanding the nájo to appear; meanwhile he reels about; then falls on the ground and is quite still except for an occasional whine, and a muttered, “I see him!” “He is coming!” This state may last for an hour or more till at last the bhagat sits up and announces the nájo has come; as he says so, a man, apparently mad with drink, rushes in and falls with his head towards the bhagat moaning and making a sort of snorting as if half stifled. In this person the bewitched parties often recognize a neighbour and sometimes even a relation, but whoever he may be they have bound themselves to punish him. The bhagat then speaks to him and tells him to confess, at the same time threatening him, in case of refusal, with his staff. He then confesses in a half-stupefied manner, and his confession tallies with what the bhagat has told in his frenzy. The nájo is then dismissed and runs out of the house in the same hurry as he came in.

The delegates then hold a council at which the nájo usually is sentenced to a fine—often heavy enough to ruin him—and expelled from his village. Before the British rule the convicted nájo seldom escaped with his life, and during the mutiny time, when no Englishmen were about, the Singbhoom Hòs paid off a large number of old scores of this sort. For record of which, see “Statistical Account of Bengal,” vol. xvii. p. 52.

In conclusion I have merely to add that I have derived this information from people who have been actually concerned in these occurrences, and among others a man belonging to a village of my own, who was convicted and expelled from the village with the loss of all his movable property, and one of his victims, a relation of his, sat by me when the above was being written.


Mahatmas and Chelas

A MAHATMA is an individual who, by special training and education, has evolved those higher faculties, and has attained that spiritual knowledge, which ordinary humanity will acquire after passing through numberless series of re-incarnations during the process of cosmic evolution, provided, of course, that they do not go, in the meanwhile, against the purposes of Nature and thus bring on their own annihilation. This process of the self-evolution of the MAHATMA extends over a number of “incarnations,” although, comparatively speaking, they are very few. Now, what is it that incarnates? The occult doctrine, so far as it is given out, shows that the first three principles die more or less with what is called the physical death. The fourth principle, together with the lower portions of the fifth, in which reside the animal propensities, has Kama Loka for its abode, where it suffers the throes of disintegration in proportion to the intensity of those lower desires; while it is the higher Manas, the pure man, which is associated with the sixth and seventh principles, that goes into Devachan to enjoy there the effects of its good Karma, and then to be reincarnated as a higher personality. Now an entity that is passing through the occult training in its successive births, gradually has less and less (in each incarnation) of that lower Manas until there arrives a time when its whole Manas, being of an entirely elevated character, is centred in the individuality, when such a person may be said to have become a MAHATMA. At the time of his physical death, all the lower four principles perish without any suffering, for these are, in fact, to him like a piece of wearing apparel which he puts on and off at will. The real MAHATMA is then not his physical body but that higher Manas which is inseparably linked to the Atma and its vehicle (the sixth principle)—a union effected by him in a comparatively very short period by passing through the process of self-evolution laid down by Occult Philosophy. When therefore, people express a desire to “see a MAHATMA,” they really do not seem to understand what it is they ask for. How can they, with their physical eyes, hope to see that which transcends that sight? Is it the body—a mere shell or mask—they crave or hunt after? And supposing they see the body of a MAHATMA, how can they know that behind that mask is concealed an exalted entity? By what standard are they to judge whether the Maya before them reflects the image of a true MAHATMA or not? And who will say that the physical is not a Maya? Higher things can be perceived only by a sense pertaining to those higher things; whoever therefore wants to see the real MAHATMA, must use his intellectual sight. He must so elevate his Manas that its perception will be clear and all mists created by Maya be dispelled. His vision will then be bright and he will see the MAHATMA wherever he may be, for, being merged into the sixth and the seventh principles, which know no distance, the MAHATMA may be said to be everywhere. But, at the same time, just as we may be standing on a mountain top and have within our sight the whole plain, and yet not be cognizant of any particular tree or spot, because from that elevated position all below is nearly identical, and as our attention may be drawn to something which may be dissimilar to its surroundings—in the same manner, although the whole of humanity is within the mental vision of the MAHATMA, he cannot be expected to take special note of every human being, unless that being by his special acts draws particular attention to himself. The highest interest of humanity, as a whole, is the MAHATMA’S special concern, for he has identified himself with that Universal Soul which runs through Humanity; and to draw his attention one must do so through that Soul. This perception of the Manas may be called “faith” which should not be confounded with blind belief. “Blind faith” is an expression sometimes used to indicate belief without perception or understanding; while the true perception of the Manas is that enlightened belief which is the real meaning of the word “faith.” This belief should at the same time be accompanied by knowledge, i.e., experience, for “true knowledge brings with it faith.” Faith is the perception of the Manas (the fifth principle), while knowledge, in the true sense of the term, is the capacity of the Intellect, i.e., it is spiritual perception. In short, the individuality of man, composed of his higher Manas, the sixth and the seventh principle, should work as a unity, and then only can it obtain “divine wisdom,” for divine things can be sensed only by divine faculties. Thus a chela should be actuated solely by a desire to understand the operations of the Law of Cosmic Evolution, so as to be able to work in conscious and harmonious accord with Nature.


The Brahmanical Thread

I. The general term for the investiture of this thread is Upanayana; and the invested is called Upanita, which signifies brought or drawn near (to one’s Guru), i.e., the thread is the symbol of the wearer’s condition.

II. One of the names of this thread is Yajna-Sutra. Yajna means Brahma, or the Supreme Spirit, and Sutra the thread, or tie. Collectively, the compound word signifies that which ties a man to his spirit or god. It consists of three yarns twisted into one thread, and three of such threads formed and knotted into a circle. Every Theosophist knows what a circle signifies and it need not be repeated here. He will easily understand the rest and the relation they have to mystic initiation. The yarns signify the great principle of “three in one, and one in three,” thus:—The first trinity consists of Atma which comprises the three attributes of Manas, Buddhi, and Ahankara (the mind, the intelligence, and the egotism). The Manas again, has the three qualities of Satva, Raja, and Tama (goodness, foulness, and darkness). Buddhi has the three attributes of Pratyaksha, Upamiti and Anumiti (perception, analogy, and inference). Ahankara also has three attributes, viz., Jnata, Jneya, and Jnan (the knower, the known, and the knowledge).

III. Another name of the sacred thread is Tridandi. Tri means three, and Danda, chastisement, correction, or conquest. This reminds the holder of the three great “corrections” or conquests he has to accomplish. These are:—(I) the Vakya Sanyama;1 (2) the Manas Sanyama; and (3) the Indriya (or Deha) Sanyama. Vakya is speech, Manas, mind, and Deha (literally, body) or Indriya, is the senses. The three conquests therefore mean the control over one’s speech, thought, and action.

This thread is also the reminder to the man of his secular duties, and its material varies, in consequence, according to the occupation of the wearer. Thus, while the threat of the Brahmans is made of pure cotton, that of the Kshatriyas (the warriors) is composed of flax—the bow-string material; and that of Vaishyas (the traders and cattle-breeders), of wool. From this it is not to be inferred that caste was originally meant to be hereditary. In the ancient times, it depended on the qualities of the man. Irrespective of the caste of his parents, a man could, according to his merit or otherwise, raise or lower himself from one caste to another; and instances are not wanting in which a man has elevated himself to the position of the highest Brahman (such as Vishvamitra Rishi, Parasara, Vyasa, Satyakam, and others) from the very lowest of the four castes. The sayings of Yudhishthira on this subject, in reply to the questions of the great serpent, in the Arannya Parva of the Maha-Bharata, and of Manu, on the same point, are well known and need nothing more than bare reference. Both Manu and Maha-Bharata—the fulcrums of Hinduism—distinctly affirm that a man can translate himself from one caste to another by his merit, irrespective of his parentage.

The day is fast approaching when the so-called Brahmans will have to show cause, before the tribunal of the Aryan Rishis, why they should not be divested of the thread which they do not at all deserve, but are degrading by misuse. Then alone will the people appreciate the privilege of wearing it.

There are many examples of the highest distinctive insignia being worn by the unworthy. The aristocracies of Europe and Asia teem with such.


Reading in a Sealed Envelope

Some years ago, a Brahman astrologer named Vencata Narasimla Josi, a native of the village of Periasamudram in the Mysore Provinces, came to the little town in the Bellary District where I was then employed. He was a good Sanskrit, Telugu and Canarese poet, and an excellent master of Vedic rituals; knew the Hindu system of astronomy, and professed to be an astrologer. Besides all this, he possessed the power of reading what was contained in any sealed envelope. The process adopted for this purpose was simply this:—We wrote whatever we chose on a piece of paper; enclosed it in one, two or three envelopes, each properly gummed and sealed, and handed the cover to the astrologer. He asked us to name a figure between 1 and 9, and on its being named, he retired with the envelope to some secluded place for some time; and then he returned with a paper full of figures, and another paper containing a copy of what was on the sealed paper—exactly, letter for letter and word for word. I tried him often and many others did the same; and we were all satisfied that he was invariably accurate, and that there was no deception whatsoever in the matter.

About this time, one Mr. Theyagaraja Mudalyar, a supervisor in the Public Works Department, an English scholar and a good Sanskrit and Telugu poet, arrived at our place on his periodical tour of inspection. Having heard about the aforesaid astrologer, he wanted to test him in a manner, most satisfactory to himself. One morning handing to the astrologer a very indifferently gummed envelope, he said, “Here, Sir, take this letter home with you and come back to me with your copy in the afternoon.” This loose way of closing the envelope, and the permission given to the astrologer to take it home for several hours, surprised the Brahman, who said, “I don’t want to go home. Seal the cover better, and give me the use of some room here. I shall be ready with my copy very soon.” “No,” said the Mudalyar, “take it as it is, and come back whenever you like. I have the means of finding out the deception, if any be practised.”

So then the astrologer went with the envelope; and returned to the Mudalyar’s place in the afternoon. Myself and about twenty others were present there by appointment. The astrologer then carefully handed the cover to the Mudalyar, desiring him to see if it was all right. “Don’t mind that,” the Mudalyar answered; “I can find out the trick, if there be any. Produce your copy.” The astrologer thereupon presented to the Mudalyar a paper on which four lines were written and stated that this was a copy of the paper enclosed in the Mudalyar’s envelope. Those four lines formed a portion of an antiquated poem.

The Mudalyar read the paper once, then read it over again. Extreme satisfaction beamed over his countenance, and he sat mute for some seconds seemingly in utter astonishment. But soon after, the expression of his face changing, he opened the envelope and threw the enclosure down, jocularly saying to the astrologer, “Here, Sir, is the original of which you have produced the copy.”

The paper lay upon the carpet, and was quite blank! not a word, nor a letter on its clean surface.

This was a sad disappointment to all his admirers; but to the astrologer himself, it was a real thunderbolt. He picked up the paper pensively, examined it on both sides, then dashed it on the ground in a fury; and suddenly arising, exclaimed, “My Vidya (secret knowledge, magic) is a delusion, and I am a liar!” The subsequent behaviour of the poor man made us fear lest this great disappointment should drive him to commit some desperate act. In fact he seemed determined to drown himself in the well, saying that he was dishonoured. While we were trying to console him, the Mudalyar came forward, caught hold of his hands, and besought him to sit down and calmly listen to his explanation, assuring him that he was not a liar, and that his copy was perfectly accurate. But the astrologer would not be satisfied; he supposed that all this was said simply to console him; and cursed himself and his fate most horribly. However, in a few minutes he became calmer and listened to the Mudalyar’s explanation, which was in substance as follows:

The only way for the sceptic to account for this phenomenon, is to suppose that the astrologer opened the covers dexterously and read their contents. “So,” he said, “I wrote four lines of old poetry on the paper with nitrate of silver, which would be invisible until exposed to the light; and this would have disclosed the astrologer’s fraud, if he had tried to find out the contents of the enclosed paper, by opening the cover, however ingeniously. For, if he opened it and looked at the paper, he would have seen that it was blank, resealed the cover, and declared that the paper enveloped therein bore no writing whatever; or if he had, by design or accident, exposed the paper to light, the writing would have become black; and he would have produced a copy of it as if it were the result of his own Vidya; but in either case and the writing remaining, his deception would have been clear, and it would have been patent to all that he did open the envelope. But in the present case, the result proved conclusively that the cover was not opened at all.”


The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac

The division of the Zodiac into different signs dates from immemorial antiquity. It has acquired a world-wide celebrity and is to be found in the astrological systems of several nations. The invention of the Zodiac and its signs has been assigned to different nations by different antiquarians. It is stated by some that, at first, there were only ten signs, that one of these signs was subsequently split up into two separate signs, and that a new sign was added to the number to render the esoteric significance of the division more profound, and at the same time to conceal it more perfectly from the uninitiated public. It is very probable that the real philosophical conception of the division owes its origin to some particular nation, and the names given to the various signs might have been translated into the languages of other nations. The principal object of this article, however, is not to decide which nation had the honour of inventing the signs in question, but to indicate to some extent the real philosophical meaning involved therein, and the way to discover the rest of the meaning which yet remains undisclosed. But from what is herein stated, an inference may fairly be drawn that, like so many other philosophical myths and allegories, the invention of the Zodiac and its signs owes its origin to ancient India.

What then is its real origin, what is the philosophical conception which the Zodiac and its signs are intended to represent? Do the various signs merely indicate the shape or configuration of the different constellations included in the divisions, or, are they simply masks designed to veil some hidden meaning? The former supposition is altogether untenable for two reasons, viz.:

I. The Hindus were acquainted with the precession of the equinoxes, as may Be easily seen from their work on Astronomy, and from the almanacs published by Hindu astronomers. Consequently they were fully aware of the fact that the constellations in the various Zodiacal divisions were not fixed. They could not, therefore, have assigned particular shapes to these shifting groups of fixed stars with reference to the divisions of the Zodiac. But the names indicating the Zodiacal signs have all along remained unaltered. It is to be inferred, therefore, that the names given to the various signs have no connection whatever with the configurations of the constellations included in them.

II. The names assigned to these signs by the ancient Sanskrit writers and their exoteric or literal meanings are as follows:



1 Mesha .          .          . Ram, or Aries.
2 Rishabha .          .          . Bull, or Taurus.
3 Mithunam .          .          . Twins, or Gemini (male and female).
4 Karkátaka .          .          . Crab, or Cancer.
5 Simha .          .          . Lion, or Leo.
6 Kanya .          .          . Virgin or Virgo.1
7 Tula .          .          . Balance, or Libra.
8 Vrischika .          .          . Scorpion, or Scorpio.
9 Dhanus .          .          . Archer, or Sagittarius.
10 Makara .          .          . The Goat, or Capricornus (Crocodile, in Sanskrit).
11 Kumbha .          .          . Water-bearer, or Aquarius.
12 Meenam .          .          . Fishes, or Pisces.

The figures of the constellations included in the signs at the time the division was first made do not at all resemble the shapes of the animals, reptiles and other objects denoted by the names given them. The truth of this assertion can be ascertained by examining the configurations of the various constellations. Unless the shape of the crocodile2 or the crab is called up by the observer’s imagination, there is very little chance of the stars themselves suggesting to his idea that figure, upon the blue canopy of the starry firmament.

If, then, the constellations have nothing to do with the origin of the names by which the Zodiacal divisions are indicated, we have to seek for some other source which might have given rise to these appellations. It becomes my object to unravel a portion of the mystery connected with these Zodiacal signs, as also to disclose a portion of the sublime conception of the ancient Hindu philosophy which gave rise to them. The signs of the Zodiac have more than one meaning. From one point of view they represent the different stages of evolution up to the time the present material universe with the five elements came into phenomenal existence. As the author of “Isis Unveiled” has stated in the second volume of her admirable work, “The key should be turned seven times” to understand the whole philosophy underlying these signs. But I shall wind it only once and give the contents of the first chapter of the History of Evolution. It is very fortunate that the Sanskrit names assigned to the various divisions by Aryan philosophers contain within themselves the key to the solution of the problem. Those of my readers who have studied to some extent the ancient “Mantra” and the “Tantra Sastras”3 of India, would have seen that very often Sanskrit words are made to convey a certain hidden meaning by means of well-known pre-arranged methods and a tacit convention, while their literal significance is something quite different from the implied meaning. The following are some of the rules which may help an inquirer in ferreting out the deep significance of ancient Sanskrit nomenclature to be found in the old Aryan myths and allegories:

1. Find out the synonyms of the word used which have other meanings.

2. Find out the numerical value of the letters composing the word according to the methods given in ancient Tantrika works.

3. Examine the ancient myths or allegories, if there are any, which have any special connection with the word in question.

4. Permute the different syllables composing the word and examine the new combinations that will thus be formed and their meanings, etc. etc.

I shall now apply some of the above given rules to the names of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

I. Mesha.—One of the synonyms of this word is Aja. Now, Aja literally means that which has no birth, and is applied to the Eternal Brahma in certain portions of the Upanishads. So, the first sign is intended to represent Parabrahma, the self-existent, eternal, self-sufficient cause of all.

II. Rishabham.—This word is used in several places in the Upanishads and the Veda to mean Pranava (Aum). Sankaracharya has so interpreted it in several portions of his commentary.4

III. Mithuna.—As the word plainly indicates, this sign is intended to represent the first androgyne, the Ardhanáreeswara, the bisexual Sephira-Adam Kadmon.

IV. Karkátaka.—When the syllables are converted into the corresponding numbers, according to the general mode of transmutation so often alluded to in Mantra Shastra, the word in question will be represented by / / / /. This sign then is evidently intended to represent the sacred Tetragram; the Parabrahmadháraka; the Pranava resolved into four separate entities corresponding to its four Matras; the four Avasthas indicated by Jágrata (waking) Avastha, Swapna (dreaming) Avastha, Śushupti (deep sleep) Avastha, and Turiya (the last stage, i.e., Nirvana) Avastha (as yet in potentiality); the four states of Brahma called Vaiswanara, Taijasa (or Hiranyagarbha), Pragna, and Iswara, and represented by Brahma, Vishná, Maheswara, and Sadasiva; the four aspects of Parabrahma, as Sthula (gross), Sukshma (subtle), Vija (seed), and Sakshi (witness); the four stages or conditions of the Sacred Word, named Para, Pasyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari; Nadam, Bindu, Sakti and Kala. This sign completes the first quaternary.

V. Simha.—This word contains a world of occult meaning within itself; and it may not be prudent on my part to disclose the whole of its meaning now. It will be sufficient for the present purpose to give a general indication of its significance.

Two of its synonymous terms are Panchásyam and Hari, and its number in the order of the Zodiacal divisions (being the fifth sign) points clearly to the former synonym. This synonym—Panchásyam—shows that the sign is intended to represent the five Brahmas—viz., Isánam, Aghoram, Tatpurusham, Vámadevam, and Sadyojátam:—the five Buddhas. The second synonym shows it to be Náráyana, the Jivátma or Pratyagátma. The Sukarahasy Upanishad will show that the ancient Aryan philosophers looked upon Náráyana as the Jivátma.5 The Vaishnavites may not admit it. But as an Advaiti, I look upon Jivátma as identical with Paramátma in its real essence when stripped of its illusory attributes created by Agnánam or Avidya—ignorance. The Jivátma is correctly placed in the fifth sign counting from Mesham, as the fifth sign is the putrasthanam or the son’s house according to the rules of Hindu Astrology. The sign in question represents Jivátma—the son of Paramátma as it were. (I may also add that it represents the real Christ, the anointed pure spirit, though many Christians may frown at this interpretation.)6 I will only add here that unless the nature of this sign is fully comprehended it will be impossible to understand the real order of the next three signs and their full significance. The elements or entities that have merely a potential existence in this sign become distinct separate entities in the next three signs. Their union into a single entity leads to the destruction of the phenomenal universe, and the recognition of the pure Spirit and their separation has the contrary effect. It leads to material earth-bound existence and brings into view the picture gallery of Avidya (Ignorance) or Maya (Illusion). If the real orthography of the name by which the sign in question is indicated is properly understood, it will readily be seen that the next three signs are not what they ought to be. Kanya or Virgo and Vrischika or Scorpio should form one single sign, and Thula must follow the said sign if it is at all necessary to have a separate sign of that name. But a separation between Kanya and Vrischika was effected by interposing the sign Tula between the two. The object of this separation will be understood on examining the meaning of the three signs.

VI. Kanyá.—Means a virgin and represents Sakti or Mahámáya. The sign in question is the sixth Rási or division, and indicates that there are six primary forces in Nature. These forces have different sets of names in Sanskrit philosophy. According to one system of nomenclature, they are called by the following names:7—(1) Parásakty; (2) Gnánasakti; (3) Itchásakti (will-power); (4) Kriyásakti; (5) Kundalinisakti; and (6) Matrikásakti. The six forces are in their unity represented by the Astral Light.8

VII. Tula.—When represented by numbers according to the method above alluded to, this word will be converted into 36. This sign, therefore, is evidently intended to represent the 36 Tatwams. (The number of Tatwams is different according to the views of different philosophers but by Sakteyas generally and by several of the ancient Rishis, such as Agastya, Dvrásá and Parasuráma, etc., the number of Tatwams has been stated to be 36). Jivátma differs from Paramátma, or to state the same thing in other words, “Baddha” differs from “Mukta”9 in being encased as it were within these 36 Tatwams, while the other is free. This sign prepares the way to earthly Adam to Nara. As the emblem of Nara it is properly placed as the seventh sign.

VIII. Vrischika.—It is stated by ancient philosophers that the sun when located in this Rási or sign is called by the name of Vishnu (see the 12th Skandha of Bhágavata). This sign is intended to represent Vishnu. Vishnu literally means that which is expanded—expanded as Viswam or Universe. Properly speaking, Viswam itself is Vishnu (see Sankarácharya’s commentary on Vishnusahasranamam). I have already intimated that Vishnu represents the Swapnávastha or the Dreaming State. The sign in question properly signifies the universe in thought or the universe in the divine conception.

It is properly placed as the sign opposite to Rishabham or Pranava. Analysis from Pranava downwards leads to the Universe of Thought, and synthesis from the latter upwards leads to Pranava (Aum). We have now arrived at the ideal state of the universe previous to its coming into material existence. The expansion of the Vija or primitive germ into the universe is only possible when the 36 “Tatwams”10 are interposed between the Maya and Jivátma. The dreaming state is induced through the instrumentality of these “Tatwams.” it is the existence of these Tatwams that brings Hamsa into existence. The elimination of these Tatwams marks the beginning of the synthesis towards Pranava and Brahmam and converts Hamsa into Sóham. As it is intended to represent the different stages of evolution from Brahmam downwards to the material universe, the three signs Kanya, Tula, and Vrischika are placed in the order in which they now stand as three separate signs.

IX. Dhanus (Sagittarius).—When represented in numbers the name is equivalent to 9, and the division in question is the 9th division counting from Mesha. The sign, therefore, clearly indicates the 9 Brahmas—the 9 Prajápatis who assisted the Demiurgus in constructing the material universe.

X. Makara.—There is some difficulty in interpreting this word; nevertheless it contains within itself the clue to its correct interpretation. The letter Ma is equivalent to number 5, and Kara means hand. Now in Sanskrit Thribhujam means a triangle, bhujam or karam (both are synonymous) being understood to mean a side. So, Makaram or Panchakaram means a Pentagon.11

Now, Makaram is the tenth sign, and the term “Dasadisa” is generally used by Sanskrit writers to denote the faces or sides of the universe. The sign in question is intended to represent the faces of the universe, and indicates that the figure of the universe is bounded by Pentagons. If we take the pentagons as regular pentagons (on the presumption or supposition that the universe is symmetrically constructed) the figure of the material universe will, of course, be a Dodecahedron, the geometrical model imitated by the Demiurgus in constructing the material universe. If Tula was subsequently invented, and if instead of the three signs “Kanyá,” “Tulá,” and “Vrischikam,” there had existed formerly only one sign combining in itself Kanyá and Vrischika, the sign now under consideration was the eighth sign under the old system, and it is a significant fact that Sanskrit writers generally speak also of “Ashtadisa” or eight faces bounding space. It is quite possible that the number of disa might have been altered from 8 to 10 when the formerly existing Virgo-Scorpio was split up into three separate signs.

Again, Kara may be taken to represent the projecting triangles of the five-pointed star. This figure may also be called a kind of regular pentagon (see Todhunter’s “Spherical Trigonometry,” p. 143). If this interpretation is accepted, the Rási or sign in question represents the “microcosm.” But the “microcosm” or the world of thought is really represented by Vrischika. From an objective point of view the “microcosm ” is represented by the human body. Makaram may be taken to represent simultaneously both the microcosm and the macrocosm, as external objects of perception.

In connection with this sign I shall state a few important facts which I beg to submit for the consideration of those who are interested in examining the ancient occult sciences of India. It is generally held by the ancient philosophers that the macrocosm is similar to the microcosm in having a Shula Sariram and a Suksma Sariram. The visible universe is the Sthula Sariram of Viswam; the ancient philosophers held that as a substratum for this visible universe, there is another universe—perhaps we may call it the universe of Astral Light—the real universe of Noumena, the soul as it were of this visible universe. It is darkly hinted in certain passages of the Veda and the Upanishads that this hidden universe of Astral Light is to be represented by an Icosahedron. The connection between an Icosahedron and a Dodecahedron is something very peculiar and interesting, though the figures seem to be so very dissimilar to each other. The connection may be understood by the under-mentioned geometrical construction. Describe a Sphere about an Icosahedron; let perpendiculars be drawn from the centre of the Sphere on its faces and produced to meet the surface of the Sphere. Now, if the points of intersection be joined, a Dodecahedron is formed within the Sphere. By a similar process an Icosahedron may be constructed from a Dodecahedron. (See Todhunter’s “Spherical Trigonometry,” p. 141, art. 193). The figure constructed as above described will represent the universe of matter and the universe of Astral Light as they actually exist. I shall not now, however, proceed to show how the universe of Astral Light may be considered under the symbol of an Icosahedron. I shall only state that this conception of the Aryan philosophers is not to be looked upon as mere “theological twaddle” or as the outcome of wild fancy. The real significance of the conception in question can, I believe, be explained by reference to the psychology and the physical science of the ancients. But I must stop here and proceed to consider the meaning of the remaining two signs.

XI. Kumbha (or Aquarius).—When represented by numbers, the word is equivalent to 14. It can be easily perceived then that the division in question is intended to represent the “Chaturdasa Bhuvanam,” or the 14 lokas spoken of in Sanskrit writings.

XII. Mina (or Pisces).—This word again is represented by 5 when written in numbers, and is evidently intended to convey the idea of Panchamahabhutams or the 5 elements. The sign also suggests that water (not the ordinary water, but the universal solvent of the ancient alchemists) is the most important amongst the said elements.

I have now finished the task which I have set to myself in this article. My purpose is not to explain the ancient theory of evolution itself, but to show the connection between that theory and the Zodiacal divisions. I have herein brought to light but a very small portion of the philosophy imbedded in these signs. The veil that was dexterously thrown over certain portions of the mystery connected with these signs by the ancient philosophers will never be lifted up for the amusement or edification of the uninitiated public.

Now to summarize the facts stated in this article, the contents of the first chapter of the history of this universe are as follows:

1. The self-existent, eternal Brahmam.

2. Pranava (Aum).

3. The androgyne Brahmá, or the bisexual Sephira-Adam Kadmon.

4. The Sacred Tetragram—the four mátrás of Pranava—the four avasthas—the four states of Brahma—the Sacred Dharaka.

5. The five Brahmás—the five Buddhas representing in their totality the Jivátma.

6. The Astral Light—the holy Virgin—the six forces in Nature.

7. The thirty-six Tatwams born of Avidyá.

8. The universe in thought—the Swapna Avastha—the microcosm looked at from a subjective point of view.

9. The nine Prajapatis—the assistants of the Demiurgus.12

10. The shape of the material universe in the mind of the Demiurgus—the DODECAHEDRON.

11. The fourteen lokas.

12. The five elements.

The history of creation and of this world from its beginning up to the present time is composed of seven chapters. The seventh chapter is not yet

TRIPLICANE, MADRAS, September 14, 1881.

The Sishal and Bhukailas Yogis

We are indebted to the kindness of the learned President of the Adi Brahmo Samaji for the following accounts of two Yogis, of whom one performed the extraordinary feats of raising his body by will power, and keeping it suspended in the air without visible support. The Yoga posture for meditation or concentration of the mind upon spiritual things is called Asana. There are various of these modes of sitting, such as Padmasan, etc. etc. Babu Rajnarain Bose translated this narrative from a very old number of the Tatwabodhini Patrika, the Calcutta organ of the Brahmo Samaj. The writer was Babu Akkhaya Kumar Dalta, then editor of the Patrika, of whom Babu Rajnarain speaks in the following high terms—“A very truth-loving and painstaking man; very fond of observing strict accuracy in the details of a description.”


A few years ago, a Deccan Yogi, named Sishal, was seen at Madras, by many Hindus and Englishmen, to raise his Asana, or seat, up into the air. The picture of the Yogi, showing his mode of seating, and other particulars connected with him, may be found in the Saturday Magazine on page 28. His whole body seated in air, only his right hand lightly touched a deer skin, rolled up in the form of a tube, and attached to a brazen rod which was firmly stuck into a wooden board resting on four legs. In this position the Yogi used to perform his japa (mystical meditation), with his eyes half shut. At the time of his ascending to his aerial seat, and also when he descended from it, his disciples used to cover him with a blanket. The Tatwabodhini Patrika, Chaitra, 1768 Sakabda, corresponding to March 1847.


The extraordinary character of the holy man who was brought to Bhukailas, in Kidderpore, about 14 years ago, may still be remembered by many. In the month of Asar, 1754 Sakabda (1834 A. C.), he was brought to Bhukailas from Shirpur, where he was under the charge of Hari Singh, the durwan (porter) of Mr. Jones. He kept his eyes closed, and went without food and drink, for three consecutive days, after which a small quantity of milk was forcibly poured down his throat. he never took any food that was not forced upon him. He seemed always without external consciousness. To remove this condition Dr. Graham applied ammonia to his nostrils; but it only produced tremblings in the body, and did not break his Yoga state. Three days passed before he could be made to speak. He said that his name was Dulla Nabab, and when annoyed, he uttered a single word, from which it was inferred that he was a Punjabi. When he was laid up with gout Dr. Graham attended him, but he refused to take medicine, either in the form of powder or mixture. He was cured of the disease only by the application of ointments and liniments prescribed by the doctor. He died in the month of Chaitra 1755 Sakabda, of a choleric affection.1—The Tatwabodhini Patrika, Chaitra, 1768 Sakabda, corresponding to March, 1847 A. C.




True and False Personality

The title prefixed to the following observations may well have suggested a more metaphysical treatment of the subject than can be attempted on the present occasion. The doctrine of the trinity, or trichotomy of man, which distinguishes soul from spirit, comes to us with such weighty, venerable, and even sacred authority, that we may well be content, for the moment, with confirmations that should be intelligible to all, forbearing the abstruser questions which have divided minds of the highest philosophical capacity. We will not now inquire whether the difference is one of states or of entities; whether the phenomenal or mind consciousness is merely the external condition of one indivisible Ego, or has its origin and nature in an altogether different principle; the Spirit, or immortal part of us, being of Divine birth, while the senses and understanding, with the consciousness—Ahankâra— thereto appertaining, are from an Anima Mundi, or what in the Sankhya philosophy is called Prakriti. My utmost expectations will have been exceeded if it should happen that any considerations here offered should throw even a faint suggestive light upon the bearings of this great problem. It may be that the mere irreconcilability of all that is characteristic of the temporal Ego with the conditions of the superior life—if that can he made apparent—will incline you to regard the latter rather as the Redeemer, that has indeed to be born within us for our salvation and our immortality, than as the inmost, central, and inseparable principle of our phenomenal life. It may be that by the light of such reflections the sense of identity will present no insuperable difficulty to the conception of its contingency, or to the recognition that the mere consciousness which fails to attach itself to a higher principle is no guarantee of an eternal individuality.

It is only by a survey of individuality, regarded as the source of all our affections, thoughts, and actions, that we can realize its intrinsic worthlessness; and only when we have brought ourselves to a real and felt acknowledgment of that fact, can we accept with full understanding those “hard sayings” of sacred authority which bid us “die to ourselves,” and which proclaim the necessity of a veritable new birth. This mystic death and birth is the key-note of all profound religious teaching; and that which distinguishes the ordinary religious mind from spiritual insight is just the tendency to interpret these expressions as merely figurative, or, indeed, to overlook them altogether.

Of all the reproaches which modern Spiritualism, with the prospect it is thought to hold out of an individual temporal immortality, has had to encounter, there is none that we can less afford to neglect than that which represents it as an ideal essentially egotistical and borné. True it is that our critics do us injustice through ignorance of the enlarged views as to the progress of the soul in which the speculations of individual Spiritualists coincide with many remarkable spirit teachings. These are, undoubtedly, a great advance upon popular theological opinions, while some of them go far to satisfy the claim of Spiritualism to be regarded as a religion. Nevertheless, that slight estimate of individuality, as we know it, which in one view too easily allies itself to materialism, is also the attitude of spiritual idealism, and is seemingly at variance with the excessive value placed by Spiritualists on the discovery of our mere psychic survival. The idealist may recognise this survival; but, whether he does so or not, he occupies a post of vantage when he tells us that it is of no ultimate importance. For he, like the Spiritualist who proclaims his “proof palpable of immortality,” is thinking of the mere temporal, self-regarding consciousness—its sensibilities, desires, gratifications, and affections—which are unimportant absolutely, that is to say, their importance is relative solely to the individual. There is, indeed, no more characteristic outbirth of materialism than that which makes a teleological centre of the individual. Ideas have become mere abstractions; the only reality is the infinitely little. Thus utilitarianism can see in the State only a collection of individuals whose “greatest happiness,” mutually limited by nice adjustment to the requirements of “the greatest numbers,” becomes the supreme end of government and law. And it cannot, I think, be pretended that Spiritualists in general have advanced beyond this substitution of a relative for an absolute standard. Their “glad tidings of great joy” are not truly religious. They have regard to the perpetuation in time of that lower consciousness whose manifestations, delights, and activity are in time, and of time alone. Their glorious message is not essentially different from that which we can conceive as brought to us by some great alchemist, who had discovered the secret of conferring upon us and upon our friends a mundane perpetuity of youth and health. Its highest religious claim is that it enlarges the horizon of our opportunities. As such, then, let us hail it with gratitude and relief; but, on peril of our salvation, if I may not say of our immortality, let us not repose upon a prospect which is, at best, one of renewed labours, and trials, and efforts to be free even of that very life whose only value is opportunity.

To estimate the value of individuality, we cannot do better than regard man in his several mundane relations, supposing that either of these might become the central, actuating focus of his being—his “ruling love,” as Swedenborg would call it— displacing his mere egoism, or self-love, thrusting that more to the circumference, and identifying him, so to speak, with that circle of interests to which all his energies and affections relate. Outside this substituted Ego we are to suppose that he has no conscience, no desire, no will. Just as the entirely selfish man views the whole of life, so far as it can really interest him solely in relation to his individual well-being, so our supposed man of a family, of a society, of a Church, or a State, has no eye for any truth or any interest more abstract or more individual than that of which he may be rightly termed the incarnation. History shows approximations to this ideal man. Such a one, for instance, I conceive to have been Loyola; such another, possibly, is Bismarck. Now these men have ceased to be individuals in their own eyes, so far as concerns any value attaching to their own special individualities. They are devotees. A certain “conversion” has been effected, by which from mere individuals they have become “representative” men. And we—the individuals—esteem them precisely in proportion to the remoteness from individualism of the spirit that actuates them. As the circle of interests to which they are “devoted” enlarges—that is to say, as the dross of individualism is purged away—we accord them indulgence, respect, admiration and love. From self to the family, from the family to the sect or society, from the sect or society to the Church (in no denominational sense) and State, there is the ascending scale and widening circle, the successive transitions which make the worth of an individual depend on the more or less complete subversion of his individuality by a more comprehensive soul or spirit. The very modesty which suppresses, as far as possible, the personal pronoun in our addresses to others, testifies to our sense that we are hiding away some utterly insignificant and unworthy thing; a thing that has no business even to be, except in that utter privacy which is rather a sleep and a rest than living. Well, but in the above instances, even those most remote from sordid individuality, we have fallen far short of that ideal in which the very conception of the partial, the atomic, is lost in the abstraction of universal being, transfigured in the glory of a Divine personality. You are familiar with Swedenborg’s distinction between discrete and continuous degrees. Hitherto we have seen how man—the individual—may rise continuously by throwing himself heart and soul into the living interests of the world, and lose his own limitations by adoption of a larger mundane spirit. But still he has but ascended nearer to his own mundane source, that soul of the world, or Prakriti, to which, if I must not too literally insist on it, I may still resort as a convenient figure. To transcend it, he must advance by the discrete degree. No simple “bettering” of the ordinary self, which leaves it alive, as the focus—the French word “foyer” is the more expressive—of his thoughts and actions; not even that identification with higher interests in the world’s plane just spoken of, is, or can progressively become, in the least adequate to the realization of his Divine ideal. This “bettering” of our present nature, it alone being recognized as essential, albeit capable of “improvement,” is a commonplace, and to use a now familiar term a “Philistine,” conception. It is the substitution of the continuous for the discrete degree. It is a compromise with our dear old familiar selves. “And Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.” We know how little acceptable that compromise was to the God of Israel; and no illustration can be more apt than this narrative, which we may well, as we would fain, believe to be rather typical than historical. Typical of that indiscriminate and radical sacrifice, or “vastation,” of our lower nature, which is insisted upon as the one thing needful by all, or nearly all,1 the great religions of the world. No language could seem more purposely chosen to indicate that it is the individual nature itself, and not merely its accidental evils, that has to be abandoned and annihilated. It is not denied that what was spared was good; there is no suggestion of a universal infection of physical or moral evil; it is simply that what is good and useful relatively to a lower state of being must perish with it if the latter is to make way for something better. And the illustration is the more suitable in that the purpose of this paper is not ethical, but points to a metaphysical conclusion, though without any attempt at metaphysical exposition. There is no question here of moral distinctions; they are neither denied nor affirmed. According to the highest moral standard, ‘A’ may be a most virtuous and estimable person. According to the lowest, ‘B’ may be exactly the reverse. The moral interval between the two is within what I have called, following Swedenborg, the “continuous degree.” And perhaps the distinction can be still better expressed by another reference to that Book which we theosophical students do not less regard, because we are disposed to protest against all exclusive pretensions of religious systems. The good man who has, however, not yet attained his “son-ship of God” is “under the law”—that moral law which is educational and preparatory, “the schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,” our own Divine spirit, or higher personality. To conceive the difference between these two states is to apprehend exactly what is here meant by the false, temporal, and the true, eternal personality, and the sense in which the word personality is here intended to be understood. We do not know whether, when that great change has come over us, when that great work2 of our lives has been accomplished—here or hereafter—we shall or shall not retain a sense of identity with our past, and forever discarded selves. In philosophical parlance, the “matter” will have gone, and the very “form” will have been changed. Our transcendental identity with the ‘A’ or ‘B’ that now is3 must depend on that question, already disclaimed in this paper, whether the Divine spirit is our originally central essential being, or is an hypostasis. Now, being “under the law” implies that we do not act directly from our own will, but indirectly, that is, in willing obedience to another will. The will from which we should naturally act—our own will—is of course to be understood not as mere volition, but as our nature—our “ruling love,” which makes such and such things agreeable to us, and others the reverse. As “under the law,” this nature is kept in suspension, and because it is suspended only as to its activity and manifestation, and by no means abrogated, is the law—the substitution of a foreign will—necessary for us. Our own will or nature is still central; that which we obey by effort and resistance to ourselves is more circumferential or hypostatic. Constancy in this obedience and resistance tends to draw the circumferential will more and more to the centre, till there ensues that “explosion,” as St. Martin called it, by which our natural will is for ever dispersed and annihilated by contact with the divine, and the latter henceforth becomes our very own. Thus has “the schoolmaster” brought us unto “Christ,” and if by “Christ” we understand no historically divine individual, but the logos, word, or manifestation of God in us—then we have, I believe, the essential truth that was taught in the Vedanta, by Kapila, by Buddha, by Confucius, by Plato, and by Jesus. There is another presentation of possibly the same truth, for a reference to which I am indebted to our brother J. W. Farquhar. It is from Swedenborg, in the “Apocalypse Explained,” No. 527:—“Every man has an inferior or exterior mind, and a mind superior or interior. These two minds are altogether distinct. By the inferior mind man is in the natural world together with men there; but by the superior mind he is in the spiritual world with the angels there. These two minds are so distinct that man so long as he lives in the world does not know what is performing within himself in his superior mind; but when he becomes a spirit, which is immediately after death, he does not know what is performing in his mind.” The consciousness of the “superior mind,” as the result of mere separation from the earthly body, certainly does not suggest that sublime condition which implies separation from so much more than the outer garment of flesh, but otherwise the distinction between the two lives, or minds, seems to correspond with that now under consideration.

What is it that strikes us especially about this substitution of the divine-human for the human-natural personality? Is it not the loss of individualism? (Individualism, pray observe, not individuality.) There are certain sayings of Jesus which have probably offended many in their hearts, though they may not have dared to acknowledge such a feeling to themselves: “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” and those other disclaimers of special ties and relationships which mar the perfect sympathy of our reverence. There is something awful and incomprehensible to us in this repudiation of individualism, even in its most amiable relations. But it is in the Aryan philosophies that we see this negation of all that we associate with individual life most emphatically and explicitly insisted on. It is, indeed, the impossibility of otherwise than thus negatively characterizing the soul that has attained Moksha (deliverance from bonds) which has caused the Hindu consummation to be regarded as the loss of individuality and conscious existence. It is just because we cannot easily dissociate individuality from individualism that we turn from the sublime conception of primitive philosophy as from what concerns us as little as the ceaseless activity and germination in other brains of thought once thrown off and severed from the thinking source, which is the immortality promised by Mr. Frederick Harrison to the select specimens of humanity whose thoughts have any reproductive power. It is not a mere preference of nothingness, or unconscious absorption, to limitation that inspires the intense yearning of the Hindu mind for Nirvana. Even in the Upanishads there are many evidences of a contrary belief, while in the Sankhya the aphorisms of Kapila unmistakably vindicate the individuality of soul (spirit). Individual consciousness is maintained, perhaps infinitely intensified, but its “matter” is no longer personal. Only try to realize what “freedom from desire,” the favourite phrase in which individualism is negated in these systems, implies Even in that form of devotion which consists in action, the soul is warned in the Bhagavad-Gita that it must be indifferent to results.

Modern Spiritualism itself testifies to something of the same sort. Thus we are told by one of its most gifted and experienced champions, “Sometimes the evidence will come from an impersonal source, from some instructor who has passed through the plane on which individuality is demonstrable.” (M. A. Oxon.), “Spirit Identity,” p. 7.) Again, “And if he” (the investigator) “penetrates far enough, he will find himself in a region for which his present embodied state unfits him: a region in which the very individuality is merged, and the highest and subtlest truths are not locked within one breast, but emanate from representative companies whose spheres of life are interblended.” (Id., p. 15.) By this “interblending” is of course meant only a perfect sympathy and community of thought; and I should doubtless misrepresent the author quoted were I to claim an entire identity of the idea he wishes to convey, and that now under consideration. Yet what, after all, is sympathy but the loosening of that hard “astringent” quality (to use Böhme’s phrase) wherein individualism consists? And just as in true sympathy, the partial suppression of individualism and of what is distinctive, we experience a superior delight and intensity of being, so it may be that in parting with all that shuts us up in the spiritual penthouse of an Ego—all, without exception or reserve—we may for the first time know what true life is, and what are its ineffable privileges. Yet it is not on this ground that acceptance can be hoped for the conception of immortality here crudely and vaguely presented ill contrast to that bourgeois eternity of individualism and the family affections, which is probably the great charm of Spiritualism to the majority of its proselytes. It is doubtful whether the things that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,” have ever taken stronghold of the imagination, or reconciled it to the loss of all that is definitely associated with the Joy and movement of living. Not as consummate bliss can the dweller on the lower plane presume to command that transcendent life. At the utmost he can but echo the revelation that came to the troubled mind in “Sartor Resartus,” “A man may do without happiness, and instead thereof find blessedness.” It is no sublimation of hope, but the necessities of thought that compel us to seek the condition of true being and immortality elsewhere than in the satisfactions of individualism. True personality can only subsist in consciousness by participation of that of which we can only say that it is the very negation of individuality in any sense in which individuality can be conceived by us. What is the content or “matter” of consciousness we cannot define, save by vaguely calling it ideal. But we can say that in that region individual interests and concerns will find no place. Nay, more, we can affirm that only then has the influx of the new life a free channel when the obstructions of individualism are already removed. Hence the necessity of the mystic death, which is as truly a death as that which restores our physical body to the elements. “Neither I am, nor is aught mine, nor do I exist,” a passage which has been well explained by a Hindu Theosophist (Peary Chand Mittra), as meaning “that when the spiritual state is arrived at, I and mine, which belong to the finite mind, cease, and the soul, living in the universum and participating in infinity with God, manifests its infinite state.” I cannot refrain from quoting the following passage from the same instructive writer:

Every human being has a soul which, while not separable from the brain or nerves, is mind or jivátmà, or sentient soul, but when regenerated or spiritualized by yoga, it is free from bondage and manifests the divine essence. It rises above all phenomenal states—joy, sorrow, grief, fear, hope, and in fact all states resulting in pain or pleasure, and becomes blissful, realizing immortality, infinitude and felicity of wisdom within itself. The sentient soul is nervous, sensational, emotional, phenomenal, and impressional. It constitutes the natural life and is finite. The soul and the non-soul are thus the two landmarks. What is non-soul is prakriti, or created. It is not the lot of every one to know what soul is, and therefore millions live and die possessing minds cultivated in intellect and feeling, but not raised to the soul state. In proportion as one’s soul is emancipated from prakriti or sensuous bondage, in that proportion his approximation to the soul state is attained; and it is this that constitutes disparities in the intellectual, moral, and religious culture of human beings and their consequent approximation to God.—Spiritual Stray Leaves, Calcutta, 1879.

He also cites some words of Fichte, which prove that the like conclusion is reached in the philosophy of Western idealism: “The real spirit which comes to itself in human consciousness is to be regarded as an impersonal pneuma—universal reason, nay, as the spirit of God Himself; and the good of man’s whole development, therefore, can be no other than to substitute the universal for the individual consciousness.”

That there may be, and are affirmed to be, intermediate stages, states, or discrete degrees, will, of course, be understood. The aim of this paper has been to call attention to the abstract condition of the immortalized consciousness; negatively it is true, but it is on this very account more suggestive of practical applications. The connection of the Theosophical Society with the Spiritualist movement is so intimately sympathetic, that I hope one of these may he pointed out without offence. It is that immortality cannot he phenomenally demonstrated. What I have called psychic survival can be, and probably is. But immortality is the attainment of a state, and that state the very negation of phenomenal existence. Another consequence refers to the direction our culture should take. We have to compose ourselves to death. Nothing less. We are each of us a complex of desires, passions, interests, modes of thinking and feeling, opinions, prejudices, judgment of others, likings and dislikings, affections, aims public and private. These things, and whatever else constitutes, the recognizable content of our present temporal individuality, are all in derogation of our ideal of impersonal being—saving consciousness, the manifestation of being. In some minute, imperfect, relative, and almost worthless sense we may do right in many of our judgments, and be amiable in many of our sympathies and affections. We cannot be sure even of this. Only people unhabituated to introspection and self-analysis are quite sure of it. These are ever those who are loudest in their censures, and most dogmatic in their opinionative utterances. In some coarse, rude fashion they are useful, it may be indispensable, to the world’s work, which is not ours, save in a transcendental sense and operation. We have to strip ourselves of all that, and to seek perfect passionless tranquillity. Then we may hope to die. Meditation, if it be deep, and long, and frequent enough, will teach even our practical Western mind to understand the Hindu mind in its yearning for Nirvana. One infinitesimal atom of the great conglomerate of humanity, who enjoys the temporal, sensual life, with its gratifications and excitements, as much as most, will testify with unaffected sincerity that he would rather be annihilated altogether than remain for ever what he knows himself to be, or even recognizably like it. And he is a very average moral specimen. I have heard it said, “The world’s life and business would come to an end, there would be an end to all its healthy activity, an end of commerce, arts, manufactures, social intercourse, government, law, and science, if we were all to devote ourselves to the practice of Yoga, which is pretty much what your ideal comes to.” And the criticism is perfectly just and true. Only I believe it does not go quite far enough. Not only the activities of the world, but the phenomenal world itself, which is upheld in consciousness, would disappear or take new, more interior, more living, and more significant forms, at least for humanity, if the consciousness of humanity was itself raised to a superior state. Readers of St. Martin, and of that impressive book of the late James Hinton, “Man and his Dwelling-place,” especially if they have also by chance been students of the idealistic philosophies, will not think this suggestion extravagant. If all the world were Yogis, the world would have no need of those special activities, the ultimate end and purpose of which, by-the-by, our critic would find it not easy to define. And if only a few withdraw, the world can spare them. Enough of that.

Only let us not talk of this ideal of impersonal, universal being in individual consciousness as an unverified dream. Our sense and impatience of limitations are the guarantees that they are not final and insuperable. Whence is this power of standing outside myself, of recognizing the worthlessness of the pseudo-judgments, of the prejudices with their lurid colouring of passion, of the temporal interests, of the ephemeral appetites, of all the sensibilities of egoism, to which I nevertheless surrender myself so that they indeed seem myself? Through and above this troubled atmosphere I see a being, pure, passionless, rightly measuring the proportions and relations of things, for whom there is, properly speaking, no present, with its phantasms, falsities, and half-truths; who has nothing personal in the sense of being opposed to the whole of related personalities: who sees the truth rather than struggles logically towards it, and truth of which I can at present form no conception; whose activities are unimpeded by intellectual doubt, unperverted by moral depravity, and who is indifferent to results, because he has not to guide his conduct by calculation of them, or by any estimate of their value. I look up to him with awe, because in being passionless he sometimes seems to me to be without love. Yet I know that this is not so; only that his love is diffused by its range, and elevated in abstraction beyond my gaze and comprehension. And I see in this being my ideal, my higher, my only true, in a word, my immortal self.



Ideal woman is the most beautiful work of the evolution of forms (in our days she is very often only a beautiful work of art). A beautiful woman is the most attractive, charming, and lovely being that a man can imagine. I never saw a male being who could lay any claims to manly vigour, strength or courage, who was not an admirer of woman. Only a profligate, a coward or a sneak would hate women; a hero and a man admires woman, and is admired by her.

Women’s love belongs to a complete man. Then she smiles on him his human nature becomes aroused, his animal desires like little children begin to clamour for bread, they do not want to be starved, they want to satisfy their hunger. His whole soul flies towards the lovely being, which attracts him with almost irresistible force, and if his higher principles, his divine spirit, is not powerful enough to restrain him, his soul follows the temptations of his physical body. Once again the animal nature has subdued the divine. Woman rejoices in her victory, and man is ashamed of his weakness; and instead of being a representation of strength, he becomes an object of pity.

To be truly powerful a man must retain his power and never for a moment lose it. To lose it is to surrender his divine nature to his animal nature; to restrain his desires and retain his power, is to assert his divine right, and to become more than a man—a god.

Eliphas Levi says: “To be an object of attraction for all women, you must desire none;” and every one who has had a little experience of his own must know that he is right. Woman wants what she cannot get, and what she can get she does not want. Perhaps it is to the man endowed with spiritual power, that the Bible refers, when it says: “To him who has much, more shall be given, and from him who has little, that little shall be taken away.”

To become perfect it is not required that we should be born without any animal desires. Such a person would not be much above an idiot; he would be rightly despised and laughed at by every true man and woman; but we must obtain the power to control our desires, instead of being controlled by them; and here lies the true philosophy of temptation.

If a man has no higher aim in life than to eat and drink and propagate his species; if all his aspirations and desires are centred in a wish of living a happy life in the bosom of his family; there can be no wrong if he follows the dictates of his nature and is satisfied with his lot. When he dies, his family will mourn, his friends will say he was a good fellow; they will give him a first-class funeral, and they will perhaps write on his tombstone something like what I once saw in a certain churchyard:

Here is the grave of John McBride,
He lived, got married, and died.

And that will be the end of Mr. John McBride, until in another incarnation he will wake up again perhaps as Mr. John Smith, or Ramchandra Row, or Patrick O’Flannegan, to find himself on much the same level as he was before.

But if a man has higher aims and objects in life, if he wants to avoid an endless cycle of re-incarnations, if he wants to become a master of his destiny, then must he first become a master of himself. How can he expect to be able to control the external forces of Nature, if he cannot control the few little natural forces that reside within his own insignificant body?

To do this, it is not necessary that a man should run away from his wife and family, and leave them uncared for. Such a man would commence his spiritual career with an act of injustice,—an act that like Banquo’s ghost would always haunt him and hinder him in his further progress. If a man has taken upon himself responsibilities, he is bound to fulfill them, and an act of cowardice would be a bad beginning for a work that requires courage.

A celibate, who has no temptation and who has no one to care for but himself, has undoubtedly superior advantages for meditation and study. Being away from all irritating influences, he can lead what may be called a selfish life; because he looks out only for his own spiritual interest; but he has little opportunity to develop his will-power by resisting temptations of every kind. But the man who is surrounded by the latter, and is every day and every hour under the necessity of exercising his will-power to resist their surging violence, will, if he rightly uses these powers, become strong; he may not have as much opportunity for study as the celibate, being more engrossed in material cares; but when he rises up to a higher state in his next incarnation, his will-power will be more developed, and he will be in the possession of the password, which is CONTINENCE.

A slave cannot become a commander, until after he becomes free. A man who is subject to his own animal desires, cannot command the animal nature of others. A muscle becomes developed by its use, an instinct or habit is strengthened in proportion as it is permitted to rule, a mental power becomes developed by practice, and the principle of will grows strong by exercise; and this is the use of temptations. To have strong passions and to overcome them, makes man a hero. The sexual instinct is the strongest of all, and he who vanquishes it, becomes a god. The human soul admires a beautiful form, and is therefore an idolater.

The human spirit adores a principle, and is the true worshipper.

Marriage is the union of the male spirit with the female soul for the purpose of propagating the species; but if in its place there is only a union of a male and a female body, then marriage becomes merely a brutal act, which lowers man and woman, not to the level of animals but below them; because animals are restricted to certain seasons for the exercise of their procreative powers; while man, being a reasonable being, has it in his power to use or abuse them at all times.

But how many marriages do we find that are really spiritual and not based on beauty of form or other considerations? How soon after the wedding-day do they become disgusted with each other? What is the cause of this? A man and a woman may marry and their characters may differ widely. They may have different tastes, different opinions and different inclinations. All those differences may disappear, and will probably disappear; because by living together they become accustomed to each other, and become equalized in time. Each influences the other, and as a man may grow fond of a pet snake, whose presence at first horrified him, so a man may put up with a disagreeable partner and become fond of her in course of time.

But if the man allows full liberty to his animal passions, and exercises his “legal rights” without restraint, these animal cravings which first called so piteously for gratification, will soon be gorged, and flying away laugh at the poor fool who nursed them in his breast. The wife will come to know that her husband is a coward, because she sees him squirm under the lash of his animal passions; and as woman loves strength and power, so in proportion as he loses his love, will she lose her confidence. He will look upon her as a burden, and she will look upon him in disgust as a brute. Conjugal happiness will have departed, and misery, divorce or death will be the end.

The remedy for all these evils is continence, and it has been our object to show its necessity, for it was the object of this article.


Zoroastrianism on the Septenary Constitution of Man

Many of the esoteric doctrines given out through the Theosophical Society reveal a spirit akin to that of the older religions of the East, especially the Vedic and the Zendic. Leaving aside the former, I propose to point out by a few instances the close resemblance which the doctrines of the old Zendic Scriptures, as far as they are now preserved, bear to these recent teachings.

Any ordinary Parsi, while reciting his daily Niyashes, Gehs and Yashts, provided he yields to the curiosity of looking into the meanings of what he recites, will, with a little exertion, perceive how the same ideas, only clothed in a more intelligible and comprehensive garb, are reflected in these teachings. The description of the septenary constitution of man found in the 54th chapter of the Yasna, one of the most authoritative books of the Mazdiasnian religion, shows the identity of the doctrines of Avesta and the esoteric philosophy, indeed, as a Mazdiasnian, I felt quite ashamed that, having such undeniable and unmistakable evidence before their eyes, the Zoroastrians of the present day should not avail themselves of the opportunity offered of throwing light upon their now entirely misunderstood and misinterpreted Scriptures by the assistance and under the guidance of the Theosophical Society. If Zend scholars and students of Avesta would only care to study and search for themselves, they would, perhaps, find to assist them, men who are in possession of the right and only key to the true esoteric wisdom; men, who would be willing to guide and help them to reach the true and hidden meaning, and to supply them with the missing links that have resulted in such painful gaps as to leave the meaning meaningless, and to create in the mind of the perplexed student doubts that finally culminate in a thorough unbelief in his own religion. Who knows but they may find some of their own co-religionists, who, aloof from the world, have to this day preserved the glorious truths of their once mighty religion, and who, hidden in the recesses of solitary mountains and unknown silent caves, are still in possession of; and exercising, mighty powers, the heirloom of the ancient Magi. Our Scriptures say that ancient Mobeds were Yogis, who had the power of making themselves simultaneously visible at different places, even though hundreds of miles apart, and also that they could heal the sick and work that which would now appear to us miraculous. All this was considered facts but two or three centuries back, as no reader of old books (mostly Persian) is unacquainted with, or will disbelieve a priori unless his mind is irretrievably biassed by modern secular education. The story about the Mobed and Emperor Akbar and of the latter’s conversion, is a well-known historical fact, requiring no proof.

I will first of all quote side by side the two passages referring to the septenary nature of man as I find them in our Scriptures and the THEOSOPHIST:

Sub-divisions of septenary man according to the Occultists. Sub-divisions of septenary man according to Yasna (chap. 54, para. I).
1. The Physical body, composed wholly of matter in its grossest and most tangible form. 1. Tanwasi.e., body (the self ) that consists of bones—grossest form of matter.
2. The Vital principle—(or Jiva)—a form of force indestructible, and when disconnected with one set of atoms, becoming attracted immediately by others. 2. Ushtanas—Vital heat (or force).
3. The Astral body (Linga-sharira) composed of highly etherealized matter; in its habitual passive state, the perfect but very shadowy duplicate of the body; its activity, consolidation and form depending entirely on the Kama-rupa. 3. Keherpas—Aërial form, the airy mould, (Per. Kaleb).
4. The Astral shape (Kama-rupa or body of desire, a principle defining the configuration of —— 4. Tevishis—Will, or where sentient consciousness is formed, also fore-knowledge.
5. The animal or Physical intelligence or Consciousness or Ego, analogous to, though proportionally higher in the senses or the animal degree than the reason, instinct, memory, imagination etc., existing in the higher animals. 5. Baodhas (in Sanskrit, Buddhi)—Body of physical consciousness, perception by the senses or animal soul.
6. The Higher or Spiritual intelligence or consciousness, or spiritual Ego, in which mainly resides the sense of consciousness in the perfect man, though the lower dimmer animal consciousness co-exists in No. 5. 6. Urawanem (Per. Rawan)—Soul, that which gets its reward or punishment after death.
7. The Spirit—an emanation from the ABSOLUTE uncreated; eternal; a state rather than a being. 7. Frawashem or Farohar—Spirit (the guiding energy which is with every man, is absolutely independent, and, without mixing with any worldly object, leads man to good. The spark of’ divinity in every being).

The above is given in the Avesta as follows—

“We declare and positively make known this (that) we offer (our) entire property (which is) the body (the self consisting of) bones (tanwas), vital heat (ushtanas), aërial form (keherpas), knowledge (tevishis), consciousness (baodhas), soul (urwanem), and spirit (frawashem), to the prosperous, truth-coherent (and) pure Gathas (prayers).”

The ordinary Gujarathi translation differs from Spiegel’s, and this latter differs very slightly from what is here given. Yet in the present translation there has been made no addition to, or omission from, the original wording of the Zend text. The grammatical construction also has been preserved intact. The only difference, therefore, between the current translations and the one here given is that ours is in accordance with the modern corrections of philological research which make it more intelligible, and the idea perfectly clear to the reader.

The word translated “aërial form” has come down to us without undergoing any change in the meaning. It is the modern Persian word kaleb, which means a mould, a shape into which a thing is cast, to take a certain form and features. The next word is one about which there is a great difference of opinion. It is by some called strength, durability, i.e., that power which gives tenacity to and sustains the nerves. Others explain it as that quality in a man of rank and position which makes him perceive the result of certain events (causes), and thus helps him in being prepared to meet them. This meaning is suggestive, though we translate it as knowledge, or foreknowledge rather, with the greatest diffidence. The eighth word is quite clear. That inward feeling which tells a man that he knows this or that, that he has or can do certain things—is perception and consciousness. It is the inner conviction, knowledge and its possession. The ninth word is again one which has retained its meaning and has been in use up to the present day. The reader will at once recognize that it is the origin of tile modern word Rawan. It is (metaphorically) the king, the conscious motor or agent in man. It is that something which depends upon and is benefited or injured by the foregoing attributes. We say depends upon, because its progress entirely consists in the development of those attributes. If they are neglected, it becomes weak and degenerated, and disappears. If they ascend on the moral and spiritual scale, it gains strength and vigour and becomes more blended than ever to the Divine essence—the seventh principle. But how does it become attracted toward its monad? The tenth word answers the question. This is the Divine essence in man. But this is only the irresponsible minister (this completes the metaphor). The real master is the king, the spiritual soul. It must have the willingness and power to see and follow the course pointed out by the pure spirit. The vizir’s business is only to represent a point of attraction, towards which the king should turn. It is for the king to see and act accordingly for the glory of his own self. The minister or spirit can neither compel nor constrain. It inspires and electrifies into action; but to benefit by the inspiration, to take advantage of it, is left to the option of the spiritual soul.

If, then, the Avesta contains such a passage, it must fairly be admitted that its writers knew the whole doctrine concerning spiritual man. We cannot suppose that the ancient Mazdiasnians, the Magi, wrote this short passage, without inferring from it, at the same time, that they were thoroughly conversant with the whole of the occult theory about man. And it looks very strange indeed, that modern Theosophists should now preach to us the very same doctrines that must have been known and taught thousands of years ago by the Mazdiasnians,—the passage is quoted from one of their oldest writings. And since they propound the very same ideas, the meaning of which has well-nigh been lost even to our most learned Mobeds, they ought to be credited at least with some possession of a knowledge, the key to which has been revealed to them, and lost to us, and which opens the door to the meaning of those hitherto inexplicable sentences and doctrines in our old writings, about which we are still, and will go on, groping in the dark, unless we listen to what they have to tell us about them.

To show that the above is not a solitary instance, but that the Avesta contains this idea in many other places, I will give another paragraph which contains the same doctrine, though in a more condensed form than the one just given. Let the Parsi reader turn to Yàsna, chapter 26, and read the sixth paragraph, which runs as follows:

“We praise the life (ahum), knowledge (daenam), consciousness (baodhas), soul (urwanem), and spirit (frawashem) of the first in religion, the first teachers and hearers (learners), the holy men and holy women who were the protectors of purity here (in this world).”

Here the whole man is spoken of as composed of five parts, as under:

1. Ahum Existence, Life. it includes { 1. The Physical Body.
2. The Vital Principle.
3. The Astral Body.
2. Daenam—Knowledge. 4. The Astral shape or body of desire.
3. Baodhas—Consciousness. 5. The Animal or physical intelligence or consciousness or Ego.
4. Urwanem—Soul. 6. The Higher or Spiritual intelligence or consciousness, or Spiritual Ego.
5. Frawashem—Spirit. 7. The Spirit.

In this description the first triple group—viz., the bones (or the gross matter), the vital force which keeps them together, and the ethereal body, arc included in one and called Existence, Life. Tile second part stands for the fourth principle of the septenary man, as denoting the configuration of his knowledge or desires.1 Then the three, consciousness (or animal soul), (spiritual) soul, and the pure Spirit are the same as in the first quoted passage. Why are these four mentioned as distinct from each other and not consolidated like the first part? The sacred writings explain this by saying that on death the first of these five parts disappears and perishes sooner or later in the earth’s atmosphere. The gross elementary matter (the shell) has to run within the earth’s attraction; so the ahum separates from the higher portions and is lost. The second (i.e., the fourth of the septenary group) remains, but not with the spiritual soul. It continues to hold its place in the vast storehouse of the universe. And it is this second daenam which stands before the (spiritual) soul in the form of a beautiful maiden or an ugly hag. That which brings this daenam within the sight of the (spiritual) soul is the third part (i.e., the fifth of the septenary group), the baodhas. Or in other words, the (spiritual) soul has with it, or in it, the true consciousness by which it can view the experiences of its physical career. So this consciousness, this power or faculty which brings the recollection, is always with, in other words, is a part and parcel of, the soul itself; hence, its not mixing with any other part, and hence its existence after the physical death of man.2


Brahmanism on the Sevenfold Principle in Man

It is now very difficult to say what was the real ancient Aryan doctrine. If an inquirer were to attempt to answer it by an analysis and comparison of all the various systems of esotericism prevailing in India, he will soon be lost in a maze of obscurity and uncertainty. No comparison between our real Brahmanical and the Tibetan esoteric doctrines will be possible unless one ascertains the teachings of that so-called “Aryan doctrine,”. . . . . and fully comprehends the whole range of the ancient Aryan philosophy. Kapila’s “Sankhya,” Patanjali’s “Yog philosophy,” the different systems of “Saktaya” philosophy, the various Agamas and Tantras are but branches of it. There is a doctrine, though, which is their real foundation, and which is sufficient to explain the secrets of these various systems of philosophy and harmonize their teachings. It probably existed long before the Vedas were compiled, and it was studied by our ancient Rishis in connection with the Hindu scriptures. It is attributed to one mysterious personage called Maha.1 . . . .

The Upanishads and such portions of the Vedas as are not chiefly devoted to the public ceremonials of the ancient Aryans are hardly intelligible without some knowledge of that doctrine. Even the real significance of the grand ceremonials referred to in the Vedas will not be perfectly apprehended without its light being thrown upon them. . . . . The Vedas were perhaps compiled mainly for the use of the priests assisting at public ceremonies, but the grandest conclusions of our real secret doctrine are therein mentioned. I am informed by persons competent to judge of the matter, that the Vedas have a distinct dual meaning—one expressed by the literal sense of the words, the other indicated by the metre and the swara (intonation), which are, as it were the life of the Vedas. . . . . Learned Pundits and philologists of course deny that swara has anything to do with philosophy or ancient esoteric doctrines; but the mysterious connection between swara and light is one of its most profound secrets.

Now, it is extremely difficult to show whether the Tibetans derived their doctrine from the ancient Rishis of India, or the ancient Brahmans learned their occult science from the adepts of Tibet; or, again, whether the adepts of both countries professed originally the same doctrine and derived it from a common source. [See Appendix, Note I.] If you were to go to the Sramana Balagula, and question some of the Jain Pundits there about the authorship of the Vedas and the origin of the Brahmanical esoteric doctrine, they would probably tell you that the Vedas were composed by Rakshasas2 or Daityas, and that the Brahmans had derived their secret knowledge from them.3 Do these assertions mean that the Vedas and the Brahmanical esoteric teachings had their origin in the lost Atlantis—the continent that once occupied a considerable portion of the expanse of the Southern and the Pacific oceans? The assertion in “Isis Unveiled,” that Sanskrit was the language of the inhabitants of the said continent, may induce one to suppose that the Vedas had probably their origin there, wherever else might be the birthplace of the Aryan esotericism.4 [See Appendix, Note II.] But the real esoteric doctrine, as well as the mystic allegorical philosophy of the Vedas, were derived from another source again, whatever that may be—perchance from the divine inhabitants (gods) of the sacred island which once existed in the sea that covered in days of old the sandy tract now called Gobi Desert. However that may be, the knowledge of the occult powers of Nature possessed by the inhabitants of the lost Atlantis was learnt by the ancient adepts of India, and was appended by them to the esoteric doctrine taught by the residents of the sacred island.5 [See Appendix, Note III.] The Tibetan adepts, however, have not accepted this addition to their esoteric doctrine; and it is in this respect that one should expect to find a difference between the two doctrines.6

The Brahmanical occult doctrine probably contains everything that was taught about the powers of Nature and their laws, either in the mysterious island of the North or in the equally mysterious continent of the South. And if you mean to compare the Aryan and the Tibetan doctrines as regards their teachings about the occult powers of Nature, you must beforehand examine all the classifications of these powers, their laws and manifestations, and the real connotations of the various names assigned to them in the Aryan doctrine. Here are some of the classifications contained in the Brahmanical system:

I. As appertaining to Parabrahmam and existing in the MACROCOSM.

II. As appertaining to man and existing in the MICROCOSM.

III. For the purposes of d Taraka Yog or Pranava Yog.

IV. For the purposes of Sankhya Yog (where they are, as it were, the inherent attributes of Prakriti).

V. For the purposes of Hata Yog.

VI. For the purposes of Koula Agama.

VII. For the purposes of Sákta Agama.

VIII. For the purposes of Siva Aqama.

IX. For the purposes of Sreechakram (the Sreechakram referred to in “Isis Unveiled” is not the real esoteric Sreechakram of the ancient adepts of Aryavarta).7

X. In Atharvena Veda, etc.

In all these classifications subdivisions have been multiplied indefinitely by conceiving new combinations of the Primary Powers in different proportions. But I must now drop this subject, and proceed to consider the “Fragments of Occult Truth” (since embodied in “Esoteric Buddhism”).

I have carefully examined it, and find that the results arrived at (in the Buddhist doctrine) do not differ much from the conclusions of our Aryan philosophy, though our mode of stating the arguments may differ in form. I shall now discuss the question from my own standpoint, though, following, for facility of comparison and convenience of discussion, the sequence of classification of the seven-fold entities or principles constituting man which is adopted in the “Fragments.” The questions raised for discussion are (1) whether the disembodied spirits of human beings (as they are called by Spiritualists) appear in the séance-rooms and elsewhere; and (2) whether the manifestations taking place are produced wholly or partly through their agency.

It is hardly possible to answer these two questions satisfactorily unless the meaning intended to be conveyed by the expression “disembodied spirits of human beings” be accurately defined. The words spiritualism and spirit are very misleading. Unless English writers in general, and Spiritualists in particular, first ascertain clearly the connotation they mean to assign to the word spirit, there will be no end of confusion, and the real nature of these so-called spiritualistic phenomena and their modus occurrendi can never be clearly defined. Christian writers generally speak of only two entities in man—the body, and the soul or spirit (both seeming to mean the same thing to them). European philosophers generally speak of body and mind, and argue that soul or spirit cannot be anything else than mind. They are of opinion that any belief in lingasariram8 is entirely unphilosophical. These views are certainly incorrect, and are based on unwarranted assumptions as to the possibilities of Nature, and on an imperfect understanding of its laws. I shall now examine (from the standpoint of the Brahmanical esoteric doctrine) the spiritual constitution of man, the various entities or principles existing in him, and ascertain whether either of those entities entering into his composition can appear on earth after his death, and if so, what it is that so appears.

Professor Tyndall in his excellent papers on what he calls the “Germ Theory,” comes to the following conclusions as the result of a series of well-planned experiments:—Even in a very small volume of space there are myriads of protoplasmic germs floating in ether. If, for instance, say water (clear water) is exposed to them, and if they fall into it, some form of life or other will be evolved out of them. Now, what are the agencies for the bringing of this life into existence? Evidently—

I. The water, which is the field, so to say, for the growth of life.

II. The protoplasmic germ, out of which life or a living organism is to be evolved or developed. And lastly—

III. The power, energy, force, or tendency which springs into activity at the touch or combination of the protoplasmic germ and the water, and which evolves or develops life and its natural attributes.

Similarly, there are three primary causes which bring the human being into existence. I shall call them, for the purpose of discussion, by the following names:

(1) Parabrahmam, the Universal Spirit.

(2) Sakti, the crown of the astral light, combining in itself all the powers of Nature.

(3) Prakriti, which in its original or primary shape is represented by Akasa. (Really every form of matter is finally reducible to Akasa.)9

It is ordinarily stated that Prakriti or Akasa is the Kshetram, or the basis which corresponds to water in the example we have taken: Brahmam the germ, and Sakti, the power or energy that comes into existence at their union or contact.10

But this is not the view which the Upanishads take of the question. According to them, Brahamam [See Appendix, Note IV.] is the Kshetram or basis, Akasa or Prakriti, the germ or seed, and Sakti, the power evolved by their union or contact. And this is the real scientific, philosophical mode of stating the case.

Now, according to the adepts of ancient Aryavarta, seven principles are evolved out of these three primary entities. Algebra teaches us that the number of combinations of n things, taken one at a time, two at a time, three at a time, and so forth = 2n – 1.

Applying this formula to the present case, the number of entities evolved from different combinations of these three primary causes amounts to 23 – 1 = 8 – 1 = 7.

As a general rule, whenever seven entities are mentioned in the ancient occult science of India, in any connection whatsoever, you must suppose that those seven entities came into existence from three primary entities; and that these three entities, again, are evolved out of a single entity or MONAD. To take a familiar example, the seven coloured rays in the solar ray are evolved out of three primary coloured rays; and the three primary colours coexist with the four secondary colours in the solar rays. Similarly, the three primary entities which brought man into existence co-exist in him with the four secondary entities which arose from different combinations of the three primary entities.

Now these seven entities, which in their totality constitute man, are as follows. I shall enumerate them in the order adopted in the “Fragments,” as far as the two orders (the Brahmanical and the Tibetan) coincide:

Corresponding names in Esoteric Buddhism.

I. Prakriti. Sthulasariram (Physical Body).
II. The entity evolved out of the combination of Prakriti and Sakti. Sukshmasariram or Lingasariram (Astral Body).
III. Sakti. Kamarupa (the Perispirit).
IV. The entity evolved out of the combination of Brahmam, Sakti and Prakriti. Jiva (Life-Soul).
V. The entity evolved out of the combination of Brahmam and Prakriti. Physical Intelligence (or animal soul).
VI. The entity evolved out of the combination of Brahmam and Sakti. Spiritual Intelligence (or Soul).
VII. Brahmam. The emanation from the ABSOLUTE, etc. (or pure spirit.)

Before proceeding to examine these nature of these seven entities, a few general explanations are indispensably necessary.

I. The secondary principles arising out of the combination of primary principles are quite different in their nature from the entities out of whose combination they came into existence. The combinations in question are not of the nature of mere mechanical juxtapositions, as it were. They do not even correspond to chemical combinations. Consequently no valid inferences as regards the nature of the combinations in question can be drawn by analogy from the nature [variety?] of these combinations.

II. The general proposition, that when once a cause is removed its effect vanishes, is not universally applicable. Take, for instance, the following example:—If you once communicate a certain amount of momentum to a ball, velocity of a particular degree in a particular direction is the result. Now, the cause of this motion ceases to exist when the instantaneous sudden impact or blow which conveyed the momentum is completed; but according to Newton’s first law of motion, the ball will continue to move on for ever and ever, with undiminished velocity in the same direction, unless the said motion is altered, diminished, neutralized, or counteracted by extraneous causes. Thus, if the ball stops, it will not be on account of the absence of the cause of its motion, but in consequence of the existence of extraneous causes which produce the said result.

Again, take the instance of subjective phenomena.

Now the presence of this ink-bottle before me is producing in me, or in my mind, a mental representation of its form, volume, colour and so forth. The bottle in question may be removed, but still its mental picture may continue to exist. here, again, you see, the effect survives the cause. Moreover, the effect may at any subsequent time be called into conscious existence, whether the original cause be present or not.

Now, in the case of the fifth principle above mentioned—the entity that came into existence by the combination of Brahmam and Prakriti—if the general proposition (in the “Fragments of Occult Truth”) is correct, this principle, which corresponds to the physical intelligence, must cease to exist whenever the Brahmam or the seventh Principle should cease to exist for the particular individual; but the fact is certainly otherwise. The general proposition under consideration is adduced in the “Fragments” in support of the assertion that whenever the seventh principle ceases to exist for any particular individual, the sixth principle also ceases to exist for him. The assertion is undoubtedly true, though the mode of stating it and the reasons assigned for it, are to my mind objectionable.

It is said that in cases where tendencies of a man’s mind are entirely material, and all spiritual aspirations and thoughts were altogether absent from his mind, the seventh principle leaves him either before or at the time of death, and the sixth principle disappears with it. Here, the very proposition that the tendencies of the particular individual’s mind are entirely material, involves the assertion that there is no spiritual intelligence or spiritual Ego in him, it should then have been said that, whenever spiritual intelligence ceases to exist in any particular individual, the seventh principle ceases to exist for that particular individual for all purposes. Of course, it does not fly off anywhere. There can never be any thing like a change of position in the case of Brahmam.11 The assertion merely means that when there is no recognition whatever of Brahmam, or spirit, or spiritual life, or spiritual consciousness, the seventh principle has ceased to exercise any influence or control over the individual’s destinies.

I shall now state what is meant (in the Aryan doctrine) by the seven principles above enumerated.

I. Prakriti. This is the basis of Sthûlasariram, and represents it in the above-mentioned classification.

II. Prakriti and. Sakti. This is the Lingasariram, or astral body.

III. Sakti. This principle corresponds to your Kámarupa. This power or force is placed by ancient occultists in the Nábhíchakram. This power can gather akása or prakriti, and mould it into any desired shape. It has very great sympathy with the fifth principle, and can be made to act by its influence or control.

IV. Brahmam, Sakti, and Prakriti. This again corresponds to your second principle, Jíva. This power represents the universal life-principle which exists in Nature. Its seat is the Anahatachakram (heart). It is a force or power which constitutes what is called Jíva, or life. It is, as you say, indestructible, and its activity is merely transferred at the time of death to another set of atoms, to form another organism.

V. Brahma and Prakriti. This, in our Aryan philosophy, corresponds to your fifth principle, called the physical intelligence. According to our philosophers, this is the entity in which what is called mind has its seat or basis. This is the most difficult principle of all to explain, and the present discussion entirely turns upon the view we take of it.

Now, what is mind? It is a mysterious something, which is considered to be the seat of consciousness—of sensations, emotions, volitions, and thoughts. Psychological analysis shows it to be apparently a congeries of mental states, and possibilities of mental states, connected by what is called memory, and considered to have a distinct existence apart from any of its particular states or ideas. Now in what entity has this mysterious something its potential or actual existence? Memory and expectation, which form, as it were, the real foundation of what is called individuality, or Ahankâram, must have their seat of existence somewhere. Modern psychologists of Europe generally say that the material substance of brain is the seat of mind; and that past subjective experiences, which can be recalled by memory, and which in their totality constitute what is called individuality, exist therein in the shape of certain unintelligible mysterious impressions and changes in the nerves and nerve-centres of the cerebral hemispheres. Consequently, they say, the mind—the individual mind—is destroyed when the body is destroyed; so there is no possible existence after death.

But there are a few facts among those admitted by these philosophers which are sufficient for us to demolish their theory. In every portion of the human body a constant change goes on without intermission. Every tissue, every muscular fibre and nerve-tube, and every ganglionic centre in the brain, is undergoing an incessant change. In the course of a man’s lifetime there may be a series of complete transformations of the substance of his brain. Nevertheless, the memory of his past mental states remains unaltered. There may be additions of new subjective experiences and some mental states may be altogether forgotten, but no individual mental state is altered. The person’s sense of personal identity remains the same throughout these constant alterations in the brain substance.12 It is able to survive all these changes, and it can survive also the complete destruction of the material substance of the brain.

This individuality arising from mental consciousness has its seat of existence, according to our philosophers, in an occult power or force, which keeps a registry, as it were, of all our mental impressions. The power itself is indestructible, though by the operation of certain antagonistic causes its impressions may in course of time be effaced, in part or wholly.

I may mention in this connection that our philosophers have associated seven occult powers with the seven principles or entities above-mentioned. These seven occult powers in the microcosm correspond with, or are the counterparts of, the occult powers in the macrocosm. The mental and spiritual consciousness of the individual becomes the general consciousness of Brahmam, when the barrier of individuality is wholly removed, and when the seven powers in the microcosm are placed en rapport with the seven powers in the macrocosm.

There is nothing very strange in a power, or force, or sakti, carrying with it impressions of sensations, ideas, thoughts, or other subjective experiences. It is now a well-known fact, that an electric or magnetic current can convey in some mysterious manner impressions of sound or speech, with all their individual peculiarities; similarly, I can convey my thoughts to you by a transmission of energy or power.

Now, this fifth principle represents in our philosophy the mind, or, to speak more correctly, the power or force above described, the impressions of the mental states therein, and the notion of self-identity or Ahankaram generated by their collective operation. This principle is called merely physical intelligence in the “Fragments.” I do not know what is really meant by this expression. It may be taken to mean that intelligence which exists in a very low state of development in the lower animals. Mind may exist in different stages of development, from the very lowest forms of organic life, where the signs of its existence or operation can hardly be distinctly realized, up to man, in whom it reaches its highest state of development.

In fact, from the first appearance of life13 up to Tureeya Avastha, or the state of Nirvana, the progress is, as it were, continuous. We ascend from that principle up to the seventh by almost imperceptible gradations. But four stages are recognized in the progress where the change is of a peculiar kind, and is such as to arrest an observer’s attention. These four stages are as follows:

(1) Where life (fourth principle) make its appearance.

(2) Where the existence of mind becomes perceptible in conjunction with life.

(3) Where the highest state of mental abstraction ends, and spiritual consciousness commences.

(4) Where spiritual consciousness disappears, leaving the seventh principle in a complete state of Nirvana, or nakedness.

According to our philosophers, the fifth principle under consideration is intended to represent the mind in every possible state of development, from the second stage up to the third stage.

IV. Brahmam and Sakti. This principle corresponds to your “spiritual intelligence.” It is, in fact, Buddhi (I use the word Buddhi not in the ordinary sense, but in the sense in which it is used by our ancient philosophers); in other words, it is the seat of Bodha or Atmabodha. One who has Atmabodha in its completeness is a Buddha. Buddhists know very well what this term signifies. This principle is described in the “Fragments” as an entity coming into existence by the combination of Brahmam and Prakriti. I do not again know in what particular sense the word Prakriti is used in this connection. According to our philosophers it is an entity arising from the union of Brahmam and Sakti. I have already explained the connotation attached by our philosophers to the words Prakriti and Sakti.

I stated that Prakriti in its primary state is Akasa.14

If Akasa be considered to be Sakti or power 15 then my statement as regards the ultimate state of Prakriti is likely to give rise to confusion and misapprehension unless I explain the distinction between Akasa and Sakti. Akasa is not, properly speaking, the crown of the astral light, nor does it by itself constitute any of the six primary forces. But, generally speaking, whenever any phenomenal result is produced, Sakti acts in conjunction with Akasa. And, moreover, Akasa serves as a basis or Adhishthanum for the transmission of force currents and for the formation or generation of force or power correlations.16

In Mantrasastra the letter Ha represents Akasa, and you will find that this syllable enters into most of the sacred formulæ intended to be used in producing phenomenal results. But by itself it does not represent any Sakti. You may, if you please, call Sakti an attribute of Akasa.

I do not think that, as regards the nature of this principle, there can in reality exist any difference of opinion between the Buddhist and Brahmanical philosophers.

Buddhist and Brahmanical initiates know very well that mysterious circular mirror composed of two hemispheres which reflects as it were the rays emanating from the “burning bush ” and the blazing star—the spiritual sun Shining in CHIDAKASAM.

The spiritual impressions constituting this principle have their existence in an occult power associated with the entity in question. The successive incarnations of Buddha, in fact, mean the successive transfers of this mysterious power, or the impressions thereof. The transfer is only possible when the Mahatma17 who transfers it has completely identified himself with his seventh principle, has annihilated his Ahankaram, and reduced it to ashes in CHIDAGNIKUNDUM, and has succeeded in making his thoughts correspond with the eternal laws of Nature and in becoming a co-worker with Nature. Or, to put the same thing in other words, when he has attained the state of Nirvana, the condition of final negation, negation of individual, or separate existence.18

VII. Atma.—The emanation from the absolute, corresponding to the seventh principle. As regards this entity there exists positively no real difference of opinion between the Tibetan Buddhist adepts and our ancient Rishis.

We must now consider which of these entities can appear after the individual’s death in séance-rooms and produce the so-called spiritualistic phenomena.

Now, the assertion of the Spiritualists, that the “disembodied spirits” of particular human beings appear in séance-rooms, necessarily implies that the entity that so appears bears the stamp of some particular personality.

So, we have to ascertain beforehand in what entity or entities personality has its seat of existence. Apparently it exists in the person’s particular formation of body, and in his subjective experiences (called his mind in their totality). On the death of the individual his body is destroyed; his lingasaríram being decomposed, the power associated with it becomes mingled in the current of the corresponding power in the macrocosm. Similarly, the third and fourth principles are mingled with their corresponding powers. These entities may again enter into the composition of other organisms. As these entities bear no impression of personality, the Spiritualists have no right to say that the disembodied spirit of the human being has appeared in the séance-room whenever any of these entities may appear there. In fact, they have no means of ascertaining that they belonged to any particular individual.

Therefore, we must only consider whether any of the last three entities appear in séance-rooms to amuse or to instruct Spiritualists. Let us take three particular examples of individuals, and see what becomes of these three principles after death.

I. One in whom spiritual attachments have greater force than terrestrial attachments.

II. One in whom spiritual aspirations do exist, but are merely of secondary importance to him, his terrestrial interests occupying the greater share of his attention.

III. One in whom there exists no spiritual aspirations whatsoever, one whose spiritual Ego is dead or non-existent to his apprehension.

We need not consider the case of a complete adept in this connection. In the first two cases, according to our supposition, spiritual and mental experiences exist together; when spiritual consciousness exists, the existence of the seventh principle being recognized, it maintains its connection with the fifth and sixth principles. But the existence of terrestrial attachments creates the necessity of Punarjanmam (re-birth), the latter signifying the evolution of a new set of objective and subjective experiences, constituting a new combination of surrounding circumstances, or, in other words, a new world. The period between death and the next subsequent birth is occupied with the preparation required for the evolution of these new experiences. During the period of incubation, as you call it, the spirit will never of its own accord appear in this world, nor can it so appear.

There is a great law in this universe which consists in the reduction of subjective experiences to objective phenomena, and the evolution of the former from the latter. This is otherwise called “cyclic necessity.” Man is subjected to this law if he do not check and counterbalance the usual destiny or fate, and he can only escape its control by subduing all his terrestrial attachments completely. The new combination of circumstances under which he will then be placed may be better or worse than the terrestrial conditions under which he lived; but in his progress to a new world, you may be sure he will never turn around to have a look at his spiritualistic friends.

In the third of the above three cases there is, by our supposition, no recognition of spiritual consciousness or of spirits; so they are non-existing so far as he is concerned. The case is similar to that of an organ or faculty which remains unused for a long time. It then practically ceases to exist.

These entities, as it were, remain his, or in his possession, when they are stamped with the stamp of recognition. When such is not the ease, the whole of his individuality is centred in his fifth principle. And after death this fifth principle is the only representative of the individual in question.

By itself it cannot evolve for itself a new set of objective experiences, or, to say the same thing in other words, it has no punarjanmam. It is such an entity that can appear in séance-rooms; but it is absurd to call it a disembodied spirit.19 It is merely a power or force retaining the impressions of the thoughts or ideas of the individual into whose composition it originally entered. It sometimes summons to its aid the Kámarûpa power, and creates for itself some particular ethereal form (not necessarily human).

Its tendencies of action will be similar to those of the individual’s mind when he was living. This entity maintains its existence so long as the impressions on the power associated with the fifth principle remain intact. In course of time they are effaced, and the power in question is then mixed up in the current of its corresponding power in the MACROCOSM, as the river loses itself in the sea. Entities like these may afford signs of there having been considerable intellectual power in the individuals to which they belonged; because very high intellectual power may co-exist with utter absence of spiritual consciousness. But from this circumstance it cannot be argued that either the spirits or the spiritual Egos of deceased individuals appear in séance-rooms.

There are some people in India who have thoroughly studied the nature of such entities (called Pisacham). I do not know much about them experimentally, as I have never meddled with this disgusting, profitless, and dangerous branch of investigation.

The Spiritualists do not know what they are really doing. Their investigations are likely to result in course of time either in wicked sorcery or in the utter spiritual ruin of thousands of men and women.20

The views I have herein expressed have been often illustrated by our ancient writers by comparing the course of a man’s life or existence to the orbital motion of a planet round the sun. Centripetal force is spiritual attraction, and centrifugal terrestrial attraction. As the centripetal force increases in magnitude in comparison with the centrifugal force, the planet approaches the sun—the individual reaches a higher plane of existence. If, on the other hand, the centrifugal force becomes greater than the centripetal force, the planet is removed to a greater distance from the sun, and moves in a new orbit at that distance—the individual comes to a lower level of existence. These are illustrated in the first two instances I have noticed above.

We have only to consider the two extreme cases.

When the planet in its approach to the sun passes over the line where the centripetal and centrifugal force completely neutralize each other, and is only acted on by the centripetal force, it rushes towards the sun with a gradually increasing velocity, and is finally mixed up with the mass of the sun’s body. This is the case of a complete adept.

Again, when the planet in its retreat from the sun reaches a point where the centrifugal force becomes all-powerful, it flies off in a tangential direction from its orbit, and goes into the depths of void space. When it ceases to be under the control of the sun, it gradually gives up its generative heat, and the creative energy that it originally derived from the sun, and remains a cold mass of material particles wandering through space until the mass is completely decomposed into atoms. This cold mass is compared to the fifth principle under the conditions above noticed, and the heat, light, and energy that left it are compared to the sixth and seventh principles.

Either after assuming a new orbit or in its course of deviation from the old orbit to the new, the planet can never go back to any point in its old orbit, as the various orbits lying in different planes never intersect each other.

This figurative representation correctly explains the ancient Brahmanical theory on the subject. It is merely a branch of what is called the Great Law of the Universe by the ancient mystics.




In this connection it will be well to draw the reader’s attention to the fact that the country called “Si-dzang” by the Chinese, and Tibet by Western geographers, is mentioned in the oldest books preserved in the province of Fo-kien (the headquarters of the aborigines of China) as the great seat of occult learning in the archaic ages. According to these records, it was inhabited by the “Teachers of Light,” the “Sons of Wisdom” and the “Brothers of the Sun.” The Emperor Yu the “Great” (2207 B.C.), a pious mystic, is credited with having obtained his occult wisdom and the system of theocracy established by him—for he was the first one to unite in China ecclesiastical power with temporal authority—from Si-dzang. That system was the same as with the old Egyptians and the Chaldees; that which we know to have existed in the Brahmanical period in India, and to exist now in Tibet—namely, all the learning, power, the temporal as well as the secret wisdom were concentrated within the hierachy of the priests and limited to their caste. Who were the aborigines of Tibet is a question which no ethnographer is able to answer correctly at present. They practise the Bhon religion, their sect is a pre- and anti- Buddhistic one, and they are to be found mostly in the province of Kam. That is all that is known of them. But even that would justify the supposition that they are the greatly degenerated descendants of mighty and wise forefathers. Their ethnical type shows that they are not pure Turanians, and their rites—now those of sorcery, incantations, and Nature-worship—remind one far more of the popular rites of the Babylonians, as found in the records preserved on the excavated cylinders, than of the religious practices of the Chinese sect of Tao-sse (a religion based upon pure reason and spirituality), as alleged by some. Generally, little or no difference is made, even by the Kyelang missionaries, who mix greatly with these people on the borders of British Lahoul and ought to know better, between the Bhons and the two rival Buddhist sects, the Yellow Caps and the Red Caps. The latter of these have opposed the reform of Tzong-ka-pa from the first, and have always adhered to old Buddhism, so greatly mixed up now with the practices of the Bhons. Were our Orientalists to know more of them, and compare the ancient Babylonian Bel or Baal worship with the rites of the Bhons, they would find an undeniable connection between the two. To begin an argument here, proving the origin of the aborigines of Tibet as connected with one of the three great races which superseded each other in Babylonia, whether we call them the Akkadians (a name invented by F. Lenormant), or the primitive Turanians, Chaldees, and Assyrians, is out of the question. Be it as it may, there is reason to call the trans-Himalayan esoteric doctrine Chaldeo-Tibetan. And when we remember that the Vedas came, agreeably to all traditions, from the Mansarawara Lake in Tibet, and the Brahmins themselves from the far North, we are justified in looking on the esoteric doctrines of every people who once had or still has it, as having proceeded from one and the same source; and to thus call it the “Aryan-Chaldeo-Tibetan” doctrine, or Universal Wisdom-Religion. “Seek for the Lost Word among the hierophants of Tartary, China, and Tibet,” was the advice of Swedenborg the seer.


Not necessarily, we say. The Vedas, Brahmanism, and along with these, Sanskrit, were importations into what we now regard as India. They were never indigenous to its soil. There was a time when the ancient nations of the West included under the generic name of India many of the countries of Asia now classified under other names. There was an Upper, a Lower, and a Western India, even during the comparatively late period of Alexander; and Persia (Iran) is called Western India in some ancient classics. The countries now named Tibet, Mongolia, and Great Tartary were considered by them as forming part of India. When we say, therefore, that India has civilized the world, and was the Alma Mater of the civilizations, arts, and sciences of all other nations (Babylonia, and perhaps even Egypt, included) we mean archaic, pre-historic India, India of the time when the great Gobi was a sea, and the lost “Atlantis” formed part of an unbroken continent which began at the Himalayas and ran down over Southern India, Ceylon, and Java, to far-away Tasmania.


To ascertain such disputed questions, one has to look into and study well the Chinese sacred and historical records—a people whose era begins nearly 4,600 years back (2697 B.C.). A people so accurate, and by whom some of the most important inventions of modern Europe and its so much boasted modern science were anticipated—such as the compass, gunpowder, porcelain, paper, printing, etc.—known and practised thousands of years before these were rediscovered by the Europeans, ought to receive some trust for their records. And from Lao-tze down to Hiouen-Thsang their literature is filled with allusions and references to that island and the wisdom of the Himalayan adepts. In the “Catena of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese,” by the Rev. Samuel Beal, there is a chapter “On the TIAN-TA’I School of Buddhism” (pp. 244-258) which our opponents ought to read. Translating the rules of that most celebrated and holy school and sect in China founded by Chiu-che-K’hae, called Che-chay (the Wise One), in the year 575 of our era, when coming to the sentence which reads “That which relates to the one garment (seamless) worn by the GREAT TEACHERS OF THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS, the school of the Haimavatas” (p. 256), the European translator places after the last sentence a sign of interrogation, as well he may. The statistics of the school of the “Haimavatas,” or of our Himalayan Brotherhood, are not to be found in the general census records of India. Further, Mr. Beal translates a rule relating to “the great professors of the higher order who live in mountain depths remote from men,” the Aranyakas, or hermits.

So, with respect to the traditions concerning this island, and apart from the (to them) historical records of this preserved in the Chinese and Tibetan sacred books, the legend is alive to this day among the people of Tibet. The fair island is no more, but the country where it once bloomed remains there still, and the spot is well known to some of the “great teachers of the Snowy Mountains,” however much convulsed and changed its topography by the awful cataclysm. Every seventh year these teachers are believed to assemble in SCHAM-BHA-LA, the “Happy Land.” According to the general belief it is situated in the north-west of Tibet. Some place it within the unexplored central regions, inaccessible even to the fearless nomadic tribes; others hem it in between the range of the Gangdisri Mountains and the northern edge of the Gobi desert, south and north, and the more populated regions of Khoondooz and Kashmir, of the Gya-Pheling (British India), and China, west and east, which affords to the curious mind a pretty large latitude to locate it in. Others still place it between Namur Nur and the Kuen-Lun Mountains, but one and all firmly believe in Scham-bha-la, and speak of it as a fertile fairy-like land once an island, now an oasis of incomparable beauty, the place of meeting of the inheritors of the esoteric wisdom of the god-like inhabitants of the legendary island.

In connection with the archaic legend of the Asian Sea and the Atlantic Continent, is it not profitable to note a fact known to all modern geologists—that the Himalayan slopes afford geological proof that the substance of those lofty peaks was once a part of an ocean floor?


We have already pointed out that, in our opinion, the whole difference between Buddhistic and Vedantic philosophies was that the former was a kind of Rationalistic Vedantism, while the latter might be regarded as transcendental Buddhism. If the Aryan esotericism applies the term jívátma to the seventh principle—the pure and per se unconscious spirit—it is because the Vedanta, postulating three kinds of existence— (1) the pâramârthika (the true, the only real one), (2) the vyavahârika (the practical), and (3) the pratibhâsika (the apparent or illusory life)—makes the first life or jiva, the only truly existent one. Brahma, or the ONE’S SELF, is its only representative in the universe, as it is the universal Life in toto, while the other two are but its “phenomenal appearances,” imagined and created by ignorance, and complete illusions suggested to us by our blind senses. The Buddhists, on the other hand, deny either subjective or objective reality even to that one Self-Existence. Buddha declares that there is neither Creator nor an Absolute Being. Buddhist rationalism was ever too alive to the insuperable difficulty of admitting one absolute consciousness, as in the words of Flint, “wherever there is consciousness there is relation, and wherever there is relation there is dualism.” The ONE LIFE is either “MUKTA” (absolute and unconditioned), and can have no relation to anything nor to any one; or it is “BADDHA” (bound and conditioned), and then it cannot be called the absolute; the limitation, moreover, necessitating another deity as powerful as the first to account for all the evil in this world. Hence, the Arahat secret doctrine on cosmogony admits but of one absolute, indestructible, eternal, and uncreated UNCONSCIOUSNESS (so to translate) of an element (the word being used for want of a better term) absolutely independent of everything else in the universe; a something ever present or ubiquitous, a Presence which ever was, is, and will be, whether there is a God, gods, or none, whether there is a universe, or no universe, existing during the eternal cycles of Maha Yugs, during the Pralayas as during the periods of Manvantara, and this is SPACE, the field for the operation of the eternal Forces and natural Law, the basis (as Mr. Subba Row rightly calls it) upon which take place the eternal intercorrelations of Akása-Prakriti; guided by the unconscious regular pulsations of Sakti, the breath or power of a conscious deity, the theists would say; the eternal energy of an eternal, unconscious Law, say the Buddhists. Space, then, or “Fan, Bar-nang” (Mâha Sûnyatâ) or, as it is called by Lao-tze, the “Emptiness,” is the nature of the Buddhist Absolute. (See Confucius’ “Praise of the Abyss.”) The word jiva, then, could never be applied by the Arahats to the Seventh Principle, since it is only through its correlation or contact with matter that Fo-hat (the Buddhist active energy) can develop active conscious life; and that to the question “how can unconsciousness generate consciousness?” the answer would be: “Was the seed which generated a Bacon or a Newton self-conscious?”


To our European readers, deceived by the phonetic similarity, it must not be thought that the name “Brahman” is identical in this connection with Brahma or Iswara, the personal God. The Upanishads—the Vedanta Scriptures—mention no such God, and one would vainly seek in them any allusions to a conscious deity. The Brahman, or Parabrahm, the absolute of the Vedantins, is neuter and unconscious, and has no connection with the masculine Brahmâ of the Hindu Triad, or Trimurti. Some Orientalists rightly believe the name derived from the verb “Brih,” to grow or increase, and to be in this sense the universal expansive force of Nature, the vivifying and spiritual principle or power spread throughout the universe, and which, in its collectivity, is the one Absoluteness, the one Life and the only Reality.


The Septenary Principle in Different Indian Systems

We give below in a tabular form the classifications, adopted by Buddhist and by Vedantic teachers, of the principles in man:

Classification in Esoteric Buddhism.

Vedantic Classification.

Classification in Târaka Raja Yoga.

(1.) Sthula sarira. Annamaya kosa. } Sthulopadhi.
(2.) Prana. } Pranamaya kosa.
(3.) The vehicle of Prana.
(4.) Kama rupa. } Manomaya kosa.
(5.) Mind { (a) Volitions & feelings, etc. } Sukshmopadhi.
(b) Vignanam. Vignanamayakosa.
(6.) Spiritual Soul. Anandamayakosa. Karanopadhi.
(7.) Atma. Atma. Atma.

From the foregoing table it will be seen that the third principle in the Buddhist classification is not separately mentioned in the Vedantic division as it is merely the vehicle of prána. It will also be seen that the fourth principle is included in the third kosa (sheath), as the said principle is but the vehicle of will-power, which is but an energy of the mind. It must also be noticed that the Vignanamayakosa is considered to be distinct from the Manomayakosa, as a division is made after death between the lower part of the mind, as it were, which has a closer affinity with the fourth principle than with the sixth and its higher part, which attaches itself to the latter, and which is, in fact, the basis for the higher spiritual individuality of man.

We may also here point out to our readers that the classification mentioned in the last column is for all practical purposes connected with Raja Yoga, the best and simplest. Though their are seven principles in man, there are but three distinct Upadhis (bases), in each of which his Atma may work independently of the rest. These three Upadhis can be separated by an adept without killing himself. He cannot separate the seven principles from each other without destroying his constitution.

T. S.

The Septenary Principle in Esotericism

Since the exposition of the Arhat esoteric doctrine was begun, many who had not acquainted themselves with the occult basis of Hindu philosophy have imagined that the two were in conflict. Some of the more bigoted have openly charged the Occultists of the Theosophical Society with propagating rank Buddhistic heresy; and have even gone to the length of affirming that the whole Theosophic movement was but a masked Buddhistic propaganda. We were taunted by ignorant Brahmins and learned Europeans that our septenary divisions of Nature and everything in it, including man, are arbitrary and not endorsed by the oldest religious systems of the East. It is now proposed to throw a cursory glance at the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Law-Books of Manu, and especially the Vedanta, and show that they too support our position. Even in their crude exotericism their affirmation of the sevenfold divison is apparent. Passage after passage may be cited in proof. And not only can the mysterious number be found traced on every page of the oldest Aryan Sacred Scriptures, but in the oldest books of Zoroastrianism as well; in the rescued cylindrical tile records of old Babylonia and Chaldea, in the “Book of the Dead” and the Ritualism of ancient Egypt, and even in the Mosaic books—without mentioning the secret Jewish works, such as the Kabala.

The limited space at command forces us to allow a few brief quotations to stand as landmarks and not even attempt long explanations. It is no exaggeration to say that upon each of the few hints now given in the cited Slokas a thick volume might be written.

From the well-known hymn To Time, in the Atharva-Veda (xix. 53)—

“Time, like a brilliant steed with seven rays,
Full of fecundity, bears all things onward.
*          *          *          *          *          *
Time, like a seven-wheeled, seven-naved car moves on,
His rolling wheels are all the worlds, his axle
Is immortality . . . . . ”

—down to Manu, “the first and the seventh man,” the Vedas, the Upanishads, and all the later systems of philosophy teem with allusions to this number. Who was Manu, the son of Swayambhuva? The secret doctrine tells us that this Manu was no man, but the representation of the first human races evolved with the help of the Dhyan-Chohans (Devas) at the beginning of the first Round. But we are told in his Laws (Book 1. 80) that there are fourteen Manus for every Kalpa or “interval from creation to creation” (read interval from one minor “Pralaya” to another) and that “in the present divine age there have been as yet seven Manus.” Those who know that there are seven Rounds, of which we have passed three, and are now in the fourth; and who are taught that there are seven dawns and seven twilights, or fourteen Manvantaras; that at the beginning of every Round and at the end, and on and between the planets, there is “an awakening to illusive life,” and “an awakening to real life,” and that, moreover, there are “root-Manus,” and what we have to clumsily translate as the “seed-Manus”—the seeds for the human races of the forthcoming Round (a mystery divulged but to those who have passed the 3rd degree in initiation); those who have learned all that, will be better prepared to understand the meaning of the following. We are told in the Sacred Hindu Scriptures that “the first Manu produced six other Manus (seven primary Manus in all), and these produced in their turn each seven other Manus” (Bhrigu 1. 61-63),1 the production of the latter standing in the occult treatises as 7 x 7. Thus it becomes clear that Manu—the last one, the progenitor of our Fourth Round Humanity—must be the seventh, since we are on our fourth Round, and that there is a root-Manu on globe A and a seed-Manu on globe G. Just as each planetary Round commences with the appearance of a “Root-Manu” (Dhyan-Chohan) and closes with a “Seed-Manu,” so a root- and a seed-Manu appear respectively at the beginning and the termination of the human period on any particular planet. It will be easily seen from the foregoing statement that a Manu-antaric period means, as the term implies, the time between the appearance of two Manus or Dhyan-Chohans: and hence a minor Manu-antara is the duration of the seven races on any particular planet, and a major Manu-antara is the period of one human round along the planetary chain. Moreover, that, as it is said that each of the seven Manus creates 7 x 7 Manus, and that there are 49 root-races on the seven planets during each Round, then every root-race has its Manu. The present seventh Manu is called “Vaivasvata,” and stands in the exoteric texts for that Manu who represents in India the Babylonian Xisusthrus and the Jewish Noah. But in the esoteric books we are told that Manu Vaivasvata, the progenitor of our fifth race—who saved it from the flood that nearly exterminated the fourth (Atlantean)—is not the seventh Manu, mentioned in the nomenclature of the Root, or primitive Manus, but one of the 49 “emanated from this ‘root’-Manu.”

For clearer comprehension we here give the names of the 14 Manus in their respective order and relation to each Round:

1st Round.


1st (Root) Manu on Planet A.—Swayambhuva.
1st (Seed) Manu on Planet G.—Swarochi (or) Swarotisha.

2nd Round.


2nd (Root) Manu on Planet A.—Uttama.
2nd (Seed) Manu on Planet G.—Thamasa.

3rd Round.


3rd (Root) Manu on Planet A.—Raivata.
3rd (Seed) Manu on Planet G.—Chackchuska.

4th Round.


4th (Root) Manu on Planet A.—Vaivasvata (our progenitor).
4th (Seed) Manu on Planet G.—Savarni.

5th Round.


5th (Root) Manu on Planet A.—Daksha Savarni.
5th (Seed) Manu on Planet G.—Brahma Savarni.

6th Round.


6th (Root) Manu on Planet A.—Dharma Savarni.
6th (Seed) Manu on Planet G.—Rudra Savarni.

7th Round.


7th (Root) Manu on Planet A.—Rouchya.
7th (Seed) Manu on Planet G.—Bhoutya.

Vaivasvata thus, though seventh in the order given, is the primitive Root-Mann of our fourth Human Wave [the reader must always remember that Manu is not a man but collective humanity], while our Vaivasvata was but one of the seven Minor Manus who are made to preside over the seven races of this our planet. Each of these has to become the witness of one of the periodical and ever-recurring cataclysms (by fire and water in turn) that close the cycle of every root-race. And it is this Vaivasvata—the Hindu ideal embodiment called respectively Xisusthrus, Deukalion, Noah, and by other names—who is the allegorical man who rescued our race when nearly the whole population of one hemisphere perished by water, while the other hemisphere was awakening from its temporary obscuration.

The number seven stands prominently conspicuous in even a cursory comparison of the 11th Tablet of the Izdhubar Legends of the Chaldean account of the Deluge and the so-called Mosaic books. In both the number seven plays a most prominent part. The clean beasts are taken by sevens, the fowls by sevens also; in seven days, it is promised Noah, to rain upon the earth; thus he stays “yet other seven days,” and again seven days; while in the Chaldean account of the Deluge, on the seventh day the rain abated. On the seventh day the dove is sent out; by sevens, Xisusthrus takes “jugs of wine” for the altar, etc. Why such coincidence? And yet we are told by, and bound to believe in, the European Orientalists, when passing judgment alike upon the Babylonian and Aryan chronology they call them “extravagant and fanciful!” Nevertheless, while they give us no explanation of, nor have they ever noticed, as far as we know, the strange identity in the totals of the Semitic, Chaldean, and Aryan Hindu chronology, the students of Occult Philosophy find the following fact extremely suggestive. While the period of the reign of the 10 Babylonian antediluvian kings is given as 432,000 years,2 the duration of the postdiluvian Kali-yug is also given as 432,000, while the four ages or the divine Maha-yug, yield in their totality 4,320,000 years. Why should they, if fanciful and “extravagant,” give the identical figures, when neither the Aryans nor the Babylonians have surely borrowed anything from each other! We invite the attention of our occultists to the three figures given—4 standing for the perfect square, 3 for the triad (the seven universal and the seven individual principles), and 2 the symbol of our illusionary world, a figure ignored and rejected by Pythagoras.

It is in the Upanishads and the Vedanta though, that we have to look for the best corroborations of the occult teachings. In the mystical doctrine the Rahasya, or the Upanishads—“the only Veda of all thoughtful Hindus in the present day,” as Monier Williams is made to confess, every word, as its very name implies,3 has a secret meaning underlying it. This meaning can be fully realized only by him who has a full knowledge of Prána, the ONE LIFE, “the nave to which are attached the seven spokes of the Universal Wheel.” (Hymn to Prána, Atharva-Veda, XI. 4.)

Even European Orientalists agree that all the systems in India assign to the human body: (a) an exterior or gross body (sthula-sarira); (b) an inner or shadowy body (sukshma), or linga-sarira (the vehicle), the two cemented with—(c), life (jiv or Karana sarira, “causal body”).4 These the occult system or esotericism divides into seven, farther adding to these—kama, manas, buddhi and atman. The Nyaya philosophy when treating of Prameyas (by which the objects and subjects of Praman are to be correctly understood) includes among the 12 the seven “root principles.” (see IXth Sutra), which are 1, soul (atman), and 2, its superior spirit Jivatman; 3, body (sarira); 4, senses (indriya); 5, activity or will (pravritti); 6, mind (manas); 7, Intellection (Buddhi). The seven Padarthas (inquiries or predicates of existing things) of Kanada in the Vaiseshikas, refer in the occult doctrine to the seven qualities or attributes of the seven principles. Thus: 1, substance (dravya) refers to body or sthula-sarira, 2, quality or property (guna) to the life principle, jiv; 3, action or act (karman) to the Linga, sarira; 4, Community or commingling of properties (Samanya) to Kamarupa; 5, personality or conscious individuality (Visesha) to Manas; 6, co-inherence or perpetual intimate relation (Samuvuya) to Buddhi, the inseparable vehicle of Atman; 7, non-existence or non-being in the sense of, and as separate from, objectivity or substance (abhava)—to the highest monad or Atman.

Thus, whether we view the ONE as the Vedic Purusha or Brahman (neuter) the “all-expanding essence;” or as the universal spirit, the “light of lights” (jyotisham jyotih) the TOTAL independent of all relation, of the Upanishads; or as the Paramatman of the Vedanta; or again as Kanada’s Adrishta, “the unseen Force,” or divine atom; or as Prakriti, the “eternally existing essence,” of Kapila—we find in all these impersonal universal Principles the latent capability of evolving out of themselves “six rays” (the evolver being the seventh). The third aphorism of the Sankhya-Karika, which says of Prakriti that it is the “root and substance of all things,” and no production, but itself a producer of “seven things, which produced by it, become also producers,” has a purely occult meaning.

What are the “producers” evoluted from this universal root-principle, Mula-prakriti or undifferentiated primeval cosmic matter, which evolves out of itself consciousness and mind, and is generally called “Prakriti” and amulam mulam, “the rootless root,” and Avyakta, the “unevolved evolver,” etc.? This primordial tattwa or “eternally existing ‘that,’” the unknown essence, is said to produce as a first producer, 1, Buddhi—“intellect”— whether we apply the latter to the 6th macrocosmic or microcosmic principle. This first produced produces in its turn (or is the source of) Ahankara, “self- consciousness” and manas “mind.” The reader will please always remember that the Mahat or great source of these two internal faculties, “Buddhi” per se, can have neither self-consciousness nor mind; viz., the 6th principle in man can preserve an essence of personal self-consciousness or “personal individuality” only by absorbing within itself its own waters, which have run through that finite faculty; for Ahankara, that is the perception of “I,” or the sense of one’s personal individuality, justly represented by the term “Ego-ism,” belongs to the second, or rather the third, production out of the seven, viz., to the 5th principle, or Manas. It is the latter which draws “as the web issues from the spider” along the thread of Prakriti, the “root principle,” the four following subtle elementary principles or particles—Tanmatras, out of which “third class,” the Mahabhutas or the gross elementary principles, or rather sarira and rupas, are evolved—the kama, linga, jiva and sthula-sarira. The three gunas of “Prakriti”—the Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas (purity, passionate activity, and ignorance or darkness)—spun into a triple-stranded cord or “rope,” pass through the seven, or rather six, human principles.

It depends on the 5th—Manas or Ahankara, the “I”—to thin the guna, “rope,” into one thread—the sattwa; and thus by becoming one with the “unevolved evolver,” win immortality or eternal conscious existence. Otherwise it will be again resolved into its Mahabhautic essence; so long as the triple-stranded rope is left unstranded, the spirit (the divine monad) is bound by the presence of the gunas in the principles “like an animal” (purusha pasu). The spirit, âtman or jivatman (the 7th and 6th principles), whether of the macro- or microcosm, though bound by these gunas during the objective manifestation of universe or man, is yet nirguna—i.e., entirely free from them. Out of the three producers or evolvers, Prakriti, Buddhi and Ahankara, it is but the latter that can be caught (when man is concerned) and destroyed when personal. The “divine monad” is aguna (devoid of qualities), while Prakriti, once that from passive Mula-prakriti it has become avyakta (an active evolver) is gunavat—endowed with qualities. With the latter, Purusha or Atman can have nought to do (of course being unable to perceive it in its gunavatic state); with the former—or Mula-prakriti or undifferentiated cosmic essence— it has, since it is one with it and identical.

The Atma Bodha, or “knowledge of soul,” a tract written by the great Sankaracharya, speaks distinctly of the seven principles in man (see 14th verse). They are called therein the five sheaths (panchakosa) in which is enclosed the divine monad—the Atman, and Buddhi, the 7th and 6th principles, or the individuated soul when made distinct (through avidya, maya and the gunas) from the supreme soul—Parabrahm. The 1st sheath, called Ananda-maya—the “illusion of supreme bliss”—is the manas or fifth principle of the occultists, when united with Buddhi; the 2nd sheath is Vjnana-maya-kosa, the case or “envelope of self-delusion,” the manas when self-deluded into the belief of the personal “I,” or ego, with its vehicle. The 3rd, the Mano-maya sheath, composed of “illusionary mind” associated with the organs of action and will, is the Kamarupa and Linga-sarira combined, producing an illusive “I” or Mayavi-rupa. The 4th sheath is called Prana-maya, illusionary life,” our second life principle or jiv, wherein resides life, the “breathing” sheath. The 5th kosa is called Anna-maya, or the sheath supported by food—our gross material body. All these sheaths produce other smaller sheaths, or six attributes or qualities each, the seventh being always the root sheath; and the Atman or spirit passing through all these subtle ethereal bodies like a thread, is called the “thread-soul” or sutratman.

We may conclude with the above demonstration. Verily the Esoteric doctrine may well be called in its turn the “thread-doctrine,” since, like Sutratman or Pranatman, it passes through and strings together all the ancient philosophical religious systems, and, what is more, reconciles and explains them. For though seeming so unlike externally, they have but one foundation, and of that the extent, depth, breadth and nature are known to those who have become, like the “Wise Men of the East,” adepts in Occult Science.


Personal and Impersonal God

At the outset I shall request my readers (such of them at least as are not acquainted with the Cosmological theories of the Idealistic thinkers of Europe) to examine John Stuart Mill’s Cosmological speculations as contained in his examination of Sir William Hamilton’s philosophy, before attempting to understand the Adwaita doctrine; and I beg to inform them beforehand that in explaining the main principles of the said doctrine, I am going to use, as far as it is convenient to do so, the phraseology adopted by English psychologists of the Idealistic school of thought. In dealing with the phenomena of our present plane of existence John Stuart Mill ultimately came to the conclusion that matter, or the so-called external phenomena, are but the creation of our mind; they are the mere appearances of a particular phase of our subjective self, and of our thoughts, volitions, sensations and emotions which in their totality constitute the basis of that Ego. Matter then is the permanent possibility of sensations, and the so-called Laws of matter are, properly speaking, the Laws which govern the succession and coexistence of our states of consciousness. Mill further holds that properly speaking there is no noumenal Ego. The very idea of a mind existing separately as an entity, distinct from the states of consciousness which are supposed to inhere in it, is in his opinion illusory, as the idea of an external object, which is supposed to be perceived by our senses.

Thus the ideas of mind and matter, of subject and object, of the Ego and external world, are really evolved from the aggregation of our mental states which are the only realities so far as we are concerned.

The chain of our mental states or states of consciousness is “a double headed-monster,” according to Professor Bain, which has two distinct aspects, one objective and the other subjective. Mr. Mill has paused here, confessing that psychological analysis did not go any further; the mysterious link which connects together the train of our states of consciousness and gives rise to our Ahankaram in this condition of existence, still remains an incomprehensible mystery to Western psychologists, though its existence is but dimly perceived in the subjective phenomena of memory and expectation.

On the other hand, the great physicists of Europe are gradually coming to the conclusion1 that mind is the product of matter, or that it is one of the attributes of matter in some of its conditions. It would appear, therefore, from the speculations of Western psychologists that matter is evolved from mind and that mind is evolved from matter. These two propositions are apparently irreconcilable. Mill and Tyndall have admitted that Western science is yet unable to go deeper into the question. Nor is it likely to solve the mystery hereafter, unless it calls Eastern occult science to its aid and takes a more comprehensive view of the capabilities of the real subjective self of man and the various aspects of the great objective universe. The great Adwaitee philosophers of ancient Aryavarta have examined the relationship between subject and object in every condition of existence in this solar system in which this differentiation is presented. Just as a human being is composed of seven principles, differentiated matter in the solar system exists in seven different conditions. These different states of matter do not all come within the range of our present objective consciousness. But they can be objectively perceived by the spiritual Ego in man. To the liberated spiritual monad of man, or to the Dhyan Chohans, every thing that is material in every condition of matter is an object of perception. Further, Pragna or the capacity of perception exists in seven different aspects corresponding to the seven conditions of matter. Strictly speaking, there are but six states of matter, the so-called seventh state being the aspect of cosmic matter in its original undifferentiated condition. Similarly there are six states of differentiated Pragna, the seventh state being a condition of perfect unconsciousness. By differentiated Pragna, I mean the condition in which Pragna is split up into various states of consciousness. Thus we have six states of consciousness, either objective or subjective for the time being, as the case may be, and a perfect state of unconsciousness, which is the beginning and the end of all conceivable states of consciousness, corresponding to the states of differentiated matter and its original undifferentiated basis which is the beginning and the end of all cosmic evolutions. It will be easily seen that the existence of consciousness is necessary for the differentiation between subject and object. Hence these two phases are presented in six different conditions, and in the last state there being no consciousness as above stated, the differentiation in question ceases to exist. The number of these various conditions is different in different systems of philosophy. But whatever may be the number of divisions, they all lie between perfect unconsciousness at one end of the line and our present state of consciousness or Bahirpragna at the other end. To understand the real nature of these different states of consciousness, I shall request my readers to compare the consciousness of the ordinary man with the consciousness of the astral man, and again compare the latter with the consciousness of the spiritual Ego in man. In these three conditions the objective universe is not the same. But the difference between the Ego and the non-Ego is common to all these conditions. Consequently, admitting the correctness of Mill’s reasoning as regards the subject and object of our present plane of consciousness, the great Adwaitee thinkers of India have extended the same reasoning to other states of consciousness, and came to the conclusion that the various conditions of the Ego and the non-Ego were but the appearances of one and the same entity—the ultimate state of unconsciousness. This entity is neither matter nor spirit; it is neither Ego nor non-Ego; and it is neither object nor subject. In the language of Hindu philosophers it is the original and eternal combination of Purusha and Prakriti. As the Adwaitees hold that an external object is merely the product of our mental states, Prakriti is nothing more than illusion, and Purush is the only reality; it is the one existence which remains eternal in this universe of Ideas. This entity then is the Parabrahmam of the Adwaitees. Even if there were to be a personal God with anything like a material Upadhi (physical basis of whatever form), from the standpoint of an Adwaitee there will be as much reason to doubt his noumenal existence as there would be in the case of any other object. In their opinion, a conscious God cannot be the origin of the universe, as his Ego would be the effect of a previous cause, if the word conscious conveys but its ordinary meaning. They cannot admit that the grand total of all the states of consciousness in the universe is their deity, as these states are constantly changing and as cosmic idealism ceases during Pralaya. There is only one permanent condition in the universe which is the state of perfect unconciousness, bare Chidakasam (field of consciousness) in fact.

When my readers once realize the fact that this grand universe is in reality but a huge aggregation of various states of consciousness, they will not be surprised to find that the ultimate state of unconsciousness is considered as Parabrahmam by the Adwaitees.

The idea of a God, Deity, Iswar, or an impersonal God (if consciousness is one of his attributes) involves the idea of Ego or non-Ego in some shape or other, and as every conceivable Ego or non-Ego is evolved from this primitive element (I use this word for want of a better one) the existence of an extra-cosmic god possessing such attributes prior to this condition is absolutely inconceivable. Though I have been speaking of this element as the condition of unconsciousness, it is, properly speaking, the Chidakasam or Chinmatra of the Hindu philosophers which contains within itself the potentiality of every condition of “Pragna,” and which results as consciousness on the one hand and the objective universe on the other, by the operation of its latent Chichakti (the power which generates thought).

Before proceeding to discuss the nature of Parabrahmam, it is to be stated that in the opinion of Adwaitees, the Upanishads and the Brahmasutras fully support their views on the subject. It is distinctly affirmed in the Upanishads that Parabrahmam, which is but the bare potentiality of Pragna,2 is not an aspect of Pragna or Ego in any shape, and that it has neither life nor consciousness. The reader will be able to ascertain that such is really the case on examining the Mundaka and Mandukya Upanishads. The language used here and there in the Upanishads is apt to mislead one into the belief that such language points to the existence of a conscious Iswar. But the necessity for such language will perhaps be rendered clear from the following considerations.

From a close examination of Mill’s cosmological theory the difficulty will be clearly seen referred to above, of satisfactorily accounting for the generation of conscious states in any human being from the stand-point of the said theory. It is generally stated that sensations arise in us from the action of the external objects around us: they are the effects of impressions made on our senses by the objective world in which we exist. This is simple enough to an ordinary mind, however difficult it may be to account for the transformation of a cerebral nerve-current into a state of consciousness.

But from the stand-point of Mill’s theory we have no proof of the existence of any external object; even the objective existence of our own senses is not a matter of certainty to us. How, then, are we to account for and explain the origin of our mental states, if they are the only entities existing in this world? No explanation is really given by saying that one mental state gives rise to another mental state, to a certain extent at all events, under the operation of the so-called psychological “Laws of Association.” Western psychology honestly admits that its analysis has not gone any further. It may be inferred, however, from the said theory that there would be no reason for saying that a material upadhi (basis) is necessary for the existence of mind or states of consciousness.

As is already indicated, the Aryan psychologists have traced this current of mental states to its source—the eternal Chinmatra existing everywhere. When the time for evolution comes this germ of Pragna unfolds itself and results ultimately as Cosmic ideation. Cosmic ideas are the conceptions of all the conditions of existence in the Cosmos existing in what may be called the universal mind (the demiurgic mind of the Western Kabalists).

This Chinmatra exists as it were at every geometrical point of the infinite Chidakasam. This principle then has two general aspects. Considered as something objective it is the eternal Asath—Mulaprakriti or Undifferentiated Cosmic matter. From a subjective point of view it may be looked upon in two ways. It is Chidakasam when considered as the field of Cosmic ideation; and it is Chinmatra when considered as the germ of Cosmic ideation. These three aspects constitute the highest Trinity of the Aryan Adwaitee philosophers. It will be readily seen that the last-mentioned aspect of the principle in question is far more important to us than the other two aspects; for, when looked upon in this aspect the principle under consideration seems to embody within itself the great Law of Cosmic Evolution, And therefore the Adwaitee philosophers have chiefly considered it in this light, and explained their cosmogony from a subjective point of view. In doing so, however, they cannot avoid the necessity of speaking of a universal mind (and this is Brahma, the Creator) and its ideation. But it ought not to be inferred therefrom that this universal mind necessarily belongs to an Omnipresent living conscious Creator, simply because in ordinary parlance a mind is always spoken of in connection with a particular living being. It cannot be contended that a material Uphadi is indispensable for the existence of mind or mental states when the objective universe itself is, so far as we are concerned, the result of our states of consciousness. Expressions implying the existence of a conscious Iswar which are to be found here and there in the Upanishads should not therefore be literally construed.

It now remains to be seen how Adwaitees account for the origin of mental states in a particular individual. Apparently the mind of a particular human being is not the universal mind. Nevertheless Cosmic ideation is the real source of the states of consciousness in every individual. Cosmic ideation exists everywhere; but when placed under restrictions by a material Upadhi it results as the consciousness of the individual inhering in such Upadhi. Strictly speaking, an Adwaitee will not admit the objective existence of this material Upadhi. From his stand-point it is Maya or illusion which exists as a necessary condition of Pragna. But to avoid confusion, I shall use the ordinary language; and to enable my readers to grasp my meaning clearly the following simile may be adopted. Suppose a bright light is placed in the centre with a curtain around it. The nature of the light that penetrates through the curtain and becomes visible to a person standing outside depends upon the nature of the curtain. If several such curtains are thus successively placed around the light, it will have to penetrate through all of them; and a person standing outside will only perceive as much light as is not intercepted by all the curtains. The central light becomes dimmer and dimmer as curtain after curtain is placed before the observer; and as curtain after curtain is removed the light becomes brighter and brighter until it reaches its natural brilliancy. Similarly, universal mind or Cosmic ideation becomes more and more limited and modified by the various Upadhis of which a human being is composed; and when the action or influence of these various Upadhis is successively controlled, the mind of the individual human being is placed en rapport with the universal mind and his ideation is lost in Cosmic ideation.

As I have already said, these Upadhis are strictly speaking the conditions of the gradual development or evolution of Bahipragna—or consciousness in the present plane of our existence—from the original and eternal Chinmatra, which is the seventh principle in man, and the Parabrahmam of the Adwaitees.

This then is the purport of the Adwaitee philosophy on the subject under consideration, and it is, in my humble opinion, in harmony with the Arhat doctrine relating to the same subject. The latter doctrine postulates the existence of Cosmic matter in an undifferentiated condition throughout the infinite expanse of space. Space and time are but its aspects, and Purush, the seventh principle of the universe, has its latent life in this ocean of Cosmic matter. The doctrine in question explains Cosmogony from an objective point of view. When the period of activity arrives, portions of the whole differentiate according to the latent law. When this differentiation has commenced, the concealed wisdom or latent Chichakti acts in the universal mind, and Cosmic energy or Fohat forms the manifested universe in accordance with the conceptions generated in the universal mind out of the differentiated principles of Cosmic matter. This manifested universe constitutes a solar system. When the period of Pralaya comes, the process of differentiation stops and Cosmic ideation ceases to exist; and at the time of Brahmapralaya or Mahapralaya the particles of matter lose all differentiation, and the matter that exists in the solar system returns to its original undifferentiated condition. The latent design exists in the one unborn eternal atom, the centre which exists everywhere and nowhere; and this is the one life that exists everywhere. Now, it will be easily seen that the undifferentiated Cosmic matter, Purush, and the ONE LIFE of the Arhat philosophers, are the Mulaprakriti, Chidakasam, and Chinmatra of the Adwaitee philosophers. As regards Cosmogony, the Arhat stand-point is objective, and the Adwaitee standpoint is subjective. The Arhat Cosmogony accounts for the evolution of the manifested solar system from undifferentiated Cosmic matter, and Adwaitee Cosmogony accounts for the evolution of Bahipragna from the original Chinmatra. As the different conditions of differentiated Cosmic matter are but the different aspects of the various conditions of Pragna, the Adwaitee Cosmogony is but the complement of the Arhat Cosmogony. The eternal principle is precisely the same in both the systems, and they agree in denying the existence of an extra-Cosmic God.

The Arhats call themselves Atheists, and they are justified in doing so if theism inculcates the existence of a conscious God governing the universe by his will-power. Under such circumstance the Adwaitee will come under the same denomination. Atheism and theism are words of doubtful import, and until their meaning is definitely ascertained it would be better not to use them in connection with any system of philosophy.


Prakriti and Purusha

Prakriti may be looked upon either as Maya when considered as the Upadhi of Parabrahmam or as Avidya when considered as the Upadhi of Jivatma (7th principle in man).1 Avidya is ignorance or illusion arising from Maya. The term Maya, though sometimes used as a synonym for Avidya, is, properly speaking, applicable to Prakriti only. There is no difference between Prakriti, Maya and Sakti; and the ancient Hindu philosophers made no distinction whatsoever between Matter and Force. In support of these assertions I may refer the learned hermit to “Swetaswatara Upanishad” and its commentary by Sankaracharya. In case we adopt the fourfold division of the Adwaitee philosophers, it will be clearly seen that Jagrata,2 Swapna3 and Sushupti Avasthas4 are the results of Avidya, and that Vyswanara,5 Hiranyagarbha6 and Sutratma7 are the manifestations of Parabrahmam in Maya or Prakriti. In drawing a distinction between Avidya and Prakriti, I am merely following the authority of all the great Adwaitee philosophers of Aryavarta. It will be sufficient for me to refer to the first chapter of the celebrated Vedantic treatise, the Panchadasi.

In truth, Prakriti and Purusha are but the two aspects of the same ONE REALITY. As our great Sankaracharya truly observes at the close of his commentary on the 23rd Sutra of the first chapter of the Brahma sutras, “Parabrahmam is Karta (Purush), as there is no other Adhishtatha,8 and Parabrahmam is Prakriti, there being no other Upadanam.” This sentence clearly indicates the relation between “the One Life” and “the One Element” of the Arha-philosophers. This will elucidate the meaning of the statement so often quoted by Adwaitees—“Sarvam Khalvitham Brahma”9 and also of what is meant by saying that Brahmam is the Upadanakarnam (material cause) of the Universe.


Morality and Pantheism

Questions have been raised in several quarters as to the inefficiency of Pantheism (which term is intended to include Esoteric Buddhism, Adwaitee Vedantism, and other similar religious systems) to supply a sound basis of morality.

The philosophical assimilation of meum and teum, it is urged, must of necessity be followed by their practical confusion, resulting in the sanction of cruelty, robbery, etc. This line of argument points, however, most unmistakably to the co-existence of the objection with an all but utter ignorance of the systems objected to, in the critic’s mind, as we shall show by-and-by. The ultimate sanction of morality, as is well known, is derived from a desire for the attainment of happiness and escape from misery. But schools differ in their estimate of happiness. Exoteric religions base their morality on the hope of reward and fear of punishment at the hands of an Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe by following the rules he has at his pleasure laid down for the obedience of his helpless subjects; in some cases, however, religions of later growth have made morality to depend on the sentiment of gratitude to that Ruler for benefits received. The worthlessness, not to speak of the mischievousness, of such systems of morality is almost self-evident. As a type of morality founded on hope and fear, we shall take an instance from the Christian Bible: “He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.” The duty of supporting the poor is here made to depend upon prudential motives of laying by for a time when the “giver to the poor” will be incapable of taking care of himself. But the Mahabharata says that “He that desireth a return for his good deeds loseth all merit; he is like a merchant bartering his goods.” The true springs of morality lose their elasticity under the pressure of such criminal selfishness; all pure and unselfish natures will fly away from it in disgust.

To avoid such consequences attempts have been made by some recent reformers of religion to establish morality upon the sentiment of gratitude to the Lord. But it requires no deep consideration to find that, in their endeavours to shift the basis of morality, these reformers have rendered morality entirely baseless. A man has to do what is represented to be a thing “dear unto the Lord” out of gratitude for the many blessings He has heaped upon him. But as a matter of fact he finds that the Lord has heaped upon him curses as well as blessings. A helpless orphan is expected to be grateful to him for having removed the props of his life, his parents, because he is told in consolation that such a calamity is but apparently an evil, but in reality the All-Merciful has underneath it hidden the greatest possible good. With equal reason might a preacher of the Avenging Ahriman exhort men to believe that under the apparent blessings of the “Merciful” Father there lurks the serpent of evil.

The modern Utilitarians, though the range of their vision is so narrow, have sterner logic in their teachings. That which tends to a man’s happiness is good, and must be followed, and the contrary shunned as evil. So far so good. But the practical application of the doctrine is fraught with mischief. Cribbed, cabined, and confined, by rank Materialism, within the short space between birth and death, the Utilitarians’ scheme of happiness is merely a deformed torso, which cannot certainly be considered as the fair goddess of our devotion.

The only scientific basis of morality is to be sought for in the soul-consoling doctrines of Lord Buddha or Sri Sankaráchárya. The starting-point of the “pantheistic” (we use the word for want of a better one) system of morality is a clear perception of the unity of the one energy operating in the manifested Cosmos, the grand result which it is incessantly striving to produce, and the affinity of the immortal human spirit and its latent powers with that energy, and its capacity to cooperate with the one life in achieving its mighty object.

Now knowledge or jnánam is divided into two classes by Adwaitee philosophers—Paroksha and Aparoksha. The former kind of knowledge consists in intellectual assent to a stated proposition, the latter in the actual realization of it. The object which a Buddhist or Adwaitee Yogi sets before himself is the realization of the oneness of existence, and the practice of morality is the most powerful means to that end, as we proceed to show. The principal obstacle to the realization of this oneness is the inborn habit of man of always placing himself at the centre of the Universe. Whatever a man might act, think, or feel, the irrepressible personality is sure to be the central figure. This, as will appear on reflection, is that which prevents every individual from filling his proper sphere in existence, where he only is exactly in place and no other individual is. The realization of this harmony is the practical or objective aspect of the GRAND PROBLEM. And the practice of morality is the effort to find out this sphere; morality, indeed, is the Ariadne’s clue in the Cretan labyrinth in which man is placed. From the study of the sacred philosophy preached by Lord Buddha or Sri Sankara paroksha knowledge (or shall we say belief?), in the unity of existence is derived, but without the practice of morality that knowledge cannot be converted into the highest kind of knowledge, or aproksha jnánam, and thus lead to the attainment of mukti. It availeth naught to intellectually grasp the notion of your being everything and Brahma, if it is not realized in practical acts of life. To confuse meum and teum in the vulgar sense is but to destroy the harmony of existence by a false assertion of “I,” and is as foolish as the anxiety to nourish the legs at the expense of the arms. You cannot be one with all, unless all your acts, thoughts, and feelings synchronize with the onward march of Nature. What is meant by the Brahmájnani being beyond the reach of Karma, can be fully realized only by a man who has found out his exact position in harmony with the One Life in Nature; that man sees how a Brahmajnáni can act only in unison with Nature, and never in discord with it: to use the phraseology of ancient writers on Occultism, a Brahmajnáni is a real “co-worker with Nature.” Not only European Sanskritists, but also exoteric Yogis, fall into the grievous mistake of supposing that, in the opinion of our sacred writers, a human being can escape the operation of the law of Karma by adopting a condition of masterly inactivity, entirely losing sight of the fact that even a rigid abstinence from physical acts does not produce inactivity on the higher astral and spiritual planes. Sri Sankara has very conclusively proved, in his commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, that such a supposition is nothing short of a delusion. The great teacher shows there that forcibly repressing the physical body from working does not free one from vásana or vritti—the inherent inclination of the mind to work. There is a tendency, in every department of Nature, for an act to repeat itself; the Karma acquired in the last preceding birth is always trying to forge fresh links in the chain, and thereby lead to continued material existence;—and this tendency can only be counteracted by unselfishly performing all the duties appertaining to the sphere in which a person is born; such a course alone can produce chitta suddhi, (purification of the mind), without which the capacity of perceiving spiritual truths can never be acquired.

A few words must here be said about the physical inactivity of the Yogi or the Mahatma. Inactivity of the physical body (sthula sarira) does not indicate a condition of inactivity either on the astral or the spiritual plane of action. The human spirit is in its highest state of activity in samádhi, (highest trance) and not, as is generally supposed, in a dormant, quiescent condition. And, moreover, it will be easily seen, by any one who examines the nature of occult dynamics, that a given amount of energy expended on the spiritual or astral plane is productive of far greater results than the same amount expended on the physical objective plane of existence. When an Adept has placed himself en rapport with the universal mind he becomes a real power in Nature. Even on the objective plane of existence the difference between brain and muscular energy, in their capacity of producing widespread and far-reaching results, can be very easily perceived. The amount of physical energy expended by the discoverer of the steam-engine might not have been more than that expended by a hardworking day-labourer. But the practical results of the labourer’s work can never be compared with the results achieved by the discovery of the steam-engine. Similarly, the ultimate effects of spiritual energy are infinitely greater than those of intellectual energy.

From the above considerations it is abundantly clear that the initiatory training of a true Vedantin Raj Yogi must be the nourishing of a sleepless and ardent desire of doing all in his power for the good of mankind on the ordinary physical plane, his activity being transferred, however, to the higher astral and spiritual planes as his development proceeds. In course of time, as the Truth becomes realized, the situation is rendered quite clear to the Yogi, and he is placed beyond the criticism of any ordinary man. The Mahanirvan Tantra says:

Charanti trigunátite ko vidhir ko nishedhava.

“For one, walking beyond the three gunas—Satva (feeling of gratification), Rajas (passional activity) and Tamas (inertness)—what injunction or what restriction is there?”—in the consideration of men, walled in on all sides by the objective plane of existence. This does not mean that a Mahatma can or will ever neglect the laws of morality, but that he, having unified his individual nature with Great Nature herself, is constitutionally incapable of violating any one of the laws of nature, and no man can constitute himself a judge of the conduct of the Great one without knowing the laws of all the planes of Nature’s activity. As honest men are honest without the least consideration of the criminal law, so a Mahatma is moral without reference to the laws of morality.

These are, however, sublime topics: we shall before conclusion notice some other considerations which lead the ordinary “pantheist” to the true foundation of morality. Happiness has been defined by John Stuart Mill as the state of absence of opposition. Manu gives the definition in more forcible terms:

Sarvam paravasam duhkham
Sarva matmavasam sukham
Idam jnayo samasena
Lakshanam sukhaduhkhayo.

“Every kind of subjugation to another is pain, and subjugation to one’s self is happiness: in brief, this is to be known as the characteristic marks of the two.” Now, it is universally admitted that the whole system of Nature is moving in a particular direction, and this direction, we are taught, is determined by the composition of two forces—namely, the one acting from that pole of existence ordinarily called “matter” towards the other pole called “spirit,” and the other in the opposite direction. The very fact that Nature is moving shows that these two forces are not equal in magnitude. The plane on which the activity of the first force predominates is called in occult treatises the “ascending arc,” and the corresponding plane of the activity of the other force is styled the “descending arc.” A little reflection will show that the work of evolution begins on the descending arc and works its way upwards through the ascending arc. From this it follows that the force directed towards spirit is the one which must, though not without hard struggle, ultimately prevail. This is the great directing energy of Nature, and, although disturbed by the operation of the antagonistic force, it is this that gives the law to her; the other is merely its negative aspect, for convenience regarded as a separate agent. If an individual attempts to move in a direction other than that in which Nature is moving, that individual is sure to be crushed, sooner or later, by the enormous pressure of the opposing force. We need not say that such a result would be the very reverse of pleasurable. The only way, therefore, in which happiness might be attained is by merging one’s nature in great Mother Nature, and following the direction in which she herself is moving: this again can only be accomplished by assimilating men’s individual conduct with the triumphant force of Nature, the other force being always overcome with terrific catastrophes. The effort to assimilate the individual with the universal law is popularly known as the practice of morality. Obedience to this universal law, after ascertaining it, is true religion, which has been defined by Lord Buddha “as the realization of the True.”

An example will serve to illustrate the position. Can a practical pantheist, or, in other words, an occultist, utter a falsehood? Now, it will be readily admitted that life manifests itself by the power of acquiring sensation, temporary dormancy of that power being suspended animation. If a man receives a particular series of sensations and pretends they are other than they really are, the result is that he exercises his will-power in opposition to a law of Nature on which, as we have shown, life depends, and thereby becomes suicide on a minor scale. Space prevents further discussion, but all the ten deadly sins mentioned by Manu and Buddha can be satisfactorily dealt with in the light sought to be focussed here.


Occult Study

The practical bearing of occult teaching on ordinary life is very variously interpreted by different students of the subject. For many Western readers of recent books on the esoteric doctrine, it even seems doubtful whether the teaching has any bearing on practical life at all. The proposal which it is supposed sometimes to convey, that all earnest inquirers should put themselves under the severe ascetic regimen followed by its regular Oriental disciples, is felt to embody a strain on the habits of modern civilization which only a few enthusiasts will be prepared to encounter. The mere intellectual charm of an intricate philosophy may indeed be enough to recommend the study to some minds, but a scheme of teaching that offers itself as a substitute for religious faith of the usual kind will be expected to yield some tangible results in regard to the future spiritual well-being of those who adopt it. Has occult philosophy nothing to give except to those who are in a position and willing to make a sacrifice in its behalf of all other objects in life? In that case it would indeed be useless to bring it out into the world. In reality the esoteric doctrine affords an almost infinite variety of opportunities for spiritual development, and no greater mistake could be made in connection with the present movement than to suppose the teaching of the Adepts merely addressed to persons capable of heroic self-devotion. Assuredly it does not discourage efforts in the direction of the highest achievement of occult progress, if any Western occultists may feel disposed to make them; but it is important for us all to keep clearly in view the lower range of possibilities connected with humbler aspirations.

I believe it to be absolutely true that even the slightest attention seriously paid to the instructions now emanating from the Indian Adepts will generate results within the spiritual principles of those who render it—causes capable of producing appreciable consequences in a future state of existence. Any one who has sufficiently examined the doctrine of Devachan will readily follow the idea, for the nature of the spiritual existence which in the ordinary course of things must succeed each physical life, provides for the very considerable expansion of any aspirations towards real knowledge that may be set going on earth. I will recur to this point directly, when I have made clearer the general drift of the argument I am trying to unfold. At the one end of the scale of possibilities connected with occult study lies the supreme development of Adeptship; an achievement which means that the person reaching it has so violently stimulated his spiritual growth within a short period, as to have anticipated processes on which Nature, in her own deliberate way, would have spent a great procession of ages. At the other end of the scale lies the small result to which I have just alluded—a result which may rather be said to establish a tendency in the direction of spiritual achievement than to embody such achievement. But between these two widely different results there is no hard and fast line that can be drawn at any place to make a distinct separation in the character of the consequences ensuing from devotion to occult pursuits. As the darkness of blackest night gives way by imperceptible degrees to the illumination of the brightest sunrise, so the spiritual consequences of emerging from the apathy either of pure materialism or of dull acquiescence in unreasonable dogmas, brighten by imperceptible degrees from the faintest traces of Devachanic improvement into the full blaze of the highest perfection human nature, can attain. Without assuming that the course of Nature which prescribes for each human Ego successive physical lives and successive periods of spiritual refreshment—without supposing that this course is altered by such moderate devotion to occult study as is compatible with the ordinary conditions of European life, it will nevertheless be seen how vast the consequences may ultimately be of impressing on that career of evolution a distinct tendency in the direction of supreme enlightenment, of that result which is described as the union of the individual soul with universal spirit.

The explanations of the esoteric doctrine which have been publicly given, have shown that humanity in the mass has now attained a stage in the great evolutionary cycle from which it has the opportunity of growing upward towards final perfection. In the mass it is, of course, unlikely that it will travel that road: final perfection is not a gift to be bestowed upon all, but to be worked for by those who desire it. It may be put within the theoretical reach of all; there may be no human creature living at this moment, of whom it can be said that the highest possibilities of Nature are impossible of attainment, but it does not follow by any means that every individual will attain the highest possibilities. Regarding each individual as one of the seeds of a great flower which throws out thousands of seeds, it is manifest that only a few, relatively to the great number, will become fully developed flowers in their turn. No unjust neglect awaits the majority. For each and every one the consequences of the remote future will be precisely proportioned to the aptitudes he develops, but only those can reach the goal who, with persistent effort carried out through a long series of lives, differentiate themselves in a marked degree from the general multitude. Now, that persistent effort must have a beginning, and granted the beginning, the persistence is not improbable. Within our own observation of ordinary life, good habits, even though they may not be so readily formed as bad ones, are not difficult to maintain in proportion to the difficulty of their commencement. For a moment it may be asked how this may be applied to a succession of lives separate from each other by a total oblivion of their details; but it really applies as directly to the succession of lives as to the succession of days within one life, which are separated from each other by as many nights. The certain operation of those affinities in the individual Ego which are collectively described in the esoteric doctrine by the word Karma, must operate to pick up the old habits of character and thought, as life after life comes round, with the same certainty that the thread of memory in a living brain recovers, day after day, the impressions of those that have gone before. Whether a moral habit is thus deliberately engendered by an occult student in order that it may propagate itself through future ages, or whether it merely arises from unintelligent aspirations towards good, which happily for mankind are more widely spread than occult study as yet, the way it works in each case is the same. The unintelligent aspiration towards goodness propagates itself and leads to good lives in the future; the intelligent aspiration propagates itself in the same way plus the propagation of intelligence; and this distinction shows the gulf of difference which may exist between the growth of a human soul which merely drifts along the stream of time, and that of one which is consciously steered by an intelligent purpose throughout. The human Ego which acquires the habit of seeking for knowledge becomes invested, life after life, with the qualifications which ensure the success of such a search, until the final success, achieved at some critical period of its existence, carries it right up into the company of those perfected Egos which are the fully developed flowers only expected, according to our first metaphor, from a few of the thousand seeds. Now, it is clear that a slight impulse in a given direction, even on the physical plane does not produce the same effect as a stronger one; so, exactly in this matter of engendering habits required to persist in their operation through a succession of lives, it is quite obvious that the strong impulse of a very ardent aspiration towards knowledge will be more likely than a weaker one to triumph over the so called accidents of Nature.

This consideration brings us to the question of those habits in life which are more immediately associated in the popular views of the matter with the pursuit of occult science. It will be quite plain that the generation within his own nature by an occult student of affinities in the direction of spiritual progress, is a matter which has little if anything to do with the outer circumstances of his daily life. It cannot be dissociated from what may be called the outer circumstances of his moral life, for an occult student, whose moral nature is consciously ignoble, and who combines the pursuit of knowledge with the practice of wrong, becomes by that condition of things a student of sorcery rather than of true occultism—a candidate for satanic evolution instead of perfection. But at the same time the physical habits of life may be quite the reverse of ascetic, while all the while the thinking processes of the intellectual life are developing affinities which cannot fail in the results just seen to produce large ulterior consequences. Some misconception is very apt to arise here from the way in which frequent reference is made to the ascetic habits of those who purpose to become the regular chelas of Oriental Adepts. It is supposed that what is practised by the Master is necessarily recommended for all his pupils. Now this is far from being the case as regards the miscellaneous pupils who are gathering round the occult teachers lately become known to public report. Certainly even in reference to their miscellaneous pupils the Adepts would not discountenance asceticism. As we saw just now, there is no hard line drawn across the scale on which are defined the varying consequences of occult study in all its varying degrees of intensity—so with ascetic practice, from the slightest habits of self-denial, which may engender a preference for spiritual over material gratification, up to the very largest developments of asceticism required as a passport to chelaship, no such practices can be quite without their consequences in the all-embracing records of Karma. But, broadly speaking, asceticism belongs to that species of effort which aims at personal chelaship, and that which contemplates the patient development of spiritual growth along the slow track of natural evolution claims no more, broadly speaking, than intellectual application. All that is asserted in regard to the opening now offered to those who have taken notice of the present opportunity, is, that they may now give their own evolution an impulse which they may not again have an opportunity of giving it with the same advantage to themselves if the present opportunity is thrown aside. True, it is most unlikely that any one advancing through Nature, life after life, under the direction of a fairly creditable Karma, will go on always without meeting sooner or later with the ideas that occult study implants. So that the occultist does not threaten those who turn aside from his teachings with any consequences that must necessarily be disastrous. He only says that those who listen to them must necessarily derive advantage from so doing in exact proportion to the zeal with which they undertake the study and the purity of motive with which they promote it in others.

Nor must it be supposed that those which have here been described as the lower range of possibilities in connection with occult study, are a mere fringe upon the higher possibilities, to be regarded as a relatively poor compensation accorded to those who do not feel equal to offering themselves for probation as regular chelas. It would be a grave misconception of the purpose with which the present stream of occult teaching has been poured into the world, if we were to think it a universal incitement to that course of action. It may be hazardous for any of us who are not initiates to speak with entire confidence of the intention of the Adepts, but all the external facts concerned with the growth and development of the Theosophical Society, show its purpose to be more directly related to the cultivation of spiritual aspirations over a wide area, than to the excitement of these with supreme intensity in individuals. There are considerations, indeed, which may almost be said to debar the Adepts from ever doing anything to encourage persons in whom this supreme intensity of excitement is possible, to take the very serious step of offering themselves as chelas. Directly that by doing this a man renders himself a candidate for something more than the maximum advantages that can flow to him through the operation of natural laws—directly that in this way he claims to anticipate the most favourable course of Nature and to approach high perfection by violent and artificial processes, he at once puts himself in presence of many dangers which would never beset him if he contented himself with a favourable natural growth. It appears to be always a matter of grave consideration with the Adepts whether they will take the responsibility of encouraging any person who may not have it in him to succeed, to expose himself to these dangers. For any one who is determined to face them and is permitted to do so, the considerations put forward above in regard to the optional character of personal physical training fall to the ground. Those ascetic practices which a candidate for nothing more than the best natural evolution may undertake if he chooses, with the view of emphasizing his spiritual Karma to the utmost, become a sine qua non in regard to the very first step of his progress. But with such progress the present explanation is not specially concerned. Its purpose has been to show the beneficial effects which may flow to ordinary people living ordinary lives, from even that moderate devotion to occult philosophy which is compatible with such ordinary lives, and to guard against the very erroneous belief that occult science is a pursuit in which it is not worth while to engage, unless Adeptship is held out to the student as its ultimate result.


Some Inquiries Suggested by Mr. Sinnett’s “Esoteric Buddhism”

The object of the following paper is to submit certain questions which have occurred to some English readers of “Esoteric Buddhism.” We have had the great advantage of hearing Mr. Sinnett himself explain many points which perplexed us; and it is with his sanction that we now venture to ask that such light as is permissible may be thrown upon some difficulties which, so far as we can discover, remain as yet unsolved. We have refrained from asking questions on subjects on which we understand that the Adepts forbid inquiry, and we respectfully hope that, as we approach the subject with a genuine wish to arrive at all the truth possible to us, our perplexities may be thought worthy of an authorized solution.

We begin, then, with some obvious scientific difficulties.

1. Is the Nebular Theory, as generally held, denied by the Adepts? It seems hard to conceive of the alternate evolution from the sun’s central mass of planets, some of them visible and heavy, others invisible,—and apparently without weight, as they have no influence on the movements of the visible planets.

2. And, further, the time necessary for the manvantara even of one planetary chain, much more of all seven, seems largely to exceed the probable time during which the sun can retain heat, if it is merely a cooling mass, which derives no important accession of heat from without. Is some other view as regards the maintenance of the sun’s heat held by the Adepts?

3. The different races which succeed each other on the earth are said to be separated by catastrophes, among which continental subsidences occupy a prominent place. Is it meant that these subsidences are so sudden and unforeseen as to sweep away great nations in an hour? Or, if not, how is it that no appreciable trace is left of such high civilizations as are described in the past? Is it supposed that our present European civilization, with its offshoots all over the globe, can be destroyed by any inundation or conflagration which leaves life still existing on the earth? Are our existing arts and languages doomed to perish? or was it only the earlier races who were thus profoundly disjoined from one another?

4. The moon is said to be the scene of a life even more immersed in matter than the life on earth. Are there then material organizations living there? If so, how do they dispense with air and water, and how is it that our telescopes discern no trace of their works? We should much like a fuller account of the Adepts’ view of the moon, as so much is already known of her material conditions that further knowledge could be more easily adjusted than in the case (for instance) of planets wholly invisible.

5. Is the expression “a mineral monad” authorized by the Adepts? If so, what relation does the monad bear to the atom, or the molecule, of ordinary scientific hypothesis? And does each mineral monad eventually become a vegetable monad, and then at last a human being?

Turning now to some historical difficulties, we would ask as follows:

6. Is there not some confusion in the letter quoted on p. 62 of “Esoteric Buddhism,” where “the old Greeks and Romans” are said to have been Atlanteans? The Greeks and Romans were surely Aryans, like the Adepts and ourselves: their language being, as one may say, intermediate between Sanscrit and modern European dialects.

7. Buddha’s birth is placed (on p. 141) in the year 643 B.C.. Is this date given by the Adepts as undoubtedly correct? Have they any view as to the new inscriptions of Asoka (as given by General A. Cunningham, “Corpus Inscriptionum Indicanum,” vol. i. pp. 20-23), on the strength of which Buddha’s Nirvana is placed by Barth (“Religions of India,” p. 106), etc., about 476 B.C., and his birth therefore at about 556 B.C.? It would be exceedingly interesting if the Adepts would give a sketch however brief of the history of India in those centuries with authentic dates.

8. Sankaracharya’s date is variously given by Orientalists, but always after Christ. Barth, for instance, places him about 788 A.D. In “Esoteric Buddhism” he is made to succeed Buddha almost immediately (p. 149). Can this discrepancy be explained? Has not Sankaracharya been usually classed as Vishnuite in his teaching? And similarly has not Gaudapada been accounted a Sivite? and placed much later than “Esoteric Buddhism” (p. 147) places him? We would willingly pursue this line of inquiry, but think it best to wait and see to what extent the Adepts may be willing to clear up some of the problems in Indian religious history on which, as it would seem, they must surely possess knowledge which might be communicated to lay students without indiscretion.

We pass on to some points beyond the ordinary range of science or history on which we should be very glad to hear more, if possible.

9. We should like to understand more clearly the nature of the subjective intercourse with beloved souls enjoyed in Devachan. Say, for instance, that I die and leave on earth some young children. Are these children present to my consciousness in Devachan still as children? Do I imagine that they have died when I died? or do I merely imagine them as adult without knowing their life-history? or do I miss them from Devachan until they do actually die, and then hear from them their life-history as it has proceeded between my death and theirs?

10. We do not quite understand the amount of reminiscence attained at various points in the soul’s progress. Do the Adepts, who, we presume, are equivalent to sixth rounders, recollect their previous incarnations? Do all souls which live on into the sixth round attain this power of remembrance? or does the Devachan, at the end of each round bring a recollection of all the Devachans, or of all the incarnations, which have formed a part of that particular round? And does reminiscence carry with it the power of so arranging future incarnations as still to remain in company with some chosen soul or group of souls?

We have many more questions to ask, but we scruple to intrude further. And I will conclude here by repeating the remark with which we are most often met when we speak of the Adepts to English friends. We find that our friends do not often ask for so-called miracles or marvels to prove the genuineness of the Adepts’ powers. But they ask why the Adepts will not give some proof—not necessarily that they are far beyond us, but that their knowledge does at least equal our own in the familiar and definite tracks which Western science has worn for itself. A few pregnant remarks on Chemistry,—the announcement of a new electrical law, capable of experimental verification—some such communication as this (our interlocutors say), would arrest attention, command respect, and give a weight and prestige to the higher teaching which, so long as it remains in a region wholly unverifiable, it can scarcely acquire.

We gratefully recognize the very acceptable choice which the Adepts have made in selecting Mr. Sinnett as the intermediary between us and them. They could hardly have chosen any one more congenial to our Western minds:—whether we consider the clearness of his written style, the urbanity of his verbal expositions, or the earnest sincerity of his convictions. Since they have thus far met our peculiar needs with such considerate judgment, we cannot but hope that they may find themselves able yet further to adapt their modes of teaching to the requirements of Occidental thought.

LONDON, July, 1883.



It was not in contemplation, at the outset of the work begun in Fragments, to deal as fully with the scientific problems of cosmic evolution as now seems expected. A distinct promise was made, as Mr. Sinnett is well aware, to acquaint the readers with the outlines of Esoteric doctrines and—no more. A good deal would be given, much more kept back.

This seeming unwillingness to share with the world some of Nature’s secrets that may have come into the possession of the few, arises from causes quite different from the one generally assigned. It is not SELFISHNESS erecting a Chinese wall between occult science and those who would know more of it, without making any distinction between the simply curious profane, and the earnest, ardent seeker after truth. Wrong and unjust are those who think so; who attribute to indifference for other people’s welfare a policy necessitated, on the contrary, by a far-seeing universal philanthropy; who accuse the custodians of lofty physical and spiritual though long rejected truths, of holding them high above the people’s heads. In truth, the inability to reach them lies entirely with the seekers. Indeed, the chief reason among many others for such a reticence, at any rate, with regard to secrets pertaining to physical sciences—is to be sought elsewhere.1 It rests entirely on the impossibility of imparting that the nature of which is at the present stage of the world’s development, beyond the comprehension of the would-be learners, however intellectual and however scientifically trained may be the latter. This tremendous difficulty is now explained to the few, who, besides having read “Esoteric Buddhism,” have studied and understood the several occult axioms approached in it. It is safe to say that it will not be even vaguely realized by the general reader, but will offer the pretext for sheer abuse. Nay, it has already.

It is simply that the gradual development of man’s seven principles and physical senses has to be coincident and on parallel lines with Rounds and Root-races. Our fifth race has so far developed but its five senses. Now, if the Kama or Will-principle of the “Fourth-rounders” has already reached that stage of its evolution when the automatic acts, the unmotivated instincts and impulses of its childhood and youth, instead of following external stimuli, will have become acts of will framed constantly in conjunction with the mind (Manas), thus making of every man on earth of that race a free agent, a fully responsible being—the Kama of our hardly adult fifth race is only slowly approaching it. As to the sixth sense of this, our race, it has hardly sprouted above the soil of its materiality. It is highly unreasonable, therefore, to expect for the men of the fifth to sense the nature and essence of that which will be fully sensed and perceived but by the sixth—let alone the seventh race—i.e., to enjoy the legitimate outgrowth of the evolution and endowments of the future races with only the help of our present limited senses. The exceptions to this quasi-universal rule have been hitherto found only in some rare cases of constitutional, abnormally precocious individual evolutions; or, in such, where by early training and special methods, reaching the stage of the fifth rounders, some men in addition to the natural gift of the latter have fully developed (by certain occult methods) their sixth, and in still rarer eases their seventh, sense. As an instance of the former class may be cited the Seeress of Prevorst; a creature born out of time, a rare precocious growth, ill adapted to the uncongenial atmosphere that surrounded her, hence a martyr ever ailing and sickly. As an example of the other, the Count St. Germain may be mentioned. Apace with the anthropological and physiological development of man runs his spiritual evolution. To the latter, purely intellectual growth is often more an impediment than a help. An instance: radiant stuff—“the fourth state of matter”—has been hardly discovered, and no one—the eminent discoverer himself not excepted—has yet any idea of its full importance, its possibilities, its connection with physical phenomena, or even its bearing upon the most puzzling scientific problems. How then can any “Adept” attempt to prove the fallacy of much that is predicated in the nebular and solar theories when the only means by which he could successfully prove his position is an appeal to, and the exhibition of, that sixth sense-consciousness which the physicist cannot postulate? Is not this plain?

Thus, the obstacle is not that the “Adepts” would “forbid inquiry,” but rather the personal, present limitations of the senses of the average, and even of the scientific man. To undertake the explanation of that which at the outset would be rejected as a physical impossibility, the outcome of hallucination, is unwise and even harmful, because premature. It is in consequence of such difficulties that the psychic production of physical phenomena—save in exceptional cases—is strictly forbidden.

And now, “Adepts” are asked to meddle with astronomy—a science which, of all the branches of human knowledge has yielded the most accurate information, afforded the most mathematically correct data, and of the achievements in which the men of science feel the most justly proud! It is true that on the whole astronomy has achieved triumphs more brilliant than those of most other sciences. But if it has done much in the direction of satisfying man’s straining and thirsting mind and his noble aspirations for knowledge, physical as to its most important particulars, it has ever laughed at man’s puny efforts to wrest the great secrets of Infinitude by the help of only mechanical apparatus. While the spectroscope has shown the probable similarity of terrestrial and sidereal substance, the chemical actions peculiar to the variously progressed orbs of space have not been detected, nor proven to be identical with those observed on our own planet. In this particular, Esoteric Psychology may be useful. But who of the men of science would consent to confront it with their own handiwork? Who of them would recognise the superiority and greater trustworthiness of the Adept’s knowledge over their own hypotheses, since in their case they can claim the mathematical correctness of their deductive reasonings based on the alleged unerring precision of the modern instruments; while the Adepts can claim but their knowledge of the ultimate nature of the materials they have worked with for ages, resulting in the phenomena produced. However much it may be urged that a deductive argument, besides being an incomplete syllogistic form, may often be in conflict with fact; that their major propositions may not always be correct, although the predicates of their conclusions seem correctly drawn—spectrum analysis will not be acknowledged as inferior to purely spiritual research. Nor, before developing his sixth sense, will the man of science concede the error of his theories as to the solar spectrum, unless he abjure, to some degree at least, his marked weakness for conditional and disjunctive syllogisms ending in eternal dilemmas. At present the “Adepts” do not see any help for it. Were these invisible and unknown profanes to interfere with—not to say openly contradict—the dicta of the Royal Society, contempt and ridicule, followed by charges of crass ignorance of the first elementary principles of modern science would be their only reward; while those who would lend an ear to their “vagaries,” would be characterized immediately as types of the “mild lunatics” of the age. Unless, indeed, the whole of that august body should be initiated into the great Mysteries at once, and without any further ado or the preliminary and usual preparations or training, the F. R. S.’s could be miraculously endowed with the required sixth sense, the Adepts fear the task would be profitless. The latter have given quite enough, little though it may seem, for the purposes of a first trial. The sequence of martyrs to the great universal truths has never been once broken; and the long list of known and unknown sufferers, headed with the name of Galileo, now closes with that of Zöllner. Is the world of science aware of the real cause of Zöllner’s premature death? When the fourth dimension of space becomes a scientific reality like the fourth state of matter, he may have a statue raised to him by grateful posterity. But this will neither recall him to life, nor will it obliterate the days and months of mental agony that harassed the soul of this intuitional, far-seeing, modest genius, made even after his death to receive the donkey’s kick of misrepresentation and to be publicly charged with lunacy.

Hitherto, astronomy could grope between light and darkness only with the help of the uncertain guidance offered it by analogy. It has reduced to fact and mathematical precision the physical motion and the paths of the heavenly bodies, and—no more. So far, it has been unable to discover with any approach to certainty the physical constitution of either sun, stars, or even cometary matter. Of the latter, it seems to know no more than was taught 5,000 years ago by the official astronomers of old Chaldea and Egypt—namely, that it is vaporous, since it transmits the rays of stars and planets without any sensible obstruction. But let the modern chemist be asked to tell one whether this matter is in any way connected with, or akin to, that of any of the gases he is acquainted with; or again, to any of the solid elements of his chemistry. The probable answer received will be very little calculated to solve the world’s perplexity; since, all hypotheses to the contrary notwithstanding, cometary matter does not appear to possess even the common law of adhesion or of chemical affinity. The reason for it is very simple. And the truth ought long ago to have dawned upon the experimentalists, since our little world (though so repeatedly visited by the hairy and bearded travellers, enveloped in the evanescent veil of their tails, and otherwise brought in contact with that matter) has neither been smothered by an addition of nitrogen gas, nor deluged by an excess of hydrogen, nor yet perceptibly affected by a surplus of oxygen. The essence of cometary matter must be—and the “Adepts” say istotally different from any of the chemical or physical characteristics with which the greatest chemists and physicists of the earth are familiar—all recent hypotheses to the contrary notwithstanding. It is to be feared that before the real nature of the elder progeny of Mula Prakriti is detected, Mr. Crookes will have to discover matter of the fifth or extra radiant state; et seq.

Thus, while the astronomer has achieved marvels in the elucidation of the visible relations of the orbs of space, he has learnt nothing of their inner constitution. His science has led him no farther towards a reading of that inner mystery than has that of the geologist, who can tell us only of the earth’s superficial layers, and that of the physiologist, who has until now been able to deal only with man’s outer shell, or Sthula Sarira. Occultists have asserted, and go on asserting daily, the fallacy of judging the essence by its outward manifestations, the ultimate nature of the life-principle by the circulation of the blood, mind by the gray matter of the brain, and the physical constitution of sun, stars and comets by our terrestrial chemistry and the matter of our own planet. Verily and indeed, no microscopes, spectroscopes, telescopes, photometers, or other physical apparatuses can ever be focussed on either the macro- or micro-cosmical highest principles, nor will the mayavirupa of either yield its mystery to physical inquiry. The methods of spiritual research and psychological observation are the only efficient agencies to employ. We have to proceed by analogy in everything to be sure. Yet the candid men of science must very soon find out that it is not sufficient to examine a few stars—a handful of sand, as it were, from the margin of the shoreless, cosmic ocean—to conclude that these stars are the same as all other stars—our earth included; that, because they have attained a certain very great telescopic power, and gauged an area enclosed in the smallest of spaces when compared with what remains, they have, therefore, concurrently perfected the survey of all that exists within even that limited space. For, in truth, they have done nothing of the kind. They have had only a superficial glance at that which is made visible to them under the present conditions, with the limited power of their vision. And even though it were helped by telescopes of a hundred-fold stronger power than that of Lord Rosse, or the new Lick Observatory, the case would not alter. No physical instrument will ever help astronomy to scan distances of the immensity of which that of Sirius, situated at the trifle of 130,125,000,000,000 miles away from the outer boundary of the spherical area, or even that of (a) Capella, with its extra trifle of 295,355,000,000,0002 miles still farther away, can give them, as they themselves are well aware, the faintest idea. For, though an Adept is unable to cross bodily (i.e., in his astral shape) the limits of the solar system, yet he knows that, far stretching beyond the telescopic power of detection, there are systems upon systems, the smallest of which would, when compared with the system of Sirius, make the latter seem like an atom of dust embedded in the great Shamo desert. The eye of the astronomer, who thinks he also knows of the existence of such systems, has never rested upon them, has never caught of them, even that spectral glimpse, fanciful and hazy as the incoherent vision in a slumbering mind that he has occasionally had of other systems, and yet he verily believes he has gauged INFINITUDE! And yet these immeasurably distant worlds are brought as clear and near to the spiritual eye of the astral astronomer as a neighbouring bed of daisies may be to the eye of the botanist.

Thus, the “Adepts” of the present generation, though unable to help the profane astronomer by explaining the ultimate essence, or even the material constitution, of star and planet, since European science, knowing nothing as yet of the existence of such substances, or more properly of their various states or conditions, has neither proper terms for, nor can form any adequate idea of them by any description, they may, perchance, be able to prove what this matter is not—and this is more than sufficient for all present purposes. The next best thing to learning what is true is to ascertain what is not true.

Having thus anticipated a few general objections, and traced a limit to expectations, since there is no need of drawing any veil of mystery before “An English F. T. S.,” his few questions may be partially answered. The negative character of the replies draws a sufficiently strong line of demarcation between the views of the Adepts and those of Western science to afford some useful hints at least.


Answer:—No; they do not deny its general propositions, nor the approximative truths of the scientific hypotheses. They only deny the completeness of the present, as well as the entire error of the many so-called “exploded” old theories, which, during the last century, have followed each other in such rapid succession. For instance: while denying, with Laplace, Herschel and others, that the variable patches of light perceived on the nebulous background of the galaxy ever belonged to remote worlds in the process of formation; and agreeing with modern science that they proceed from no aggregation of formless matter, but belong simply to clusters of “stars” already formed; they yet add that many of such clusters, that pass in the opinion of the astro-physicists for stars and worlds already evoluted, are in fact but collections of the various materials made ready for future worlds. Like bricks already baked, of various qualities, shapes and colour, that are no longer formless clay but have become fit units of a future wall, each of them having a fixed and distinctly assigned space to occupy in some forthcoming building, are these seemingly adult worlds. The astronomer has no means of recognizing their relative adolescence, except perhaps by making a distinction between the star clusters with the usual orbital motion and mutual gravitation, and those termed, we believe, irregular star-clusters of very capricious and changeful appearances. Thrown together as though at random, and seemingly in utter violation of the law of symmetry, they defy observation: such, for instance, are 5 M. Lyrae, 52 M. Cephei, Dumb-Bell, and some others. Before an emphatic contradiction of what precedes is attempted, and ridicule offered perchance, it would not be amiss to ascertain the nature and character of those other so-called “temporary “stars, whose periodicity, though never actually proven, is yet allowed to pass unquestioned. What are these stars which, appearing suddenly in matchless magnificence and splendour, disappear as mysteriously as unexpectedly, without leaving a single trace behind? Whence do they appear? Whither are they engulfed? In the great cosmic deep—we say. The bright “brick” is caught by the hand of the mason—directed by that Universal Architect which destroys but to rebuild. It has found its place in the cosmic structure and will perform its mission to its last Manvantaric hour.

Another point most emphatically denied by the “Adepts” is, that there exist in the whole range of visible heavens any spaces void of starry worlds. There are stars, worlds and systems within as without the systems made visible to man, and even within our own atmosphere, for all the physicist knows. The “Adept” affirms in this connection that orthodox, or so-called official science, uses very often the word “infinitude” without attaching to it any adequate importance; rather as a flower of speech than a term implying an awful, a most mysterious Reality. When an astronomer is found in his Reports “gauging infinitude,” even the most intuitional of his class is but too often apt to forget that he is gauging only the superficies of a small area and its visible depths, and to speak of these as though they were merely the cubic contents of some known quantity. This is the direct result of the present conception of a three-dimensional space. The turn of a four-dimensional world is near, but the puzzle of science will ever continue until their concepts reach the natural dimensions of visible and invisible space—in its septenary completeness. “The Infinite and the Absolute are only the names for two counter-imbecilities of the human (uninitiated) mind;” and to regard them as the transmuted “properties of the nature of things—of two subjective negatives converted into objective affirmatives,” as Sir W. Hamilton puts it, is to know nothing of the infinite operations of human liberated spirit, or of its attributes, the first of which is its ability to pass beyond the region of our terrestrial experience of matter and space. As an absolute vacuum is an impossibility below, so is it a like impossibility above. But our molecules, the infinitesimals of the vacuum “below,” are replaced by the giant-atom of the Infinitude “above.” When demonstrated, the four-dimensional conception of space may lead to the invention of new instruments to explore the extremely dense matter that surrounds us as a ball of pitch might surround—say, a fly, but which, in our extreme ignorance of all its properties save those we find it exercising on our earth, we yet call the clear, the serene, and the transparent atmosphere. This is no psychology, but simply occult physics, which can never confound “substance” with “centres of Force,” to use the terminology of a Western science which is ignorant of Maya. In less than a century, besides telescopes, microscopes, micrographs and telephones, the Royal Society will have to offer a premium for such an etheroscope.

It is also necessary in connection with the question under reply that “An English F. T. S.” should know that the “Adepts” of the Good Law reject gravity as at present explained. They deny that the so-called “impact theory” is the only one that is tenable in the gravitation hypothesis. They say, that if all efforts made by the physicists to connect it with ether, in order to explain electric and magnetic distance-action have hitherto proved complete failures, it is again due to the race ignorance of the ultimate states of matter in Nature, and, foremost of all, of the real nature of the solar stuff. Believing but in the law of mutual magneto-electric attraction and repulsion, they agree with those who have come to the conclusion that “Universal gravitation is a weak force,” utterly incapable of accounting for even one small portion of the phenomena of motion. In the same connection they are forced to suggest that science may be wrong in her indiscriminate postulation of centrifugal force, which is neither a universal nor a consistent law. To cite but one instance this force is powerless to account for the spheroidal oblateness of certain planets. For if the bulge of planetary equators and the shortening of their polar axes is to be attributed to centrifugal force, instead of being simply the result of the powerful influence of solar electro-magnetic attraction, “balanced by concentric rectification of each planet’s own gravitation achieved by rotation on its axis,” to use an astronomer’s phraseology (neither very clear nor correct, yet serving our purpose to show the many flaws in the system), why should there be such difficulty in answering the objection that the differences in the equatorial rotation and density of various planets are directly in opposition to this theory? How long shall we see even great mathematicians bolstering up fallacies to supply an evident hiatus! The “Adepts” have never claimed superior or any knowledge of Western astronomy and other sciences. Yet turning even to the most elementary textbooks used in the schools of India, they find that the centrifugal theory of Western birth is unable to cover all the ground. That, unaided, it can neither account for every spheroid oblate, nor explain away such evident difficulties as are presented by the relative density of some planets. How indeed can any calculation of centrifugal force explain to us, for instance, why Mercury, whose rotation is, we are told, only “about one-third that of the Earth, and its density only about one-fourth greater than the Earth,” should have a polar compression more than ten times greater than the latter? And again, why Jupiter, whose equatorial rotation is said to be “twenty-seven times greater, and its density only about one-fifth that of the Earth,” should have its polar compression seventeen times greater than that of the Earth? Or, why Saturn, with an equatorial velocity fifty-five times greater than Mercury for centrifugal force to contend with, should have its polar compression only three times greater than Mercury’s? To crown the above contradictions, we are asked to believe in the Central Forces as taught by modern science, even when told that the equatorial matter of the sun, with more than four times the centrifugal velocity of the earth’s equatorial surface and only about one-fourth part of the gravitation of the equatorial matter, has not manifested any tendency to bulge out at the solar equator, nor shown the least flattening at the poles of the solar axis. In other and clearer words, the sun, with only one-fourth of our earth’s density for the centrifugal force to work upon, has no polar compression at all! We find this objection made by more than one astronomer, yet never explained away satisfactorily so far as the “Adepts” are aware.

Therefore do they say that the great men of science of the West, knowing nothing or next to nothing either about cometary matter, centrifugal and centripetal forces, the nature of the nebulæ, or the physical constitution of the sun, stars, or even the moon, are imprudent to speak so confidently as they do about the “central mass of the sun” whirling out into space planets, comets, and whatnot. Our humble opinion being wanted, we maintain: that it evolutes out, but the life principle, the soul of these bodies, giving and receiving it back in our little solar system, as the “Universal Life-giver,” the ONE LIFE gives and receives it in the Infinitude and Eternity; that the Solar System is as much the Microcosm of the ONE Macrocosm, as man is the former when compared with his own little solar cosmos.

What are the proofs of science? The solar spots (a misnomer, like much of the rest)? But these do not prove the solidity of the “central mass,” any more than the storm-clouds prove the solid mass of the atmosphere behind them. Is it the non-coextensiveness of the sun’s body with its apparent luminous dimensions, the said “body” appearing “a solid mass, a dark sphere of matter confined within a fiery prison-house, a robe of fiercest flames?” We say that there is indeed a “prisoner” behind, but that having never yet been seen by any physical, mortal eye, what he allows to be seen of him is merely a gigantic reflection, an illusive phantasma of “solar appendages of some sort,” as Mr. Proctor honestly calls it. Before saying anything further, we will consider the next interrogatory.


Such is the accepted theory of modern science it is not what the “Adepts” teach. The former says—the sun “derives no important accession of heat from without” the latter answer—“the sun needs it not.” He is quite as self dependent as he is self-luminous; and for the maintenance of his heat requires no help, no foreign accession of vital energy; for he is the heart of his system, a heart that will not cease its throbbing until its hour of rest shall come. Were the sun “a cooling mass,” our great life-giver would have indeed grown dim with age by this time, and found some trouble to keep his watch-fires burning for the future races to accomplish their cycles, and the planetary chains to achieve their rounds. There would remain no hope for evoluting humanity; except perhaps in what passes for science in the astronomical textbooks of Missionary Schools—namely, that “the sun has an orbital journey of a hundred millions of years before him, and the system yet but seven thousand years old!” (Prize Book, “Astronomy for General Readers.”)

The “Adepts,” who are thus forced to demolish before they can reconstruct, deny most emphatically (a) that the sun is in combustion, in any ordinary sense of the word; or (b) that he is incandescent, or even burning, though he is glowing; or (c) that his luminosity has already begun to weaken and his power of combustion may be exhausted within a given and conceivable time; or even (d) that his chemical and physical constitution contains any of the elements of terrestrial chemistry in any of the states that either chemist or physicist is acquainted with. With reference to the latter, they add that, properly speaking, though the body of the sun—a body that was never yet reflected by telescope or spectroscope that man invented—cannot be said to be constituted of those terrestrial elements with the state of which the chemist is familiar, yet that these elements are all present in the sun’s outward robes, and a host more of elements unknown so far to science. There seems little need, indeed, to have waited so long for the lines belonging to these respective elements to correspond with dark lines of the solar spectrum to know that no element present on our earth could ever be possibly found wanting in the sun; although, on the other hand, there are many others in the sun which have either not reached or not as yet been discovered on our globe. Some may be missing in certain stars and heavenly bodies still in the process of formation; or, properly speaking, though present in them, these elements on account of their undeveloped state may not respond as yet to the usual scientific tests. But how can the earth possess that which the sun has never had? The “Adepts” affirm as a fact that the true Sun—an invisible orb of which the known one is the shell, mask, or clothing—has in him the spirit of every clement that exists in the solar system; and his “Chromosphere,” as Mr. Lockyer named it, has the same, only in a far more developed condition, though still in a state unknown on earth; our planet having to await its further growth and development before any of its elements can be reduced to the condition they are in within that chromosphere. Nor can the substance producing the coloured light in the latter be properly called solid, liquid, or even “gaseous,” as now supposed, for it is neither. Thousands of years before Leverrier and Padri Secchi, the old Aryans sung of Surya . . . “hiding behind his Yogi,3 robes his head that no one could see;” the ascetic’s dress being, as all know, dyed expressly into a red-yellow hue, a colouring matter with pinkish patches on it, rudely representing the vital principle in man’s blood—the symbol of the vital principle in the sun, or what is now called chromosphere. The “rose-coloured region!” How little astronomers will ever know of its real nature, even though hundreds of eclipses furnish them with the indisputable evidence of its presence. The sun is so thickly surrounded by a shell of this “red matter,” that it is useless for them to speculate with only the help of their physical instruments, upon the nature of that which they can never see or detect with mortal eye behind that brilliant, radiant zone of matter.

If the “Adepts” are asked: “What then, in your views, is the nature of our sun and what is there beyond that cosmic veil?”—they answer: beyond rotates and beats the heart and head of our system; externally is spread its robe, the nature of which is not matter, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous, such as you are acquainted with, but vital electricity, condensed and made visible.4 And if the statement is objected to on the grounds that were the luminosity of the sun due to any other cause than combustion and flame, no physical law of which Western science has any knowledge could account for the existence of such intensely high temperature of the sun without combustion; that such a temperature, besides burning with its light and flame every visible thing in our universe, would show its luminosity of a homogeneous and uniform intensity throughout, which it does not; that undulations and disturbances in the photosphere, the growing of the “protuberances,” and a fierce raging of elements in combustion have been observed in the sun, with their tongues of fire and spots exhibiting every appearance of cyclonic motion, and “solar storms,” etc. etc.; to this the only answer that can be given is the following: the appearances are all there, yet it is not combustion. Undoubtedly were the “robes,” the dazzling drapery which now envelopes the whole of the sun’s globe, withdrawn, or even “the shining atmosphere which permits us to see the sun” (as Sir William Herschel thought) removed so as to allow one trifling rent, our whole universe would be reduced to ashes. Jupiter Fulminator revealing himself to his beloved would incinerate her instantly. But it can never be. The protecting shell is of a thickness and at a distance from the universal HEART that can hardly be ever calculated by your mathematicians. And how can they hope to see the sun’s inner body once that the existence of that “chromosphere” is ascertained, though its actual density may be still unknown, when one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of their authorities—Sir W. Herschel—says the following: “The sun, also, has its atmosphere, and if some of the fluids which enter into its composition should be of a shining brilliancy, while others are merely transparent, any temporary cause which may remove the lucid fluid will permit us to see the body of the sun through the transparent ones.” The underlined words, written nearly eighty years ago, embody the wrong hypothesis that the body of the sun might be seen under such circumstances, whereas it is only the far-away layers of “the lucid fluid” that would be perceived. And what the great astronomer adds invalidates entirely the first portion of his assumption: “If an observer were placed on the moon, he would see the solid body of our earth only in those places where the transparent fluids of the atmosphere would permit him. In others, the opaque vapours would reflect the light of the sun without permitting his view to penetrate to the surface of our globe.” Thus, if the atmosphere of our earth, which in its relation to the “atmosphere” (?) of the sun is like the tenderest skin of a fruit compared with the thickest husk of a cocoa-nut, would prevent the eye of an observer standing on the moon from penetrating everywhere “to the surface of our globe,” how can an astronomer ever expect his sight to penetrate to the sun’s surface, from our earth and at a distance of from 85 to 95 million miles,5 whereas, the moon, we are told, is only about 238,000 miles! The proportionately larger size of the sun does not bring it any the more within the scope of our physical vision. Truly remarks Sir W. Herschel that the sun “has been called a globe of fire, perhaps metaphorically!” It has been supposed that the dark spots were solid bodies revolving near the sun’s surface. “They have been conjectured to be the smoke of volcanoes the scum floating upon an ocean of fluid matter. . . . They have been taken for clouds . . . . explained to be opaque masses swimming in the fluid matter of the sun. . . .” When all his anthropomorphic conceptions are put aside, Sir John Herschel, whose intuition was still greater than his great learning, alone of all astronomers comes near the truth—far nearer than any of those modern astronomers who, while admiring his gigantic learning, smile at his “imaginative and fanciful theories.” His only mistake, now shared by most astronomers, was that he regarded the “opaque body” occasionally observed through the curtain of the “luminous envelope” as the sun itself. When saying in the course of his speculations upon the Nasmyth willow-leaf theory—“the definite shape of these objects, their exact similarity one to another . . . . all these characters seem quite repugnant to the notion of their being of a vaporous, a cloudy, or a fluid nature”—his spiritual intuition served him better than his remarkable knowledge of physical science. When he adds: “Nothing remains but to consider them as separate and independent sheets, flakes . . . . having some sort of solidity . . . Be they what they may, they are evidently the immediate sources of the solar light and heat”—he utters a grander physical truth than was ever uttered by any living astronomer. And when, furthermore, we find him postulating—“looked at in this point of view, we cannot refuse to regard them as organisms of some peculiar and amazing kind; and though it would be too daring to speak of such organization as partaking of the nature of life, yet we do know that vital action is competent to develop at once heat, and light, and electricity,” Sir John Herschel gives out a theory approximating an occult truth more than any of the profane ever did with regard to solar physics. These “wonderful objects” are not, as a modern astronomer interprets Sir J. Herschel’s words, “solar inhabitants, whose fiery constitution enables them to illuminate, warm and electricize the whole solar system,” but simply the reservoirs of solar vital energy, the vital electricity that feeds the whole system in which it lives, and breathes, and has its being. The sun is, as we say, the storehouse of our little cosmos, self-generating its vital fluid, and ever receiving a much as it gives out. Were the astronomers to be asked—what definite and positive fact exists at the root of their solar theory—what knowledge they have of solar combustion and atmosphere—they might, perchance, feel embarrassed when confronted with all their present theories. For it is sufficient to make a résume of what the solar phycisists do not know, to gain conviction that they are as far as ever from a definite knowledge of the constitution and ultimate nature of the heavenly bodies. We may, perhaps, be permitted to enumerate:

Beginning with, as Mr. Proctor wisely calls it, “the wildest assumption possible,” that there is, in accordance with the law of analogy, some general resemblance between the materials in, and the processes at work upon, the sun, and those materials with which terrestrial chemistry and physics are familiar, what is that sum of results achieved by spectroscopic and other analyses of the surface and the inner constitution of the sun, which warrants any one in establishing the axiom of the sun’s combustion and gradual extinction? They have no means, as they themselves daily confess, of experimenting upon, hence of determining, the sun’s physical condition; for (a) they are ignorant of the atmospheric limits; (b) even though it were proved that matter, such as they know of, is continuously falling upon the sun, being ignorant of its real velocity and the nature of the material it falls upon, they are unable “to discuss of the effect of motions wholly surpassing in velocity . . . . enormously exceeding even the inconceivable velocity of many meteors;” (c) confessedly—they “have no means of learning whence that part of the light comes which gives the continuous spectrum” . . . . hence no means of determining how great a depth of the solar substance is concerned in sending out that light. This light “may come from the surface layers only;” and, “it may be but a shell” . . . . (truly!); and finally, (d) they have yet to learn “how far combustion, properly so-called, can take place within the sun’s mass;” and “whether these processes, which we (they) recognize as combustion, are the only processes of combustion which can actually take place there.” Therefore, Mr. Proctor for one comes to the happy and prudent idea after all “that what had been supposed the most marked characteristic of incandescent solid and liquid bodies, is thus shown to be a possible characteristic of the light of the glowing gas.” Thus, the whole basis of their reasoning having been shaken (by Frankland’s objection), they, the astronomers, may yet arrive at accepting the occult theory, viz., that they have to look to the 6th state of matter, for divulging to them the true nature of their photospheres, chromospheres, appendages, prominences, projections and horns. Indeed, when one finds one of the authorities of the age in physical science—Professor Tyndall—saving that “no earthly substance with which we are acquainted, no substance which the fall of meteors has landed on the earth—would be at all competent to maintain the sun’s combustion;” and again:—“. . . multiplying all our powers by millions of millions, we do not reach the sun’s expenditure. And still, notwithstanding this enormous drain in the lapse of human history, we are unable to detect a diminution of his store . . . ”—after reading this, to see the men of science still maintaining their theory of “a hot globe cooling,” one may be excused for feeling surprised at such inconsistency. Verily is that great physicist right in viewing the sun itself as “a speck in infinite extension—a mere drop in the Universal sea;” and saying that, “to Nature nothing can be added; from Nature nothing can be taken away; the sum of her energy is constant, and the utmost man can do in the pursuit of physical truth, or in the applications of physical knowledge,; to shift the constituents of the never-varying total. The law of conservation rigidly excludes both creation and annihilation . . . the flux of power is eternally the same.” Mr. Tyndall speaks here as though he were an Occultist. Yet, the memento mori—“the sun is cooling . . . it is dying! . . . .” of the Western Trappists of Science resounds as loud as it ever did.

No, we say; no, while there is one man left on the globe, the sun will not be extinguished. Before the hour of the “Solar Parlaya” strikes on the watch-tower of Eternity, all the other worlds of our system will be gliding in their spectral shells along the silent paths of Infinite Space. Before it strikes, Atlas, the mighty Titan, the son of Asia and the nursling of Æther, will have dropped his heavy manvantaric burden and—died; the Pleïades, the bright seven Sisters, will have upon awakening hiding Sterope to grieve with them—to die themselves for their father’s loss. And, Hercules, moving off his left leg, will have to shift his place in heavens and erect his own funeral pile. Then only, surrounded by the fiery element breaking through the thickening gloom of the Pralayan twilight, will Hercules, expiring amidst a general conflagration, bring on likewise the death of our sun: he will have unveiled by moving off the “CENTRAL SUN”—the mysterious, the ever-hidden centre of attraction of our sun and system. Fables? Mere poetical fiction? Yet, when one knows that the most exact sciences, the greatest mathematical and astronomical truths went forth into the world among the hoi polloi from the circle of initiated priests, the Hierophants of the sanctum sanctorum of the old temples, under the guise of religious fables, it may not be amiss to search for universal truths even under the patches of fiction’s harlequinade. This fable about the Pleiades, the seven Sisters, Atlas, and Hercules exists identical in subject, though under other names, in the sacred Hindu hooks, and has likewise the same occult meaning. But then like the Ramayana “borrowed from the Greek Iliad” and the Bhagavat-Gita and Krishna plagiarized from the Gospel—in the opinion of the great Sanskritist, Prof. Weber, the Aryans may have also borrowed the Pleiades and their Hercules from the same source! When the Brahmins can be shown by the Christian Orientalists to be the direct descendants of the Teutonic Crusaders, then only, perchance, will the cycle of proofs be completed, and the historical truths of the West vindicated!


No such absurdity was ever postulated. The cataclysm that annihilated the choicest sub-races of the Fourth race, or the Atlanteans, was slowly preparing its work for ages; as any one can read in “Esoteric Buddhism” (page 54). “Poseidonis,” so called, belongs to historical times, though its fate begins to be realized and suspected only now. What was said is still asserted: every root-race is separated by a catastrophe, a cataclysm—the basis and historical foundation of the fables woven later on into the religious fabric of every people, whether civilized or savage, under the names of “deluges,” “showers of fire,” and such like.

That no “appreciable trace is left of such high civilization” is due to several reasons. One of these may be traced chiefly to the inability, and partially to the unwillingness (or shall we say congenital spiritual blindness of this our age!) of the modern archæologist to distinguish between excavations and ruins 50,000 and 4,000 years old, and to assign to many a grand archaic ruin its proper age and place in prehistoric times. For the latter the archæologist is not responsible—for what criterion, what sign has he to lead him to infer the true date of an excavated building bearing no inscription; and what warrant has the public that the antiquary and specialist has not made an error of some 20,000 years? A fair proof of this we have in the scientific and historic labelling of the Cyclopean architecture. Traditional archæology bearing directly upon the monumental is rejected. Oral literature, popular legends, ballads and rites, are all stifled in one word—superstition; and popular antiquities have become “fables” and “folk-lore.” The ruder style of Cyclopean masonry, the walls of Tyrius, mentioned by Homer, are placed at the farthest end—the dawn of pre-Roman history; the walls of Epirus and Mycenæ—at the nearest. The latter are commonly believed the work of the Pelasgi and probably of about 1,000 years before the Western era. As to the former, they were hedged in and driven forward by the Noachian deluge till very lately—Archbishop Usher’s learned scheme, computing that earth and man “were created 4,004 B.C.,” having been not only popular but actually forced upon the educated classes until Mr. Darwin’s triumphs. Had it not been for the efforts of a few Alexandrian and other mystics, Platonists, and heathen philosophers, Europe would have never laid her hands even on those few Greek and Roman classics she now possesses. And, as among the few that escaped the dire fate not all by any means were trustworthy—hence, perhaps, the secret of their preservation—Western scholars got early into the habit of rejecting all heathen testimony, whenever truth clashed with the dicta of their churches. Then, again, the modern Archæologists, Orientalists and Historians, are all Europeans; and they are all Christians, whether nominally or otherwise. However it may be, most of them seem to dislike to allow any relic of archaism to antedate the supposed antiquity of the Jewish records. This is a ditch into which most have slipped.

The traces of ancient civilizations exist, and they are many. Yet, it is humbly suggested, that so long as there are reverend gentlemen mixed up unchecked in archaeological and Asiatic societies; and Christian bishops to write the supposed histories and religions of non-Christian nations, and to preside over the meetings of Orientalists—so long will Archaism and its remains be made subservient in every branch to ancient Judaism and modern Christianity.

So far, archæology knows nothing of the sites of other and far older civilizations, except the few it has stumbled upon, and to which it has assigned their respective ages, mostly under the guidance of biblical chronology. Whether the West had any right to impose upon Universal History the untrustworthy chronology of a small and unknown Jewish tribe and reject, at the same time, every datum as every other tradition furnished by the classical writers of non-Jewish and non-Christian nations, is questionable. At any rate, had it accepted as willingly data coming from other sources, it might have assured itself by this time, that not only in Italy and other parts of Europe, but even on sites not very far from those it is accustomed to regard as the hotbed of ancient relies—Babylonia and Assyria—there are other sites where it could profitably excavate. The immense “Salt Valley” of Dasht-Beyad by Khorasson covers the most ancient civilizations of the world; while the Shamo desert has had time to change from sea to land, and from fertile land to a dead desert, since the day when the first civilization of the Fifth Race left its now invisible, and perhaps for ever hidden, “traces” under its beds of sand.

Times have changed, are changing. Proofs of the old civilizations and the archaic wisdom are accumulating. Though soldier-bigots and priestly schemers have burnt books and converted old libraries to base uses; though the dry rot and the insect have destroyed inestimably precious records; though within the historic period the Spanish brigands made bonfires of the works of the refined archaic American races, which, if spared, would have solved many a riddle of history; though Omar lit the fires of the Alexandrian baths for months with the literary treasures of the Serapeum; though the Sybilline and other mystical books of Rome and Greece were destroyed in war; though the South Indian invaders of Ceylon “heaped into piles as high as the tops of the cocoanut trees” the ollas of the Buddhists, and set them ablaze to light their victory—thus obliterating from the world’s knowledge early Buddhist annals and treatises of great importance: though this hateful and senseless Vandalism has disgraced the career of most fighting nations—still, despite everything, there are extant abundant proofs of the history of mankind, and bits and scraps come to light from time to time by what science has often called “most curious coincidences.” Europe has no very trustworthy history of her own vicissitudes and mutations, her successive races and their doings. What with their savage wars, the barbaric habits of the historic Goths, Huns, Franks, and other warrior nations, and the interested literary Vandalism of the shaveling priests who for centuries sat upon its intellectual life like a nightmare, an antiquity could not exist for Europe. And, having no Past to record themselves, the European critics, historians and archæologists have not scrupled to deny one to others—whenever the concession excited a sacrifice of biblical prestige.

No “traces of old civilizations” we are told! And what about the Pelasgi—the direct forefathers of the Hellenes, according to Herodotus? What about the Etruscans—the race mysterious and wonderful, if any, for the historian, and whose origin is the most insoluble of problems? That which is known of them only shows that could something more be known, a whole series of prehistoric civilizations might be discovered. A people described as are the Pelasgi—a highly intellectual, receptive, active people, chiefly occupied with agriculture, warlike when necessary, though preferring peace; a people ‘who built canals as no one else, subterranean water-works, dams, walls, and Cyclopean buildings of the most astounding strength; who are even suspected of having been the inventors of the so-called Cadmean or Phœnician writing characters from which all European alphabets are derived—who were they? Could they be shown by any possible means as the descendants of the biblical Peleg (Gen. x. 25) their high civilization would have been thereby demonstrated, though their antiquity would still have to be dwarfed to 2247 “B.C.” And who were the Etruscans? Shall the Easterns like the Westerns be made to believe that between the high civilizations of the pre-Roman (and we say—prehistoric) Tursenoï of the Greeks, with their twelve great cities known to history; their Cyclopean buildings, their plastic and pictorial arts, and the time when they were a nomadic tribe “first descended into Italy from their northern latitudes”—only a few centuries elapsed? Shall it be still urged that the Phœnicians with their Tyre 2750 “B.C.” (a chronology, accepted by Western history), their commerce, fleet, learning, arts, and civilization, were only a few centuries before the building of Tyre but “a small tribe of Semitic fishermen”? Or, that the Trojan war could not have been earlier than 1184 B.C., and thus Magna Græcia must be fixed somewhere between the eighth and the ninth Century “B.C.,” and by no means thousands of years before, as was claimed by Plato and Aristotle, Homer and the Cyclic Poems, derived from, and based upon, other records millenniums older? If the Christian historian, hampered by his chronology, and the freethinker by lack of necessary data, feel bound to stigmatize every non-Christian or non-Western chronology as “obviously fanciful,” “purely mythical,” and “not worthy of a moment’s consideration,” how shall one, wholly dependent upon Western guides get at the truth? And if these incompetent builders of Universal History can persuade their public to accept as authoritative their chronological and ethnological reveries, why should the Eastern student, who has access to quite different—and we make bold to say, more trustworthy—materials, be expected to join in the blind belief of those who defend Western historical infallibility? He believes—on the strength of the documentary evidence, left by Yavanachârya (Pythagoras) 607 “B.C.” in India, and that of his own national “temple records,” that instead of giving hundreds we may safely give thousands of years to the foundation of Cumæa and Magna Græcia, of which it was the pioneer settlement. That the civilization of the latter had already become effete when Pythagoras, the great pupil of Aryan Masters went to Crotone. And, having no biblical bias to overcome, he feels persuaded that, if it took the Celtic and Gaelic tribes Britannicæ Insulæ, with the ready-made civilizations of Rome before their eyes, and acquaintance with that of the Phœnicians whose trade with them began a thousand years before the Christian era; and to crown all with the definite help later of the Normans and Saxons—two thousand years before they could build their mediæval cities, not even remotely comparable with those of the Romans; and it took them two thousand five hundred years to get half as civilized; then, that instead of that hypothetical period, benevolently styled the childhood of the race, being within easy reach of the Apostles and the early Fathers, it must be relegated to an enormously earlier time. Surely if it took the barbarians of Western Europe so many centuries to develop a language and create empires, then the nomadic tribes of the “mythical” periods ought in common fairness—since they never came under the fructifying energy of that Christian influence to which we are asked to ascribe all the scientific enlightenment of this age—about ten thousand years to build their Tyres and their Veii, their Sidons and Carthagenes. As other Troys lie under the surface of the topmost one in the Troad; and other and higher civilizations were exhumed by Mariette Bey under the stratum of sand from which the archæological collections of Lepsius, Abbott, and the British Museum were taken; and six Hindu “Deihis,” superposed and hidden away out of sight, formed the pedestal upon which the Mogul conqueror built the gorgeous capital whose ruins still attest the splendour of his Delhi; so when the fury of critical bigotry has quite subsided, and Western men are prepared to write history in the interest of truth alone, will the proofs be found of the cyclic law of civilization. Modern Florence lifts her beautiful form above the tomb of Etrusean Florentia, which in her turn rose upon the hidden vestiges of anterior towns. And so also Arezzo, Perugia, Lucca, and many other European sites now occupied by modern towns and cities, are based upon the relics of archaic civilizations whose period covers ages incomputable, and whose names Echo has forgotten to even whisper through “the corridors of Time.”

When the Western historian has finally and unanswerably proven who were the Pelasgi, at least, and who the Etruscans, and the as mysterious Iapygians, who seem also to have had an earlier acquaintance with writing—as proved by their inscriptions—than the Phœnicians, then only may he menace the Asiatic into acceptance of his own arbitrary data and dogmas. Then also may he tauntingly ask “how it is that no appreciable trace is left of such high civilizations as are described in the Past?”

“Is it supposed that the present European civilization with its offshoots . . . . can be destroyed by any inundation or conflagration?” More easily than was many another civilization. Europe has neither the titanic and Cyclopean masonry of the ancients, nor even its parchments, to preserve the records of its “existing arts and languages.” Its civilization is too recent, too rapidly growing, to leave any positively indestructible relics of either its architecture, arts or sciences. What is there in the whole Europe that could be regarded as even approximately indestructible, without mentioning the debacle of the geological upheaval that follows generally such cataclysms? Is it its ephemeral Crystal Palaces, its theatres, railways, modern fragile furniture: or its electric telegraphs, phonographs, telephones, and micrographs? While each of the former is at the mercy of fire and cyclone, the last enumerated marvels of modern science can be destroyed by a child breaking them to atoms. When we know of the destruction of the “Seven World’s Wonders,” of Thebes, Tyre, the Labyrinth, and the Egyptian pyramids and temples and giant palaces, as we now see slowly crumbling into the dust of the deserts, being reduced to atoms by the hand of Time—lighter and far more merciful than any cataclysm—the question seems to us rather the outcome of modern pride than of stern reasoning. Is it your daily newspapers and periodicals, rags of a few days; your fragile books bearing the records of all your grand civilization, withal liable to become annihilated after a few meals are made on them by the white ants, that are regarded as invulnerable? And why should European civilization escape the common lot? It is from the lower classes, the units of the great masses who form the majorities in nations, that survivors will escape in greater numbers; and these know nothing of the arts, sciences, or languages except their own, and those very imperfectly. The arts and sciences are like the phœnix of old: they die but to revive. And when the question found on page 58 of “Esoteric Buddhism” concerning “the curious rush of human progress within the last two thousand years,” was first propounded, Mr. Sinnett’s correspondent might have made his answer more complete by saying: “This rush, this progress, and the abnormal rapidity with which one discovery follows the other, ought to be a sign to human intuition that what you look upon in the light of ‘discoveries’ are merely rediscoveries, which, following the law of gradual progress, you make more perfect, yet in enunciating, you are not the first to explain them.” We learn more easily that which we have heard about, or learnt in childhood. If, as averred, the Western nations have separated themselves from the great Aryan stock, it becomes evident that the races that first peopled Europe were inferior to the root-race which had the Vedas and the pre-historic Rishis. That which your far-distant forefathers had heard in the secrecy of the temples was not lost. It reached their posterity, which is now simply improving upon details.


No “Adept,” so far as the writers know, has ever given to “Lay Chela” his “views of the moon,” for publication. With Selenography, modern science is far better acquainted than any humble Asiatic ascetic may ever hope to become. It is to be feared the speculations on pp. 104 and 105 of “Esoteric Buddhism,” besides being hazy, are somewhat premature. Therefore, it may be as well to pass on to—


Any English expression that correctly translates the idea given is “authorized by the Adepts.” Why not? The term “monad” applies to the latent life in the mineral as much as it does to the life in the vegetable and the animal. The monogenist may take exception to the term and especially to the idea while the polygenist, unless he be a corporealist, may not. As to the other class of scientists, they would take objection to the idea even of a human monad, and call it “unscientific.” What relation does the monad bear to the atom? None whatever to the atom or molecule as in the scientific conception at present. It can neither be compared with the microscopic organism classed once among polygastric infusoria, and now regarded as vegetable and ranked among algæ; nor is it quite the monas of the Peripatetics. Physically or constitutionally the mineral monad differs, of course, from that of the human monad, which is neither physical, nor can its constitution be rendered by chemical symbols and elements. In short, the mineral monad is one—the higher animal and human monads are countless. Otherwise, how could one account for and explain mathematically the evolutionary and spiral progress of the four kingdoms? The “monad” is the combination of the last two Principles in man, the 6th and the 7th, and, properly speaking, the term “human monad” applies only to the Spiritual Soul, not to its highest spiritual vivifying Principle. But since divorced from the latter the Spiritual Soul could have no existence, no being, it has thus been called. The composition (if such a word, which would shock an Asiatic, seems necessary to help European conception) of Buddhi or the 6th principle is made up of the essence of what you would call matter (or perchance a centre of Spiritual Force) in its 6th and 7th condition or state; the animating ATMAN being part of the ONE LIFE or Parabrahm. Now the Monadic Essence (if such a term be permitted) in the mineral, vegetable and animal, though the same throughout the series of cycles from the lowest elemental up to the Deva kingdom, yet differs in the scale of progression.

It would be very misleading to imagine a monad as a separate entity trailing its slow way in a distinct path through the lower kingdoms, and after an incalculable series of transmigrations flowering into a human being; in short, that the monad of a Humboldt dates back to the monad of an atom of hornblende. Instead of saying a mineral monad, the correcter phraseology in physical science which differentiates every atom, would of course have been to call it the Monad manifesting in that form of Prakriti called the mineral kingdom. Each atom or molecule of ordinary scientific hypotheses is not a particle of something, animated by a psychic something, destined to blossom as a man after æons. But it is a concrete manifestation of the Universal Energy which itself has not yet become individualized: a sequential manifestation of the one Universal Monas. The ocean does not divide into its potential and constituent drops until the sweep of the life-impulse reaches the evolutionary stage of man-birth. The tendency towards segregation into individual monads is gradual, and in the higher animals comes almost to the point. The Peripatetics applied the word Monas to the whole Cosmos, in the pantheistic sense; and the Occultists while accepting this thought for convenience’ sake, distinguish the progressive stages of the evolution of the Concrete from the Abstract by terms of which the “Mineral Monad” is one. The term merely means that the tidal wave of spiritual evolution is passing through that arc of its circuit. The “Monadic Essence” begins to imperceptibly differentiate in the vegetable kingdom. As the monads are uncompounded things, as correctly defined by Leibnitz, it is the spiritual essence which vivifies them in their degrees of differentiation which constitutes properly the monad—not the atomic aggregation which is only the vehicle and the substance through which thrill the lower and higher degrees of intelligence. And though, as shown by those plants that are known as sensitives, there are a few among them that may be regarded as possessing that conscious perception which is called by Leibnitz apperception, while the rest are endowed but with that internal activity which may be called vegetable nerve-sensation (to call it perception would be wrong), yet even the vegetable monad is still the Monad in its second degree of awakening sensation. Leibnitz came several times very near the truth, but defined the monadic evolution incorrectly and often greatly blundered. There are seven kingdoms. The first group comprises three degrees of elementals, or nascent centres of forces—from the first stage of the differentiation of Mulaprakriti to its third degree—i.e., from full unconsciousness to semi-perception; the second or higher group embraces the kingdoms from vegetable to man; the mineral kingdom thus forming the central or turning-point in the degrees of the “Monadic Essence”—considered as an Evoluting Energy. Three stages in the elemental side; the mineral kingdom; three stages in the objective physical side—these are the seven links of the evolutionary chain. A descent of spirit into matter, equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution; a re-ascent from the deepest depths of materiality (the mineral) towards its status quo ante, with a corresponding dissipation of concrete organisms up to Nirvana—the vanishing point of differentiated matter. Perhaps a simple diagram will aid us:

The line A D represents the gradual obscuration of spirit as it passes into concrete matter; the point D indicates the evolutionary position of the mineral kingdom from its incipient (d) to its ultimate concretion (a); c, b, a, on the left-hand side of the figure, are the three stages of elemental evolution; i.e., the three successive stages passed by the spiritual impulse (through the elementals—of which little is permitted to be said) before they are imprisoned in the most concrete form of matter; and a, b, c, on the right-hand side, are the three stages of organic life, vegetable, animal, human. What is total obscuration of spirit is complete perfection of its polar antithesis—matter; and this idea is conveyed in the lines A D and D A. The arrows show the line of travel of the evolutionary impulse in entering its vortex and expanding again into the subjectivity of the ABSOLUTE. The central thickest line, d d, is the Mineral Kingdom.

The monogenists have had their day. Even believers in a personal god, like Professor Agassiz, teach now that, “There is a manifest progress in the succession of beings on the surface of the earth. The progress consists in an increasing similarity of the living fauna, and among the vertebrates especially, in the increasing resemblance to man. Man is the end towards which all the animal creation has tended from the first appearance of the first Palæozoic. fishes” (“Principles of Zoology,” pp. 205-6). The mineral “monad” is not an individuality latent, but an all-pervading Force which has for its Present vehicle matter in its lowest and most concrete terrestrial state; in man the monad is fully developed, potential, and either passive or absolutely active, according to its vehicle, the five lower and more physical human principles. In the Deva kingdom it is fully liberated and in its highest state—but one degree lower than the ONE Universal Life.6


It is always difficult to determine with precision the date of any particular event in the ancient history of India; and this difficulty is considerably enhanced by the speculations of European Orientalists, whose labours in this direction have but tended to thicken the confusion already existing in popular legends and traditions, which were often altered or modified to suit the necessities of sectarian controversy. The causes that have produced this result will be fully ascertained on examining the assumptions on which these speculations are based. The writings of many of these Orientalists are often characterized by an imperfect knowledge of Indian literature, philosophy and religion, and of Hindu traditions, and a contemptuous disregard for the opinions of Hindu writers and pundits. Very often, facts and dates are taken by these writers from the writings of their predecessors or contemporaries on the assumption that they are correct without any further investigation by themselves. Even when a writer gives a date with an expression of doubt as to its accuracy, his follower frequently quotes the same date as if it were absolutely correct. One wrong date is made to depend upon another wrong date, and one bad inference is often deduced from another inference equally unwarranted and illogical. And consequently, if the correctness of any particular date given by these writers is to be ascertained, the whole structure of Indian Chronology constructed by them will have to be carefully examined. It will be convenient to enumerate some of the assumptions above referred to before proceeding to examine their opinions concerning the date of Sankaracharya.

I. Many of these writers are not altogether free from the prejudices engendered by the pernicious doctrine, deduced from the Bible, whether rightly or wrongly, that this world is only six thousand years old. We do not mean to say that any one of these writers would now seriously think of defending the said doctrine. Nevertheless, it had exercised a considerable influence on the minds of Christian writers when they began to investigate the claims of Asiatic Chronology. If an antiquity of five or six thousand years is assigned to any particular event connected with the ancient history of Egypt, India or China, it is certain to be rejected at once by these writers without any inquiry whatever regarding the truth of the statement.

II. They are extremely unwilling to admit that any portion of the Veda can be traced to a period anterior to the date of the Pentateuch, even when the arguments brought forward to establish the priority of the Vedas are such as would be convincing to the mind of an impartial investigator untainted by Christian prejudices. The maximum limit of Indian antiquity is, therefore, fixed for them by the Old Testament; and it is virtually assumed by them that a period between the date of the Old Testament on the one side, and the present time on the other, should necessarily be assigned to every book in the whole range of Vedic and Sanskrit literature, and to almost every event of Indian history.

III. It is often assumed without reason that every passage in the Vedas containing philosophical or metaphysical ideas must be looked upon as a subsequent interpolation, and that every book treating of a philosophical subject must be considered as having been written after the time of Buddha or after the commencement of the Christian era. Civilization, philosophy and scientific investigation had their origin, in the opinion of these writers, within the six or seven centuries preceding the Christian era, and mankind slowly emerged, for the first time, from “the depths of animal brutality” within the last four or five thousand years.

IV. It is also assumed that Buddhism was brought into existence by Gautama Buddha. The previous existence of Buddhism, Jainism and Arhat philosophy is rejected as an absurd and ridiculous invention of the Buddhists and others, who attempted thereby to assign a very high antiquity to their own religion. In consequence of this erroneous impression every Hindu book referring to the doctrines of Buddhists is declared to have been written subsequent to the time of Gautama Buddha. For instance, Mr. Weber is of opinion that Vyasa, the author of the Brahma Sutras, wrote them in the fifth century after Christ. This is indeed a startling revelation to the majority of Hindus.

V. Whenever several works treating of various subjects are attributed to one and the same author by Hindu writings or traditions, it is often assumed, and apparently without any reason whatever in the majority of cases, that the said works should be considered as the productions of different writers. By this process of reasoning they have discovered two Badarayanas (Vyasas), two Patanjalis, and three Vararuchis. We do not mean to say that in every case identity of name is equivalent to identity of personality. But we cannot but protest against such assumptions when they are made without any evidence to support them, merely for the purpose of supporting a foregone conclusion or establishing a favourite hypothesis.

VI. An attempt is often made by these writers to establish the chronological order of the events of ancient Indian history by means of the various stages in the growth or development of the Sanskrit language and Indian literature. The time required for this growth is often estimated in the same manner in which a geologist endeavours to fix the time required for the gradual development of the various strata composing the earth’s crust. But we fail to perceive anything like a proper method in making these calculations. It will be wrong to assume that the growth of one language will require the same time as that of another within the same limits. The peculiar characteristics of the nation to whom the language belongs must be carefully taken into consideration in attempting to make any such calculation. The history of the said nation is equally important. Any one who examines Max Muller’s estimate of the so-called Sutra, Brahmana, Mantra and Khanda periods, will be able to perceive that no attention has been paid to these considerations. The time allotted to the growth of these four “strata” of Vedic literature is purely arbitrary.

We have enumerated these defects in the writings of European Orientalists for the purpose of showing to our readers that it is not always safe to rely upon the conclusions arrived at by these writers regarding the dates of ancient Indian history.

In examining the various quotations and traditions selected by European Orientalists for the purpose of fixing Sankaracharya’s date, special care must be taken to see whether the person referred to was the very first Sankaracharya who established the Adwaitee doctrine, or one of his followers who became the Adhipathis (heads) of the various Mathams (temples) established by him and his successors. Many of the Adwaitee Mathadhipatis who succeeded him (especially of the Sringeri Matham) were men of considerable renown and were well known throughout India during their time. They are often referred to under the general name of Sankaracharya. Consequently, any reference made to any one of these Mathadhipatis is apt to be mistaken for a reference to the first Sankaracharya himself.

Mr. Barth, whose opinion regarding Sankara’s date is quoted by “An English F. T. S.” against the date assigned to that teacher in Mr. Sinnett’s book on Esoteric Buddhism, does not appear to have carefully examined the subject himself. He assigns no reasons for the date given, and does not even allude to the existence of other authorities and traditions which conflict with the date adopted by him. The date which he assigns to Sankara appears in an unimportant footnote on page 89 of his book on “The Religions of India,” which reads thus: “Sankaracharya is generally placed in the eighth century; perhaps we must accept the ninth rather. The best accredited tradition represents him as born on the 10th of the month ‘Madhava’ in 788 A.D. Other traditions, it is true, place him in the second and fifth centuries. The author of the Dabistan, on the other hand, brings him as far down as the commencement of the fourteenth.” Mr. Barth is clearly wrong in saying that Sankara is generally placed in the eight century. There are as many traditions for placing him in some century before the Christian era as for placing him in some century after the said era, and it will also be seen from what follows that in fact evidence preponderates in favour of the former statement. It cannot be contended that the generality of Orientalists have any definite opinions of their own on the subject under consideration. Max Müller does not appear to have ever directed his attention to this subject. Monier Williams merely copies the date given by Mr. Wilson, and Mr. Weber seems to rely upon the same authority without troubling himself with any further inquiry about the matter. Mr. Wilson is probably the only Orientalist who investigated the subject with some care and attention; and he frankly confesses that the exact period at which “he (Sankara) flourished can by no means be determined” (p. 201 of vol. i. of his “Essays on the Religion of the Hindoos”). Under such circumstances the footnote above quoted is certainly very misleading. Mr. Barth does not inform his readers where he obtained the tradition referred to, and what reasons he has for supposing that it refers to the first Sankaracharya, and that it is “the best accredited tradition.” When the matter is still open to discussion, Mr. Barth should not have adopted any particular date if he is not prepared to support it and establish it by proper arguments. The other traditions alluded to are not intended, of course, to strengthen the authority of the tradition relied upon. But the wording of the footnote in question seems to show that all the authorities and traditions relating to the subject are comprised therein, when in fact the most important of them are left out of consideration, as will be shown hereafter. No arguments are to be found in support of the date assigned to Sankara in the other portions of Mr. Barth’s book, but there are a few isolated passages which may be taken either as inferences from the statement in question or arguments in its support, which it will be necessary to examine in this connection.

Mr. Barth has discovered some connection between the appearance of Sankara in India and the commencement of the persecution of the Buddhists, which he seems to place in the seventh and eighth centuries. In page 89 of his book he speaks of “the great reaction on the offensive against Buddhism which was begun in the Deccan in the seventh and eighth centuries by the schools of Kumarila and Sankara;” and in page 135 he states that the “disciples of Kumarila and Sankara, organized into military bands, constituted themselves the rabid defenders of orthodoxy.” The force of these statements is, however, considerably weakened by the author’s observations on pages 89 and 134, regarding the absence of any traces of Buddhist persecution by Sankara in the authentic documents hitherto examined, and the absurdity of legends which represent him as exterminating Buddhists from the Himalaya to Cape Comorin.

The association of Sankara with Kumarila in the passages above cited is highly ridiculous. It is well known to almost every Hindu that the followers of Purva Mimamsa (Kumarila commented on the Sutras) were the greatest and the bitterest opponents of Sankara and his doctrine, and Mr. Barth seems to be altogether ignorant of the nature of Kumarila’s views and Purva Mimamsa, and the scope and aim of Sankara’s Vedantic philosophy. It is impossible to say what evidence the author has for asserting that the great reaction against the Buddhists commenced in the seventh and eighth centuries, and that Sankara was instrumental in originating it. There are some passages in his book which tend to show that this date cannot be considered as quite correct. In page 135 he says that Buddhist persecution began even in the time of Asoka.

Such being the case, it is indeed very surprising that the orthodox Hindus should have kept quiet for nearly ten centuries without retaliating on their enemies. The political ascendency gained by the Buddhists during the reign of Asoka did not last very long; and the Hindus had the support of very powerful kings before and after the commencement of the Christian era. Moreover, the author says, in p. 132 of his book, that Buddhism was in a state of decay in the seventh century. It is hardly to be expected that the reaction against the Buddhists would commence when their religion was already in a state of decay. No great religious teacher or reformer would waste his time and energy in demolishing a religion already in ruins. But what evidence is there to show that Sankara was ever engaged in this task? If the main object of his preaching was to evoke a reaction against Buddhism, he would no doubt have left us some writings specially intended to criticize its doctrines and expose its defects. On the other hand, he does not even allude to Buddhism in his independent works. Though he was a voluminous writer, with the exception of a few remarks on the theory advocated by some Buddhists regarding the nature of perception, contained in his Commentary on the Brahma-Sutras, there is not a single passage in the whole range of his writings regarding the Buddhists or their doctrines; and the insertion of even these few remarks in his Commentary was rendered necessary by the allusions contained in the Sutras which he was interpreting. As, in our humble opinion, these Brahma-Sutras were composed by Vyasa himself (and not by an imaginary Vyasa of the fifth century after Christ, evolved by Mr. Weber’s fancy), the allusions therein contained relate to the Buddhism which existed to the date of Gautama Buddha. From these few remarks it will be clear to our readers that Sankaracharya had nothing to do with Buddhist persecution. We may here quote a few passages from Mr. Wilson’s Preface to the first edition of his Sanskrit Dictionary in support of our remarks. He writes as follows regarding Sankara’s connection with the persecution of the Buddhists:

“Although the popular belief attributes the origin of the Bauddha persecution to Sankaracharya, yet in this case we have some reason to distrust its accuracy. Opposed to it we have the mild character of the reformer, who is described as uniformly gentle and tolerant; and, speaking from my own limited reading in Vedanta works, and the more satisfactory testimony of Ram Mohun Roy, which he permits me to adduce, it does not appear that any traces of his being instrumental to any persecution are to be found in his own writings, all which are extant, and the object of which is by no means the correction of the Bauddha or any other schism, but the refutation of all other doctrines besides his own, and the reformation or re-establishment of the fourth religious order.”

Further on he observes that

“it is a popular error to ascribe to him the work of persecution; he does not appear at all occupied in that odious task, nor is he engaged in particular controversy with any of the Bauddhas.”

From the foregoing observations it will be seen that Sankara’s date cannot be determined by the time of the commencement of the Buddhist persecution, even if it were possible to ascertain the said period.

Mr. Barth seems to have discovered some connection between the philosophical systems of Sankara, Ramanuja and Anandathirtha, and the Arabian merchants who came to India in the first centuries of the Hejira, and he is no doubt fully entitled to any credit that may be given him for the originality of his discovery. This mysterious and occult connection between Adwaita philosophy and Arabian commerce is pointed out in p. 212 of his book, and it may have some bearing on the present question, if it is anything more than a figment of his fancy. The only reason given by him in support of his theory is, however, in my humble opinion, worthless. The Hindus had a prominent example of a grand religious movement under the guidance of a single teacher in the life of Buddha, and it was not necessary for them to imitate the adventures of the Arabian prophet. There is but one other passage in Mr. Barth’s book which has some reference to Sankara’s date. In page 207 he writes as follows:

“The Siva, for instance, who is invoked at the commencement of the drama of Sakuntala, who is at once God, priest and offering, and whose body is the universe, is a Vedantic idea. This testimony appears to be forgotten when it is maintained, as is sometimes done, that the whole sectarian Vedantism commences with Sankara.”

But this testimony appears to be equally forgotten when it is maintained, as is sometimes done by Orientalists like Mr. Barth, that Sankara lived in some century after the author of Sakuntala.

From the foregoing remarks it will be apparent that Mr. Barth’s opinion regarding Sankara’s date is very unsatisfactory. As Mr. Wilson seems to have examined the subject with some care and attention, we must now advert to his opinion and see how far it is based on proper evidence. In attempting to fix Amara Sinha’s date (which attempt ultimately ended in a miserable failure), he had to ascertain the period when Sankara lived. Consequently his remarks concerning the said period appear in his preface to the first edition of his Sanskrit Dictionary. We shall now reproduce here such passages from this preface as are connected with the subject under consideration and comment upon them. Mr. Wilson writes as follows:

“The birth of Sankara presents the same discordance as every other remarkable incident amongst the Hindus. The Kadali (it ought to be Koodali) Brahmins, who form an establishment following and teaching his system, assert his appearance about 2,000 years since; some accounts place him about the beginning of the Christian era, others in the third or fourth century after; a manuscript history of the kings of Konga, in Colonel Mackenzie’s Collection, makes him contemporary with Tiru Vikrama Deva Chakravarti, sovereign of Skandapura in the Dekkan, A.D. 178; at Sringeri, on the edge of the Western Ghauts, and now in the Mysore Territory, at which place he is said to have founded a College that still exists, and assumes the supreme control of the Smarta Brahmins of the Peninsula, an antiquity of 1,600 years is attributed to him, and common tradition makes him about 1,200 years old. The Bhoja Prabandha enumerates Sankara among its worthies, and as contemporary with that prince; his antiquity will then be between eight and nine centuries. The followers of Madhwacharya in Tuluva seem to have attempted to reconcile these contradictory accounts by supposing him to have been born three times; first at Sivuli in Tuluva about 1,500 years ago, again in Malabar some centuries later, and finally at Padukachaytra in Tuluva, no more than 6oo years since; the latter assertion being intended evidently to do honour to their own founder, whose date that was, by enabling him to triumph over Sankara in a supposititious controversy. The Vaishnava Brahmins of Madura say that Sankara appeared in the ninth century of Salivahana, or tenth of our era. Dr. Taylor thinks that, if we allow him about 900 years, we shall not be far from the truth, and Mr. Colebroke is inclined to give him an antiquity of about 1,000 years. This last is the age which my friend Ram Mohun Roy, a diligent student of Sankara’s works, and philosophical teacher of his doctrines, is disposed to concur in, and he infers that ‘from a calculation of the spiritual generations of the followers of Sankara Swami from his time up to this date, he seems to have lived between the seventh and eighth centuries of the Christian era,’ a distance of time agreeing with the statements made to Dr. Buchanan in his journey through Sankara’s native country, Malabar, and in union with the assertion of the Kerala Utpatti, a work giving art historical and statistical account of the same province, and which, according to Mr. Duncan’s citation of it, mentions the regulations of the castes of Malabar by this philosopher to have been effected about 1,000 years before 1798. At the same time, it must be observed, that a manuscript translation of the same work in Colonel Mackenzie’s possession, states Sankaracharya to have been born about the middle of the fifth century, or between thirteen or fourteen hundred years ago, differing in this respect from Mr. Duncan’s statement—a difference of the less importance, as the manuscript in question, either from defects in the original or translation, presents many palpable errors, and cannot consequently be depended upon. The weight of authority therefore is altogether in favour of an antiquity of about ten centuries, and I am disposed to adopt this estimate of Sankara’s date, and to place him in the end of the eighth and beginning of the ninth century of the Christian era.”

We will add a few more authorities to Mr. Wilson’s list before proceeding to comment on the foregoing passage.

In a work called “The Biographical Sketches of Eminent Hindu Authors,” published at Bombay in 1860 by Janardan Ramchenderjee, it is stated that Sankara lived 2,500 years ago, and that, in the opinion of some people, 2,200 years ago. The records of the Combaconum Matham give a list of nearly 66 Mathadhipatis from Sankara down to the present time, and show that he lived more than 2,000 years ago.

The Kudali Matham referred to by Mr. Wilson, which is a branch of the Sringeri Matham, gives the same date as the latter Matham, their traditions being identical. Their calculation can safely be relied upon as far as it is supported by the dates given on the places of Samadhi (something like a tomb) of the successive Gurus of the Sringeri Matham; and it leads us to the commencement of the Christian era.

No definite information is given by Mr. Wilson regarding the nature, origin, or reliability of the accounts which place Sankara in the third or fourth century of the Christian era or at its commencement; nor does it clearly appear that the history of the kings of Konga referred to unmistakably alludes to the very first Sancharacharya. These traditions are evidently opposed to the conclusion arrived at by Mr. Wilson, and it does not appear on what grounds their testimony is discredited by him. Mr. Wilson is clearly wrong in stating that an antiquity of 1,600 years is attributed to Sankara by the Sringeri Matham. We have already referred to the account of the Sringeri Matham, and it is precisely similar to the account given by the Kudali Brahmins. We have ascertained that it is so from the agent of the Sringeri Matham at Madras, who has recently published the list of teachers preserved at the said Matham with the dates assigned to them. And further, we are unable to see which “common tradition” makes Sankara “about 1,200 years old.” As far as our knowledge goes there is no such common tradition in India. The majority of people in Southern India have, up to this time, been relying on the Sringeri account, and in Northern India there seems to be no common tradition. We have but a mass of contradictory accounts.

It is indeed surprising that an Orientalist of Mr. Wilson’s pretensions should confound the poet named Sankara and mentioned in Bhoja Prabandha with the great Adwaitee teacher. No Hindu would ever commit such a ridiculous mistake. We are astonished to find some of these European Orientalists quoting now and then some of the statements contained in such books as Bhoja Prabandha, Katha Sarit Sagara, Raja-tarangini and Panchatantra, as if they were historical works. In some other part of his preface Mr. Wilson himself says that this Bhoja Prabandha is altogether untrustworthy, as some of the statements contained therein did not harmonize with his theory about Amarasimha’s date; but now he misquotes its statements for the purpose of supporting his conclusion regarding Sankara’s date. Surely, consistency is not one of the prominent characteristics of the writings of the majority of European Orientalists. The person mentioned in Bhoja Prabandha is always spoken of under the name of Sankara Kavi (poet), and he is nowhere called Sankaracharya (teacher), and the Adwaitee teacher is never mentioned in any Hindu work under the appellation of Sankara Kavi.

It is unnecessary for us to say anything about the Madhwa traditions or the opinion of the Vaishnava Brahmins of Madurah regarding Sankara’s date. It is, in our humble opinion, hopeless to expect anything but falsehood regarding Sankara’s history and his philosophy from the Madhwas and the Vaishnavas. They are always very anxious to show to the world at large that their doctrines existed before the time of Sankara, and that the Adwaitee doctrine was a deviation from their preexisting orthodox Hinduism. And consequently they have assigned to him an antiquity of less than 1,500 years.

It does not appear why Dr. Taylor thinks that he can allow Sankara about 900 years, or on what grounds Mr. Colebrooke is inclined to give him an antiquity of about 1,000 years. No reliance can be placed on such statements before the reasons assigned therefore are thoroughly sifted.

Fortunately, Mr. Wilson gives us the reason for Ram Mohun Roy’s opinion. We are inclined to believe that Ram Mohun Roy’s calculation was made with reference to the Sringeri list of Teachers or Gurus, as that was the only list published up to this time; and as no other Matham, except perhaps the Cumbaconum Matham, has a list of Gurus coming up to the present time in uninterrupted succession. There is no necessity for depending upon his calculation (which from its very nature cannot be anything more than mere guesswork) when the old list preserved at Sringeri contains the dates assigned to the various teachers. As these dates have not been published up to the present time, and as Ram Mohun Roy had merely a string of names before him, he was obliged to ascertain Sankara’s date by assigning a certain number of years on the average to every teacher. Consequently, his opinion is of no importance whatever when we have the statement of the Sringeri Matham which, as we have already said, places Sankara some centuries before the Christian era. The same remarks will apply to the calculation in question even if it were made on the basis of the number of teachers contained in the list preserved in the Cumbaconum Matham.

Very little importance can be attached to the oral evidence adduced by some unknown persons before Dr. Buchanan in his travels through Malabar; and we have only to consider the inferences that may be drawn from the accounts contained in Kerala Utpatti. The various manuscript copies of this work seem to differ in the date they assign to Sankaracharya; even if the ease were otherwise, we cannot place any reliance upon this work, for the following among other reasons:

I. It is a well-known fact that the customs of Malabar are very peculiar. Their defenders have been, consequently, pointing to some great Rishi or some great philosopher of ancient India as their legislator. Some of them affirm (probably the majority) that Parasurama brought into existence some of these customs and left a special Smriti for the guidance of the people of Malabar; others say that it was Sankaracharya who sanctioned these peculiar customs. It is not very difficult to perceive why these two persons were selected by them. According to the Hindu Puranas, Parasurama lived in Malabar for some time, and according to Hindu traditions Sankara was born in that country. But it is extremely doubtful whether either of them had anything to do with the peculiar customs of the said country. There is no allusion whatever to any of these customs in Sankara’s works. He seems to have devoted his whole attention to religious reform, and it is very improbable that he should have ever directed his attention to the local customs of Malabar. While attempting to revive the philosophy of the ancient Rishis, it is not likely that he should have sanctioned the customs of Malabar, which are at variance with the rules laid down in the Smritis of those very Rishis; and as far as our knowledge goes, he left no written regulations regarding to the castes of Malabar.

II. The statements contained in Kerala Utpatti are opposed to the account of Sankara’s life given in almost all the Sankara Vijayams (Biographies of Sankara) examined up to this time—viz., Vidyaranya’s Sankara Vijayam, Chitsukhachary’s Sankara Vijayavilasam, Brihat Sankara Vijayam, etc. According to the account contained in these works, Sankara left Malabar in his eighth year, and returned to his native village when his mother was on her death-bed, and on that occasion he remained there only for a few days. It is difficult to see at what period of his lifetime he was engaged in making regulations for the castes of Malabar.

III. The work under consideration represents Malabar as the seat of Bhattapada’s triumphs over the Buddhists, and says that this teacher established himself in Malabar and expelled the Buddhists from that country. This statement alone will be sufficient to show to our readers the fictitious character of the account contained in this book. According to every other Hindu work, this great teacher of Purva Mimamsa was born in Northern India; almost all his famous disciples and followers were living in that part of the country, and according to Vidyaranya’s account he died at Allahabad.

For the foregoing reasons we cannot place any reliance upon this account of Malabar.

From an examination of the traditions and other accounts referred to above, Mr. Wilson comes to the conclusion that Sankaracharya lived in the end of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth century of the Christian era. The accounts of the Sringeri, Kudali and Cumbaconum Mathams, and the traditions current in the Bombay Presidency, as shown in the biographical sketches published at Bombay, place Sankara in some century before the Christian era. On the other hand, Kerala Utpatti, the information obtained by Dr. Buchanan in his travels through Malabar, and the opinions expressed by Dr. Taylor and Mr. Colebrooke, concur in assigning to him an antiquity of about 1,000 years. The remaining traditions referred to by Mr. Wilson are as much opposed to his opinion as to the conclusion that Sankara lived before Christ. ‘We shall now leave it to our readers to say whether, under such circumstances, Mr. Wilson is justified in asserting that “the weight of authority is altogether in favour” of his theory.

We have already referred to the writings of almost all the European Orientalists who expressed an opinion upon the subject under discussion; and we need hardly say that Sankara’s date is yet to be ascertained.

We are obliged to comment at length on the opinions of European Orientalists regarding Sankara’s date, as there will be no probability of any attention being paid to the opinion of Indian and Tibetan initiates when it is generally believed that the question has been finally settled by European Sanskritists. The Adepts referred to by “An English F. T. S.” are certainly in a position to clear up some of the problems in Indian religious history. But there is very little chance of their opinions being accepted by the general public under present circumstances, unless they are supported by such evidence as is within the reach of the outside world. As it is not always possible to procure such evidence, there is very little use in publishing the information which is in their possession until the public are willing to recognize and admit the antiquity and trustworthiness of their traditions, the extent of their powers, and the vastness of their knowledge. In the absence of such proof as is above indicated, there is every likelihood of their opinions being rejected as absurd and untenable; their motives will no doubt be questioned, and some people may be tempted to deny even the fact of their existence. It is often asked by Hindus as well as by English men why these Adepts are so very unwilling to publish some portion at least of the information they possess regarding the truths of physical science. But, in doing so, they do not seem to perceive the difference between the method by which they obtain their knowledge and the process of modern scientific investigation by which the facts of Nature are ascertained and its laws are discovered. Unless an Adept can prove his conclusions by the same kind of reasoning as is adopted by the modern scientist they remain undemonstrated to the outside world. It is of course impossible for him to develop in a considerable number of human beings such faculties as would enable them to perceive their truth; and it is not always practicable to establish them by the ordinary scientific method unless all the facts and laws on which his demonstration is to be based have already been ascertained by modern science. No Adept can be expected to anticipate the discoveries of the next four or five centuries, and prove some grand scientific truth to the entire satisfaction of the educated public after having discovered every fact and law of Nature required for the said purpose by such process of reasoning as would be accepted by them. They have to encounter similar difficulties in giving any information regarding the events of the ancient history of India.

However, before giving the exact date assigned to Sankaracharya by the Indian and Tibetan initiates, we shall indicate a few circumstances by which his date may be approximately determined. it is our humble opinion that the Sankara Vijayams hitherto published can be relied upon as far as they are consistent with each other regarding the general outlines of Sankara’s life. We cannot, however, place any reliance whatever upon Anandagiri’s Sankara Vijaya published at Calcutta. The Calcutta edition not only differs in some very material points from the manuscript copies of the same work found in Southern India, but is opposed to every other Sankara Vijayam hitherto examined. It is quite clear from its style and some of the statements contained therein, that it was not the production of Anandagiri, one of the four chief disciples of Sankara and the commentator on his Upanishad Bhashyam. For instance, it represents Sankara as the author of a certain verse which is to be found in Vidyaranya’s Adhikaranaratnamala, written in the fourteenth century. It represents Sankara as giving orders to two of his disciples to preach the Visishtadwaitee and the Dwaitee doctrines, which are directly opposed to his own doctrine. The book under consideration says that Sankara went to conquer Mandanamisra in debate, followed by Sureswaraeharya, though Mandanamisra assumed the latter name at the time of initiation. It is unnecessary for us here to point out all the blunders and absurdities of this book. It will be sufficient to say that in our opinion it was not written by Anandagiri, and that it was the introduction of an unknown author who does not appear to have been even tolerably well acquainted with the history of the Adwaitee doctrine. Vidyaranya’s (otherwise Sayanachary, the great commentator of the Vedas) Sankara Vijaya is decidedly the most reliable source of information as regards the main features of Sankara’s biography. Its authorship has been universally accepted, and the information contained therein was derived by its author, as may be seen from his own statements, from certain old biographies of Sankara existing at the time of its composition. Taking into consideration the author’s vast knowledge and information, and the opportunities he had for collecting materials for his work when he was the head of the Sringeri Matham, there is every reason to believe that he had embodied in his work the most reliable information he could obtain. Mr. Wilson, however, says that the book in question is “much too poetical and legendary” to be acknowledged as a great authority. We admit that the style is highly poetical, but we deny that the work is legendary. Mr. Wilson is not justified in characterizing it as such on account of its description of some of the wonderful phenomena shown by Sankara. Probably the learned Orientalist would not be inclined to consider the Biblical account of Christ in the same light. It is not the peculiar privilege of Christianity to have a miracle-worker for its first propagator. In the following observations we shall take such facts as are required from this work.

It is generally believed that a person named Govinda Yogi was Sankara’s Guru, but it is not generally known that this Yogi was in fact Patanjali—the great author of the Mahabhashya and the Yoga Sutras—under a new name. A tradition current in Southern India represents him as one of the Chelas of Patanjali; but it is very doubtful if this tradition has anything like a proper foundation. But it is quite clear from the 94th, 95th, 96th, and 97th verses of the 5th chapter of Vidyaranya’s Sankara Vijayam that Govinda Yogi and Patanjali were identical. According to the immemorial custom observed amongst initiates, Patanjali assumed the name of Govinda Yogi at the time of his initiation by Goudapada. It cannot be contended that Vidyaranya represented Patanjali as Sankara’s Guru merely for the purpose of assigning some importance to Sankara and his teaching. Sankara is looked upon as a far greater man than Patanjali by the Adwaitees, and nothing can he added to Sankara’s reputation by Vidyaranya’s assertion. Moreover, Patanjali’s views are not altogether identical with Sankara’s views; it may be seen from Sankara’s writings that he attached no importance whatever to the practices of Hatha Yog regarding which Patanjali composed his Yoga Sutras. Under such circumstances, if Vidyaranya had the option of selecting a Guru for Sankara, he would no doubt have represented Vyasa himself (who is supposed to be still living) as his Guru. We see no reason therefore to doubt the correctness of the statement under examination. Therefore, as Sankara was Patanjali’s Chela, and as Goudapada was his Guru, his date will enable us to fix the dates of Sankara and Goudapada. We may here point out to our readers a mistake that appears in p. 148 of Mr. Sinnett’s book on Esoteric Buddhism as regards the latter personage. He is there represented as Sankara’s Guru; Mr. Sinnett was informed, we believe, that he was Sankara’s Paramaguru, and not having properly understood the meaning of this expression, Mr. Sinnett wrote that he was Sankara’s Guru.

It is generally admitted by Orientalists that Patanjali lived before the commencement of the Christian era. Mr. Barth places him in the second century before the Christian era, accepting Goldstucker’s opinion, and Monier Williams does the same thing. Weber, who seems to have carefully examined the opinions of all the other Orientalists who have written upon the subject, comes to the conclusion that “we must for the present rest satisfied with placing the date of the composition of the Bhashya between B.C. 140 and A.D. 6o, a result which considering the wretched state of the chronology of Indian Liturgy generally is, despite its indefiniteness, of no mean importance.” And yet even this date rests upon inferences drawn from one or two unimportant expressions contained in Patanjali’s Mahabhashya. It is always dangerous to draw such inferences, and especially so when it is known that, according to the tradition current amongst Hindu grammarians, some portions of Mahabhashya were lost, the gaps being filled up by subsequent writers. Even supposing that we should consider the expression quoted as written by Patanjali himself, there is nothing in those expressions which would enable us to fix the writer’s date. For instance, the connection between the expression “Arunad Yavanah Sáketam” and the expedition of Menander against Ayodhya between B.C. 144 and 120, relied upon by Goldstücker is merely imaginary. There is nothing in the expression to show that the allusion contained therein points necessarily to Menander’s expedition. We believe that Patanjali is referring to the expedition of Yavanas against Ayodhya during the lifetime of Sagara’s father described in Harivamsa. This expedition occurred long before Rama’s time, and there is nothing to connect it with Menander. Goldstücker’s inference is based upon the assumption that there was no other Yavana expedition against Ayodhya known to Patanjali, and it will be easily seen from Harivamsa (written by Vyasa) that the said assumption is unwarranted. Consequently the whole theory constructed by Goldstücker on this weak foundation falls to the ground. No valid inferences can be drawn from the mere names of kings contained in Mahabhashya, even if they are traced to Patanjali himself, as there would be several kings in the same dynasty bearing the same name. From the foregoing remarks it will be clear that we cannot fix, as Weber has done, B.C. 140 as the maximum limit of antiquity that can be assigned to Patanjali. It is now necessary to see whether any other such limit has been ascertained by Orientalists. As Panini’s date still remains undetermined, the limit cannot be fixed with reference to his date. But it is assumed by some Orientalists that Panini must have lived at some time subsequent to Alexander’s invasion, from the fact that Panini explains in his Grammar the formation of the word Yavanani. We are very sorry that European Orientalists have taken the pains to construct theories upon this basis without ascertaining the meaning assigned to the word Yavana, and the time when the Hindus first became acquainted with the Greeks. It is unreasonable to assume without proof that this acquaintance commenced at the time of Alexander’s invasion. On the other hand, there are very good reasons for believing that the Greeks were known to the Hindus long before this event. Pythagoras visited India, according to the traditions current amongst Indian initiates, and he is alluded to in Indian astrological works under the name of Yavanacharya. Moreover, it is not quite certain that the word Yavana was strictly confined to the Greeks by the ancient Hindu writers. Probably it was originally applied to the Egyptians and the Ethiopians; it was probably extended first to the Alexandrian Greeks, and subsequently to the Greeks, Persians, and Arabians. Besides the Yavana invasion of Ayodhya described in Harivamsa, there was another subsequent expedition to India by Kala Yavana (Black Yavana) during Krishna’s lifetime described in the same work. This expedition was probably undertaken by the Ethiopians. Anyhow, there are no reasons whatever, as far as we can see, for asserting that Hindu writers began to use the word Yavana after Alexander’s invasion. We can attach no importance whatever to any inferences that may be drawn regarding the dates of Panini and Katyayana (both of them lived before Patanjali) from the statements contained in Katha Sarit Sayara, which is nothing more than a mere collection of fables. It is now seen by Orientalists that no proper conclusions can be drawn regarding the dates of Panini and Katyayana from the statements made by Hiuan Thsang, and we need not therefore say anything here regarding the said statements. Consequently the dates of Panini and Katyayana still remain undetermined by European Orientalists. Goldstücker is probably correct in his conclusion that Panini lived before Buddha, and the Buddhists’ accounts agree with the traditions of the initiates in asserting that Katyayana was a contemporary of Buddha. From the fact that Patanjali must have composed his Mahabhashyam after the composition of Panini’s Sutras and Katyayana’s Vartika, we can only infer that it was written after Buddha’s birth. But there are a few considerations which may help us in coming to the conclusion that Patanjali must have lived about the year 500 B.C.; Max Müller fixed the Sutra period between 500 B.C. and 600 B.C. We agree with him in supposing that the period probably ended with B.C. 500, though it is uncertain how far it extended into the depths of Indian antiquity. Patanjali was the author of the Yoga Sutras, and this fact has not been doubted by any Hindu writer up to this time. Mr. Weber thinks, however, that the author of the Yoga Sutras might be a different man from the author of the Mahabhashya, though he does not venture to assign any reason for his supposition. We very much doubt if any European Orientalist can ever find out the connection between the first Anhika of the Mahabhashya and the real secrets of Hatha Yoga contained in the Yoga Sutras. No one but an initiate can understand the full significance of the said Anhika; and the “eternity of the Logos” or Sabda is one of the principal doctrines of the Gymnosophists of India, who were generally Hatha Yogis. In the opinion of Hindu writers and pundits Patanjali was the author of three works, viz., Mahabhashya, Yoga Sutras, and a book on Medicine and Anatomy; and there is not the slightest reason for questioning the correctness of this opinion. We must, therefore, place Patanjali in the Sutra period, and this conclusion is confirmed by the traditions of the Indian initiates. As Sankaracharya was a contemporary of Patanjali (being his Chela) he must have lived about the same time. We have thus shown that there are no reasons for placing Sankara in the eighth or ninth century after Christ, as some of the European Orientalists have done. We have further shown that Sankara was Patanjali’s Chela, and that his date should be ascertained with reference to Patanjali’s date. We have also shown that neither the year B.C. 140 nor the date of Alexander’s invasion can be accepted as the maximum limit of antiquity that can be assigned to him, and we have lastly pointed out a few circumstances which will justify us in expressing an opinion that Patanjali and his Chela Sankara belonged to the Sutra period. We may, perhaps, now venture to place before the public the exact date assigned to Sankaracharya by Tibetan and Indian initiates. According to the historical information in their possession he was born in the year B.C. 510 (fifty-one years and two months after the date of Buddha’s Nirvana), and we believe that satisfactory evidence in support of this date can be obtained in India if the inscriptions at Conjeveram, Sringeri, Jaggurnath, Benares, Cashmere, and various other places visited by Sankara, are properly deciphered. Sankara built Conjeveram, which is considered as one of the most ancient towns in Southern India; and it may be possible to ascertain the time of its construction if proper inquiries are made. But even the evidence now brought before the public supports the opinion of the Initiates above indicated. As Goudapada was Sankaracharya’s Guru’s guru, his date entirely depends on Sankara’s date; and there is every reason to suppose that he lived before Buddha.


It is asked whether there may not be “some confusion” in the letter quoted on p. 62 of “Esoteric Buddhism” regarding “old Greeks and Romans said to have been Atlanteans.” The answer is—None whatever. The word “Atlantean” was a generic name. The objection to have it applied to the old Greeks and Romans on the ground that they were Aryans, “their language being intermediate between Sanskrit and modern European dialects,” is worthless. With equal reason might a future 6th Race scholar, who had never heard of the (possible) submergence of a portion of European Turkey, object to Turks from the Bosphorus being referred to as a remnant of the Europeans. “The Turks are surely Semites,” he might say 12,000 years hence, and “their language is intermediate between Arabic and our modern 6th Race dialects.”7

The “historical difficulty” arises from a certain authoritative statement made by Orientalists on philological grounds. Professor Max Müller has brilliantly demonstrated that Sanskrit was the “elder sister”—by no means the mother—of all the modern languages. As to that “mother,” it is conjectured by himself and colleagues to be a “now extinct tongue, spoken probably by the nascent Aryan race.” When asked what was this language, the Western voice answers: “Who can tell?” When, “during what geological periods did this nascent race flourish?” the same impressive voice replies: “In prehistoric ages, the duration of which no one can now determine.” Yet it must have been Sanskrit, however barbarous and unpolished, since “the ancestors of the Greeks, the Italians, Slavonians, Germans and Kelts” were living within “the same precincts” with that nascent race, and the testimony borne by language has enabled the philologist to trace the “language of the gods” in the speech of every Aryan nation. Meanwhile it is affirmed by these same Orientalists that classical Sanskrit has its origin at the very threshold of the Christian era; while Vedic Sanskrit is allowed an antiquity of hardly 3,000 years (if so much) before that time.

Now, Atlantis, on the statement of the “Adepts,” sank over 9,000 years before the Christian era.8 How then can one maintain that the “old Greeks and Romans” were Atlanteans? How can that be, since both nations are Aryans, and the genesis of their languages is Sanskrit? Moreover, the Western scholars know that the Greek and Latin languages were formed within historical periods, the Greeks and Latins themselves having no existence as nations 11,000 B.C. Surely they who advance such a proposition do not realize how very unscientific is their statement!

Such are the criticisms passed, such the “historical difficulty.” The culprits arraigned are fully alive to their perilous situation; nevertheless, they maintain the statement. The only thing which may perhaps here be objected to is, that the names of the two nations are incorrectly used. It may be argued that to refer to the remote ancestors and their descendants equally as “Greeks and Romans,” is an anachronism as marked as would be the calling of the ancient Keltic Gauls, or the Insubres, Frenchmen. As a matter of fact this is true. But, besides the very plausible excuse that the names used were embodied in a private letter, written as usual in great haste, and which was hardly worthy of the honour of being quoted verbatim with all its imperfections, there may perhaps exist still weightier objections to calling the said people by any other name. One misnomer is as good as another; and to refer to old Greeks and Romans in a private letter as the old Hellenes from Hellas or Magna Græcia, and the Latius as from Latium, would have been, besides looking pedantic, just as incorrect as the use of the appellation noted, though it may have sounded, perchance, more “historical.” The truth is that, like the ancestors of nearly all the Indo-Europeans (or shall we say Indo-Germanic Japhetidæ?), the Greek and Roman sub-races mentioned have to be traced much farther back. Their origin must be carried far into the mists of that “prehistoric” period, that mythical age which inspires the modern historian with such a feeling of squeamishness that anything creeping out of its abysmal depths is sure to be instantly dismissed as a deceptive phantom, the mythos of an idle tale, or a later fable unworthy of serious notice. The Atlantean “old Greeks” could not be designated even as the Autochthones—a convenient term used to dispose of the origin of any people whose ancestry cannot be traced, and which, at any rate with the Hellenes, meant certainly more than simply “soil-born,” or primitive aborigines; and yet the so-called fable of Deukalion and Pyrrha is surely no more incredible or marvellous than that of Adam and Eve—a fable that hardly a hundred years ago no one would have dared or even thought to question. And in its esoteric significance the Greek tradition is possibly more truly historical than many a so-called historical event during the period of the Olympiades, though both Hesiod and Homer may have failed to record the former in their epics. Nor could the Romans be referred to as the Umbro-Sabbellians, nor even as the Itali. Peradventure, had the historians learnt something more than they have of the Italian “Autochthones”—the Iapygians—one might have given the “old Romans” the latter name. But then there would be again that other difficulty: history knows that the Latin invaders drove before them, and finally cooped up, this mysterious and miserable race among the clefts of the Calabrian rocks, thus showing the absence of any race affinity between the two. Moreover, Western archeologists keep to their own counsel, and will accept of no other but their own conjectures. And since they have failed to make anything out of the undecipherable inscriptions in an unknown tongue and mysterious characters on the Iapygian monuments, and so for years have pronounced them unguessable, he who would presume to meddle where the doctors muddle would be likely to be reminded of the Arab proverb about proffered advice. Thus, it seems hardly possible to designate “the old Greeks and Romans” by their legitimate, true name, so as to at once satisfy the “historians” and keep on the fair side of truth and fact. However, since in the Replies that precede Science had to be repeatedly shocked by most unscientific propositions, and that before this series is closed many a difficulty, philological and archeological as well as historical, will have to be unavoidably created—it may be just as wise to uncover the occult batteries at once and have it over with.

Well, then, the “Adepts” deny most emphatically to Western science any knowledge whatever of the growth and development of the Indo-Aryan race which, “at the very dawn of history,” they have espied in its “patriarchal simplicity” on the banks of the Oxus. Before our proposition concerning “the old Greeks and Romans” can be repudiated or even controverted, Western Orientalists will have to know more than they do about the antiquity of that race and the Aryan language; and they will have to account for those numberless gaps in history which no hypotheses of theirs seem able to fill up. Notwithstanding their present profound ignorance with regard to the early ancestry of the Indo-European nations, and though no historian has yet ventured to assign even a remotely approximate date to the separation of the Aryan nations and the origins of the Sanskrit language, they hardly show the modesty that might, under these circumstances, be expected from them. Placing as they do that great separation of the races at the first “dawn of traditional history,” with the Vedic age as “the background of the whole Indian world” [of which confessedly they know nothing], they will, nevertheless, calmly assign a modern date to any of the Rik-vedic oldest songs, on its “internal evidence;” and in doing this, they show as little hesitation as Mr. Fergusson when ascribing a post-Christian age to the most ancient rock-cut temple in India, merely on its “external form.” As for their unseemly quarrels, mutual recriminations, and personalities over questions of scholarship, the less said the better.

“The evidence of language is irrefragable,” as the great Oxford Sanskritist says. To which he is answered—“provided it does not clash with historical facts and ethnology.” It may be—no doubt it is, as far as his knowledge goes—“the only evidence worth listening to with regard to ante-historical periods;” but when something of these alleged “prehistorical periods” comes to be known, and when what we think we know of certain supposed prehistoric nations is found diametrically opposed to his “evidence of language,” the “Adepts” may be, perhaps, permitted to keep to their own views and opinions, even though they differ with those of the greatest living philologist. The study of language is but a part—though, we admit, a fundamental part—of true philology. To be complete, the latter has, as correctly argued by Böckt, to be almost synonymous with history. We gladly concede the right to the Western philologist, who has to work in the total absence of any historical data, to rely upon comparative grammar, and take the identification of roots lying at the foundation of words of those languages he is familiar with, or may know of, and put it forward as the result of his study, and the only available evidence. But we would like to see the same right conceded by him to the student of other races; even though these be inferior to the European races, in the opinion of the paramount West: for it is barely possible that, proceeding on other lines, and having reduced his knowledge to a system which precludes hypothesis and simple affirmation, the Eastern student has preserved a perfectly authentic record (for him) of those periods which his opponent regards as ante-historical. The bare fact that, while Western men of science are referred to as “scholars” and scholiasts—native Sanskritists and archæologists are often spoken of as “Calcutta” and “Indian sciolists”—affords no proof of their real inferiority, but rather of the wisdom of the Chinese proverb that “self-conceit is rarely companion to politeness.”

The “Adept” therefore has little, if anything, to do with difficulties presented by Western history. To his knowledge—based on documentary records from which, as said, hypothesis is excluded, and as regards which even psychology is called to play a very secondary part—the history of his and other nations extends immeasurably beyond that hardly discernible point that stands on the far-away horizon of the Western world as a landmark of the commencement of its history. Records made throughout a series of ages, based on astronomical chronology and zodiacal calculations, cannot err. [This new “difficulty”—palæographical, this time—that may be possibly suggested by the mention of the Zodiac in India and Central Asia before the Christian era, is disposed of in a subsequent article.]

Hence, the main question at issue is to decide which—the Orientalist or the “Oriental”—is most likely to err. The “English F. T. S.” has choice of two sources of information, two groups of teachers. One group is composed of Western historians with their suite of learned Ethnologists, Philologists, Anthropologists, Archæologists and Orientalists in general. The other consists of unknown Asiatics belonging to a race which, notwithstanding Mr. Max Müller’s assertion that the same “blood is running in the veins (of the English soldier) and in the veins of the dark Bengalese,” is generally regarded by many a cultured Western as “inferior.” A handful of men can hardly hope to be listened to, specially when their history, religion, language, origin and sciences, having been seized upon by the conqueror, are now disfigured and mutilated beyond recognition, and who have lived to see the Western scholar claim a monopoly beyond appeal or protest of deciding the correct meaning, chronological date, and historical value of the monumental and palæographic relics of his motherland. It has little, if ever, entered the mind of the Western public that their scholars have, until very lately, worked in a narrow pathway obstructed with the ruins of an ecclesiastical, dogmatic Past; that they have been cramped on all sides by limitations of “revealed” events coming from God, “with whom a thousand years are but as one day,” and who have thus felt bound to cram millenniums into centuries and hundreds into units, giving at the utmost an age of 1,000 to what is 10,000 years old. All this to save the threatened authority of their religion and their own respectability and good name in cultured society. And even that, when free themselves from preconceptions, they have had to protect the honour of the Jewish divine chronology assailed by stubborn facts; and thus have become (often unconsciously) the slaves of an artificial history made to fit into the narrow frame of a dogmatic religion. No proper thought has been given to this purely psychological but very significant trifle. Yet we all know how, rather than admit any relation between Sanskrit and the Gothic, Keltic, Greek, Latin and old Persian, facts have been tampered with, old texts purloined from libraries, and philological discoveries vehemently denied. And we have also heard from our retreats, how Dugald Stewart and his colleagues, upon seeing that the discovery would also involve ethnological affinities, and damage the prestige of those sires of the world races—Shem, Ham and Japhet—denied in the face of fact that “Sanskrit had ever been a living, spoken language,” supporting the theory that “it was an invention of the Brahmins, who had constructed their Sanskrit on the model of the Greek and Latin.” And again we know, holding the proof of the same, how the majority of Orientalists are prone to go out of their way to prevent any Indian antiquity (whether MSS. or inscribed monument, whether art or science) from being declared pre-Christian. As the origin and history of the Gentile world is made to move in the narrow circuit of a few centuries “B.C.,” within that fecund epoch when mother earth, recuperated from her arduous labours of the Stone age, begat, it seems without transition, so many highly civilized nations and false pretences, so the enchanted circle of Indian archeology lies between the (to them unknown) year of the Samvat era, and the tenth century of the Western chronology.

Having to dispose of an “historical difficulty” of such a serious character, the defendants charged with it can but repeat what they have already stated; all depends upon the past history and antiquity allowed to the indo-Aryan nation. The first step to take is to ascertain how much History herself’ knows of that almost prehistoric period when the soil of Europe had not been trodden yet by the primitive Aryan tribes. From the latest Encyclopædia down to Professor Max Müller and other Orientalists, we gather what follows; they acknowledge that at some immensely remote period, before the Aryan nations got divided from the parent stock (with the germs of Indo-Germanic languages in them); and before they rushed asunder to scatter over Europe and Asia in search of new homes, there stood a “single barbaric (?) people as physical and political representative of the nascent Aryan race.” This people spoke “a now extinct Aryan language,” from which by a series of modifications (surely requiring more thousands of years than our difficulty-makers are willing to concede) there arose gradually all the subsequent languages now spoken by the Caucasian races.

That is about all Western history knows of its genesis. Like Ravana’s brother, Kumbhakarna,—the Hindu Rip van Winkle—it slept for a long series of ages a dreamless, heavy sleep. And when at last it awoke to consciousness, it was but to find the “nascent Aryan race” grown into scores of nations, peoples and races, most of them effete and crippled with age, many irretrievably extinct, while the true origin of the younger ones it was utterly unable to account for. So much for the “youngest brother.” As for “the eldest brother, the Hindu,” who, Professor Max Müller tells us, “was the last to leave the central home of the Aryan family,” and whose history this eminent philologist has now kindly undertaken to impart to him,—he, the Hindu, claims that while his Indo-European relative was soundly sleeping under the protecting shadow of Noah’s ark, he kept watch and did not miss seeing one event from his high Himalayan fastnesses; and that he has recorded the history thereof, in a language which, though as incomprehensible as the Iapygian inscriptions to the Indo-European immigrant, is quite clear to the writers. For this crime he now stands condemned as a falsifier of the records of his forefathers. A place has been hitherto purposely left open for India “to be filled up when the pure metal of history should have been extracted from the ore of Brahmanic exaggeration and superstition.” Unable, however, to meet this programme, the Orientalist has since persuaded himself that there was nothing in that “ore” but dross. He did more. He applied himself to contrast Brahmanic “superstition” and “exaggeration” with Mosaic revelation and its chronology. The Veda was confronted with Genesis. Its absurd claims to antiquity were forthwith dwarfed to their proper dimensions by the 4,004 years B.C. measure of the world’s age; and the Brahmanic “superstition and fables” about the longevity of the Aryan Rishis, were belittled and exposed by the sober historical evidence furnished in “The genealogy and age of the Patriarchs from Adam to Noah,” whose respective days were 930 and 950 years; without mentioning Methuselah, who died at the premature age of nine hundred and sixty-nine.

In view of such experience, the Hindu has a certain right to decline the offers made to correct his annals by Western history and chronology. On the contrary, he would respectfully advise the Western scholar, before he denies point-blank any statement made by the Asiatics with reference to what is prehistoric ages to Europeans, to show that the latter have themselves anything like trustworthy data as regards their own racial history. And that settled, he may have the leisure and capacity to help his ethnic neighbours to prune their genealogical trees. Our Rajputs, among others, have perfectly trustworthy family records of an unbroken lineal descent through 2,000 years “B.C.” and more, as proved by Colonel Tod; records which are accepted by the British Government in its official dealings with them. It is not enough to have studied stray fragments of Sanskrit literature—even though their number should amount to 10,000 texts, as boasted of—allowed to fall into foreign hands, to speak so confidently of the “Aryan first settlers in India,” and assert that, “left to themselves, in a world of their own, without a past and without a future (!) before them, they had nothing but themselves to ponder upon,” and therefore could know absolutely nothing of other nations. To comprehend correctly and make out the inner meaning of most of them, one has to read these texts with the help of the esoteric light, and after having mastered the language of the Brahmanic Secret Code—branded generally as “theological twaddle.” Nor is it sufficient—if one would judge correctly of what the archaic Aryans did or did not know; whether or not they cultivated the social and political virtues; cared or not for history—to claim proficiency in both Vedic and classical Sanskrit, as well as in Prakrit and Arya Bháshá. To comprehend the esoteric meaning of ancient Brahmanical literature, one has, as just remarked, to be in possession of the key to the Brahmanical Code. To master the conventional terms used in the Puranas, the Aranyakas and Upanishads is a science in itself, and one far more difficult than even the study of the 3,996 aphoristical rules of Pânini, or his algebraical symbols. Very true, most of the Brahmans themselves have now forgotten the correct interpretations of their sacred texts. Yet they know enough of the dual meaning in their scriptures to be justified in feeling amused at the strenuous efforts of the European Orientalist to protect the supremacy of his own national records and the dignity of his science by interpreting the Hindu hieratic text after a peremptory fashion quite unique. Disrespectful though it may seem, we call on the philologist to prove in some more convincing manner than usual, that he is better qualified than even the average Hindu Sanskrit pundit to judge of the antiquity of the “language of the gods;” that he has been really in a position to trace unerringly along the lines of countless generations the course of the “now extinct Aryan tongue” in its many and various transformations in the West, and its primitive evolution into first the Vedic, and then the classical Sanskrit in the East, and that from the moment when the mother-stream began deviating into its new ethnographical beds, lie has followed it up. Finally that, while lie, the Orientalist, can, owing to speculative interpretations of what he thinks he has learnt from fragments of Sanskrit literature, judge of the nature of all that he knows nothing about—i.e., to speculate upon the past history of a great nation he has lost sight of from its “nascent state,” and caught up again but at the period of its last degeneration—the native student never knew, nor can ever know, anything of that history. Until the Orientalist has proved all this, he can be accorded but small justification for assuming that air of authority and supreme contempt which is found in almost every work upon India and its Past. Having no knowledge himself whatever of those incalculable ages that lie between the Aryan Brahman in Central Asia, and the Brahman at the threshold of Buddhism, he has no right to maintain that the initiated Indo-Aryan can never know as much of them as the foreigner. Those periods being an utter blank to him, he is little qualified to declare that the Aryan, having had no political history “of his own . . . “his only sphere was “religion and philosophy . . . . in solitude and contemplation.” A happy thought suggested, no doubt, by the active life, incessant wars, triumphs, and defeats portrayed in the oldest songs of the Rik-Veda. Nor can he with the smallest show of logic affirm that “India had no place in the political history of the world,” or that “there are no synchronisms between the history of the Brahmans and that of other nations before the date of the origin of Buddhism in India;” for he knows no more of the prehistoric history of those “other nations” than of that of the Brahman. All his inferences, conjectures and systematic arrangements of hypotheses begin very little earlier than 200 “B.C.,” if even so much, on anything like really historical grounds. He has to prove all this before he can command our attention. Otherwise, however “irrefragable the evidence of language,” the presence of Sanskrit roots in all the European languages will be insufficient to prove, either that (a) before the Aryan invaders descended toward the seven rivers they had never left their northern regions; or (b) why the “eldest brother, the Hindu,” should have been “the last to leave the central home of the Aryan family.” To the philologist such a supposition may seem “quite natural.” Yet the Brahman is no less justified in his ever-growing suspicion that there may be at the bottom some occult reason for such a programme. That in the interest of his theory the Orientalist was forced to make “the eldest brother” tarry so suspiciously long on the Oxus, or wherever “the youngest” may have placed him in his “nascent state” after the latter “saw his brothers all depart towards the setting sun.” We find reasons to believe that the chief motive for alleging such a procrastination is the necessity to bring the race closer to the Christian era. To show the “brother” inactive and unconcerned. “with nothing but himself to ponder on,” lest his antiquity and “fables of empty idolatry,” and perhaps his traditions of other people’s doings, should interfere with the chronology by which it is determined to try him. The suspicion is strengthened when one finds in the book from which we have been so largely quoting—a work of a purely scientific and philological character—such frequent remarks and even prophecies as: “History seems to teach that the whole human race required a gradual education before, in the fulness of time, it could be admitted to the truths of Christianity.” Or, again “The ancient religions of the world were but the milk of Nature, which was in due time to be succeeded by the bread of life;” and such broad sentiments expressed as that “there is some truth in Buddhism, as there is in every one of the false religions of the world, but . . . .9

The atmosphere of Cambridge and Oxford seems decidedly unpropitious to the recognition of either Indian antiquity, or the merit of the philosophies sprung from its soil!10


The foregoing—a long, yet necessary digression—will show that the Asiatic scholar is justified in generally withholding what he may know. That it is not merely on historical facts that hangs the “historical difficulty” at issue; but rather on its degree of interference with time-honoured, long-established conjectures, often raised to the eminence of an unapproachable historical axiom. That no statement coming from our quarters can ever hope to be given consideration so long as it has to be supported on the ruins of reigning hobbies, whether of an alleged historical or religious character. Yet pleasant it is, after the brainless assaults to which occult sciences have hitherto been subjected—assaults in which abuse has been substituted for argument, and flat denial for calm inquiry—to find that there remain in the West some men who will come into the field like philosophers, and soberly and fairly discuss the claims of our hoary doctrines to the respect due to a truth and the dignity demanded for a science. Those alone whose sole desire is to ascertain the truth, not to maintain foregone conclusions, have a right to expect undisguised facts. Reverting to our subject, so far as allowable, we will now, for the sake of that minority, give them.

The records of the Occultists make no difference between the “Atlantean” ancestors of the old Greeks and Romans. Partially corroborated and in turn contradicted by licensed or recognized history, their records teach that of the ancient Latini of classic legend called Itali; of that people, in short, which, crossing the Apennines (as their Judo-Aryan brothers—let this be known—had crossed before them the Hindoo-Koosh) entered from the north the peninsula—there survived at a period long before the days of Romulus but the name, and a nascent language. Profane history informs us that the Latins of the “mythical era” got so Hellenized amidst the rich colonies of Magna Grecia that there remained nothing in them of their primitive Latin nationality. It is the Latins proper, it says, those pre-Roman Italians who by settling in Latium had from the first kept themselves free from the Greek influence, who were the ancestors of the Romans. Contradicting exoteric history, the Occult records affirm that if, owing to circumstances too long and complicated to be related here, the settlers of Latium preserved their primitive nationality a little longer than their brothers who had first entered the peninsula with them after leaving the East (which was not their original home), they lost it very soon, for other reasons. Free from the Samnites during the first period, they did not remain free from other invaders. While the Western historian puts together the mutilated, incomplete records of various nations and people, and makes them into a clever mosaic according to the best and most probable plan and rejects entirely traditional fables, the Occultist pays not the slightest attention to the vain self-glorification of alleged conquerors or their lithic inscriptions. Nor does he follow the stray bits of so-called historical information, often concocted by interested parties and found scattered hither and thither in the fragments of classical writers, whose original texts themselves have not seldom been tampered with. The Occultist follows the ethnological affinities and their divergences in the various nationalities, races and sub-races, in a more easy way; and he is guided in this as surely as the student who examines a geographical map. As the latter can easily trace by their differently coloured outlines the boundaries of the many countries and their possessions; their geographical superficies and their separations by seas, rivers and mountains; so the Occultist can by following the (to him) well distinguishable and defined auric shades and gradations of colour in the inner-man unerringly pronounce to which of the several distinct human families, as also to what special group, and even small sub-group of the latter, belongs any particular people, tribe, or man. This will appear hazy and incomprehensible to the many who know nothing of ethnic varieties of nerve-aura, and disbelieve in any “inner-man” theory, scientific but to the few. The whole question hangs upon the reality or unreality of the existence of this inner-man whom clairvoyance has discovered, and whose odyle or nerve-emanations Von Reichenbach proves. If one admits such a presence and realizes intuitionally that being closer related to the one invisible Reality, the inner type must be still more pronounced than the outer physical type, then it will be a matter of little, if any, difficulty to conceive our meaning. For, indeed, if even the respective physical idiosyncrasies and special characteristics of any given person make his nationality usually distinguishable by the physical eye of the ordinary observer—let alone the experienced ethnologist: the Englishman being commonly recognizable at a glance from the Frenchman, the German from the Italian, not to speak of the typical differences between human root-families11 in their anthropological division—there seems little difficulty in conceiving that the same, though far more pronounced, difference of type and characteristics should exist between the inner races that inhabit these “fleshly tabernacles.” Besides this easily discernible psychological and astral differences, there are the documentary records in their unbroken series of chronological tables and the history of the gradual branching off of races and sub-races from the three geological primeval Races, the work of the Initiates of all the archaic and ancient temples up to date, collected in our “Book of Numbers,” and other volumes.

Hence, and on this double testimony (which the Westerns are quite welcome to reject if so pleased) it is affirmed that, owing to the great amalgamation of various sub-races, such as the Iapygian, Etruscan, Pelasgic, and later—the strong admixture of the Hellenic and Kelto-Gaulic element in the veins of the primitive Itali of Latium—there remained in the tribes gathered by Romulus on the banks of the Tiber about as much Latinism as there is now in the Romanic people of Wallachia. Of course if the historical foundation of the fable of the twins of the Vestal Silvia is entirely rejected, together with that of the foundation of Alba Longa by the son of Æneas, then it stands to reason that the whole of the statements made must be likewise a modern invention built upon the utterly worthless fables of the “legendary mythical age.” For those who now give these statements, however, there is more of actual truth in such fables than there is in the alleged historical Regal period of the earliest Romans. It is to be deplored that the present statement should clash with the authoritative conclusion of Mommsen and others. Yet, stating but that which to the “Adepts” is fact, it must be understood at once that all (but the fanciful chronological date for the foundation of Rome—April, 753 “B.C.”) that is given in old traditions in relation to the Pœmerium, and the triple alliance of the Ramnians, Luceres and Tities, of the so-called Romuleian legend, is indeed far nearer truth than what external history accepts as facts during the Punic and Macedonian wars up to, through, and down the Roman Empire to its fall. The founders of Rome were decidedly a mongrel people, made up of various scraps and remnants of the many primitive tribes; only a few really Latin families, the descendants of the distinct sub-race that came along with the Umbro-Sabellians from the East remaining. And, while the latter preserved their distinct colour down to the Middle Ages through the Sabine element, left unmixed in its mountainous regions, the blood of the true Roman was Hellenic blood from its beginning. The famous Latin league is no fable, but history. The succession of kings descended from the Trojan Æneas is a fact; and the idea that Romulus is to be regarded as simply the symbolical representative of a people, as Æolus, Dorms, and Ion were once, instead of a living man, is as unwarranted as it is arbitrary. It could only have been entertained by a class of historiographers bent upon condoning their sin in supporting the dogma that Shem, Ham and Japhet were the historical once living ancestors of mankind, by making a burnt-offering of every really historical but non-Jewish tradition, legend, or record which might presume to a place on the same level with these three privileged archaic mariners, instead of humbly grovelling at their feet as “absurd myths” and old wives’ tales and superstitions.

It will thus appear that the objectionable statements on pp. 56 and 62 of “Esoteric Buddhism,” which are alleged to create an “historical difficulty,” were not made by Mr. Sinnett’s correspondent to bolster a western theory, but in loyalty to historical facts. Whether they can or cannot be accepted in those particular localities where criticism seems based upon mere conjecture (though honoured with the name of scientific hypothesis), is something which concerns the present writers as little as any casual traveller’s unfavourable comments upon the time-scarred visage of the Sphinx can affect the designer of that sublime symbol. The sentences, “the Greeks and Romans were small sub-races of our own Caucasian stock” (p. 6), and they were “the remnants of the Atlanteans (the modern belong to the fifth race)” (p. 62), show the real meaning on their face. By the old Greeks, “remnants of the Atlanteans” the eponymous ancestors (as they are called by Europeans) of the Æolians, Dorians and Ionians, are meant. By the connection together of the old Greeks and Romans without distinction, was meant that the primitive Latins were swallowed by Magna Græcia. And by “the modern” belonging “to the fifth race”—both these small branchlets from whose veins had been strained out the last drop of the Atlantean blood—it was implied that the Mongoloid 4th race blood had already been eliminated. Occultists make a distinction between the races intermediate between any two root-races the Westerns do not. The “old Romans” were Hellenes in a new ethnological disguise; and the still older Greeks the real blood ancestors of the future Romans. In direct relation to this, attention is drawn to the following fact—one of the many in close historical bearing upon the “mythical” age to which Atlantis belongs. It is a fable and may be charged to the account of historical difficulties. It is well calculated, however, to throw all the old ethnological and genealogical divisions into confusion.

Asking the reader to bear in mind that Atlantis, like modern Europe, comprised many nations and many dialects (issues from the three primeval root-languages of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Races), we may return to Poseidonis, its last surviving remnant of 12,000 years ago. As the chief element in the languages of the 5th race is the Aryan-Sanskrit of the “Brown-white” geological stock or race, so the predominating element in Atlantis was a language which has now survived but in the dialects of some American Red-Indian tribes, and in the Chinese speech of the inland Chinamen, the mountainous tribes of Kivang-ze—a language which was an admixture of the agglutinate and the monosyllabic, as it would be called by modern philologists. It was, in short, the language of the “Red-yellow” second or middle geological stock [we maintain the term “geological”]. A strong percentage of the Mongoloid or 4th Root-race was, of course, to be found in the Aryans of the 5th. But this did not prevent in the least the presence at the same time of unalloyed, pure Aryan races in it. A number of small islands scattered around Poseidonis had been vacated, in consequence of earthquakes, long before the final catastrophe, which has alone remained in the memory of men—thanks to some written records. Tradition says that one of the small tribes (the Æ.olians) who had become islanders after emigrating from far northern countries, had to leave their home again for fear of a deluge. If, in spite of the Orientalists and the conjecture of M. F. Lenormant—who invented a name for a people whose shadowy outline he dimly perceived in the faraway Past as preceding the Babylonians—we say that this Aryan race that came from Central Asia, the cradle of the 5th race Humanity, belonged to the “Akkadian” tribes, there will be a new historicoethnological difficulty created. Yet it is maintained that these “Akkads” were no more a “Turanian” race than any of the modern British people are the mythical ten tribes of Israel, so conspicuously present in the Bible, and absent from history. With such remarkable pacta conventa between modern exact (?) and ancient Occult sciences, we may proceed with the fable. Belonging virtually, through their original connection with the Aryan, Central Asian stock, to the 5th race, the old Æolians yet were Atlanteans, not only in virtue of their long residence in the now submerged continent, covering some thousands of years, but by the free intermingling of blood, by intermarriage with them. Perhaps in this connection Mr. Huxley’s disposition to account for his Melanochroi (the Greeks being included under this classification or type)—as themselves “the result of crossing between the Xanthochroi and the Australioids,” among whom he places the Southern India lower classes and the Egyptians to some extent—is not far off from fact. Anyhow the Æolians of Atlantis were Aryans on the whole, as much as the Basques—Dr. Pritchard’s Allophylians—are now southern Europeans, although originally belonging to the South Indian Dravidian stock [their progenitors having never been the aborigines of Europe prior to the first Aryan emigration, as supposed]. Frightened by the frequent earthquakes and the visible approach of the cataclysm, this tribe is said to have filled a flotilla of arks, to have sailed from beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and, sailing along the coasts, after several years of travel to have landed on the shores of the Ægeau Sea in the land of Pyrrha (now Thessaly), to which they gave the name of Æolia. Thence they proceeded on business with the gods to Mount Olympus. It may be stated here, at the risk of creating a “geographical difficulty,” that in that mythical age Greece, Crete, Sicily, Sardinia, and many other islands of the Mediterranean, were simply the far-away possessions, or colonies, of Atlantis. Hence, the “fable” proceeds to state that all along the coasts of Spain, France, and Italy the Æolians often halted, and the memory of their “magical feats” still survives among the descendants of the old Massilians, of the tribes of the later Carthago-Nova, and the seaports of Etruria and Syracuse. And here again it would not be a bad idea, perchance, even at this late hour, for the archæologists to trace, with the permission of the anthropological societies, the origin of the various autochthones through their folk-lore and fables, as they may prove both more suggestive and reliable than their “undecipherable” monuments. History catches a misty glimpse of these particular autochthones thousands of years only after they had been settled in old Greece—namely, at the moment when the Epireans cross the Pindus bent on expelling the black magicians from their home to Bœotia. But history never listened to the popular legends which speak of the “accursed sorcerers” who departed, leaving as an inheritance behind them more than one secret of their infernal arts, the fame of which crossing the ages has now passed into history—or, classical Greek and Roman fable, if so preferred. To this day a popular tradition narrates how the ancient forefathers of the Thessalonians, so renowned for their magicians, had come from behind the Pillars, asking for help and refuge from the great Zeus, and imploring the father of the gods to save them from the deluge. But the “Father” expelled them from the Olympus, allowing their tribe to settle only at the foot of the mountain, in the valleys, and by the shores of the Ægean Sea.

Such is the oldest fable of the ancient Thessalonians. And now, what was the language spoken by the Atlantean Æolians? History cannot answer us. Nevertheless, the reader has only to be reminded of some of the accepted and a few of the as yet unknown facts, to cause the light to enter any intuitional brain. It is now proved that man was universally conceived in antiquity as born of the earth. Such is now the profane explanation of the term autochthones. In nearly every vulgarized popular fable, from the Sanskrit Arya “born of the earth,” or Lord of the Soil in one sense; the Erechtheus of the archaic Greeks, worshipped in the earliest days of the Akropolis and shown by Homer as “he whom the earth bore” (Il. ii. 548); down to Adam fashioned of “red earth,” the genetical story has a deep occult meaning, and an indirect connection with the origin of man and of the subsequent races. Thus, the fables of Helen, the son of Pyrrha the red—the oldest name of Thessaly; and of Mannus, the reputed ancestor of the Germans, himself the son of Tuisco, “the red son of the earth,” have not only a direct bearing upon our Atlantis fable, but they explain moreover the division of mankind into geological groups as made by the Occultists. It is only this, their division, that is able to explain to Western teachers the apparently strange, if not absurd, coincidence of the Semitic Adam—a divinely revealed personage—being connected with red earth, in company with the Aryan Pyrrha, Tuisco, etc.—the mythical heroes of “foolish” fables. Nor will that division made by the Eastern Occultists, who call the 5th race people “the Brown-white,” and the 4th race the “Red-yellow,” Root-races—connecting them with geological strata—appear at all fantastic to those who understood verse iii. 34-9 of the Veda and its occult meaning, and another verse in which the Dasyus are called “Yellow.” Hatvi Dasyún prá âryam varanam àvat is said of Indra who, by killing the Dasyus, protected the colour of the Aryans; and again, Indra “unveiled the light for the Aryas and the Dasyus was left on the left hand” (ii. 11, 18). Let the student of Occultism bear in mind that the Greek Noah, Deukalion, the husband of Pyrrha, was the reputed son of Prometheus who robbed Heaven of its fire (i.e., of secret Wisdom “of the right hand,” or occult knowledge); that Prometheus is the brother of Atlas; that he is also the son of Asia and of the Titan Iapetus—the antetype from which the Jews borrowed their Japhet for the exigencies of their own popular legend to mask its kabalistic, Chaldean meaning; and that he is also the antetype of Deukalion. Prometheus is the creator of man out of earth and water,12 who after stealing fire from Olympus—a mountain in Greeceis chained on a mount in the far-off Caucasus. From Olympus to Mount Kazbek there is a considerable distance. The Occultists say that while the 4th race was generated and developed on the Atlantean continent—our Antipodes in a certain sense—the 5th was generated and developed in Asia. [The ancient Greek geographer Strabo, for one, calls by the name of Ariana, the land of the Aryas, the whole country between the Indian Ocean in the south, the Hindu Kush and Parapamisis in the north, the Indus on the east, and the Caspian Gates, Karamania and the mouth of the Persian Gulf, on the west.] The fable of Prometheus relates to the extinction of the civilized portions of the 4th race, whom Zeus, in order to create a new race, would destroy entirely, and Prometheus (who had the sacred fire of knowledge) saved partially “for future seed.” But the origin of the fable antecedes the destruction of Poseidonis by more than seventy thousand years, however incredible it may seem. The seven great continents of the world, spoken of in the Vishnu Purana (B. II., cap. 2) include Atlantis, though, of course, under another name. Ila and Ira are synonymous Sanskrit terms (see Amarakosha), and both mean earth or native soil; and Ilavrita is a portion of Ila, the central point of India (Jambudvipa), the latter being itself the centre of the seven great continents before the submersion of the great continent of Atlantis, of which Poseidonis was but an insignificant remnant. And now, while every Brahmin will understand the meaning, we may help the Europeans with a few more explanations.

If, in that generally tabooed work, “Isis Unveiled,” the “English F. T. S.” turns to page 589, vol. i., he may find therein narrated another old Eastern legend. An island . . . . (where now the Gobi desert lies) was inhabited by the last remnants of the race that preceded ours: a handful of “Adepts”—the “Sons of God,” now referred to as the Brahman Pitris; called by another yet synonymous name in the Chaldean Kabala. “Isis Unveiled” may appear very puzzling and contradictory to those who know nothing of Occult Sciences. To the Occultist it is correct, and while perhaps left purposely sinning (for it was the first cautious attempt to let into the West a faint streak of Eastern esoteric light), it reveals more facts than were ever given before its appearance. Let any one read these pages and he may comprehend. The “six such races” in Manu refer to the sub-races of the fourth race (p. 590). In addition to this the reader must turn to the paper on “The Septenary Principle in Esotericism”, study the list of the “Manus” of our fourth Round, and between this and “Isis” light may, perchance, be focussed. On pages 590-6 of the work mentioned above, he will find that Atlantis is mentioned in the “Secret Books of the East” (as yet virgin of Western spoliating hand) under another name in the sacred hieratic or sacerdotal language. And then it will be shown to him that Atlantis was not merely the name of one island but that of a whole continent, of whose isles and islets many have to this day survived. The remotest ancestors of some of the inhabitants of the now miserable fisherman’s hovel “Aclo” (once Atlan), near the gulf of Uraha, were allied at one time as closely with the old Greeks and Romans as they were with the “true inland China-man,” mentioned on p. 57 of “Esoteric Buddhism.” Until the appearance of a map, published at Basle in 1522, wherein the name of America appears for the first time, the latter was believed to be part of India; and strange to him who does not follow the mysterious working of the human mind and its unconscious approximations to hidden truths—even the aborigines of the new continent, the Red-skinned tribes, the “Mongoloids” of Mr. Huxley, were named Indians. Names now attributed to chance: elastic word that! Strange coincidence, indeed, to him who does not know—science refusing yet to sanction the wild hypothesis—that there was a time when the Indian peninsula was at one end of the line, and South America at the other, connected by a belt of islands and continents. The India of the prehistoric ages was not only within the region at the sources of the Oxus and Jaxartes, but there was even in the days of history, and within its memory, an upper, a lower, and a western India: and still earlier it was doubly connected with the two Americas. The lands of the ancestors of those whom Ammianus Marcellinus calls the “Brahmans of Upper India” stretched from Kashmir far into the (now) deserts of Schamo. A pedestrian from the north might then have reached—hardly wetting his feet—the Alaskan Peninsula, through Manchooria, across the future Gulf of Tartary, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands; while another traveller, furnished with a canoe and starting from the south, could have walked over from Siam, crossed the Polynesian Islands and trudged into any part of the continent of South America. On pp. 592-3 of “Isis,” vol. i., the Thevetatas—the evil, mischievous gods that have survived in the Etruscan Pantheon—are mentioned, along with the “sons of God” or Brahrnan Pitris. The Involute, the hidden or shrouded gods, the Consentes, Complices, and Novensiles, are all disguised relics of the Atlanteans; while the Etruscan arts of soothsaying their Disciplina revealed by Tages comes direct and in undisguised form from the Atlantean king Thevetat, the “invisible” Dragon, whose name survives to this day among the Siamese and Burmese, as also, in the Jataka allegorical stories of the Buddhists as the opposing power under the name of Devadat. And Tages was the son of Thevetat, before he became the grandson of the Etruscan Jupiter-Tinia. Have the Western Orientalists tried to find out the connection between all these Dragons and Serpents; between the “powers of Evil” in the cycles of epic legends, the Persian and the Indian, the Greek and the Jewish; between the contests of Indra and the giant; the Aryan Nagas and the Iranian Aji Dahaka; the Guatemalian Dragon and the Serpent of Genesis—etc. etc. etc.? Professor Max Müller discredits the connection. So be it. But the fourth race of men, “men” whose sight was unlimited and who knew all things at once, the hidden as the unrevealed, is mentioned in the Popol-Vuh, the sacred books of the Guatemalians; and the Babylonian Xisuthrus, the far later Jewish Noah, the Hindu Vaivaswata, and the Greek Deukalion, are all identical with the great Father of the Thlinkithians, of Popol-Vuh who, like the rest of these allegorical (not mythical) Patriarchs, escaped in his turn and in his days, in a large boat at the time of the last great Deluge—the submersion of Atlantis.

To have been an Indo-Aryan, Vaivaswata had not, of necessity, to meet with his Saviour (Vishnu, under the form of a fish) within the precincts of the present India, or even anywhere on the Asian continent; nor is it necessary to concede that he was the seventh great Manu himself (see catalogue of the Manus, in the paper on “The Septenary Principle in Esotericism” cited above), but simply that the Hindu Noah belonged to the clan of Vaivaswata and typifies the fifth race. Now the last of the Atlantean islands perished some 11,000 years ago; and the fifth race headed by the Aryans began its evolution, to the certain knowledge of the “Adepts” nearer one million than 900,000 years ago. But the historian and the anthropologist with their utmost stretch of liberality are unable to give more than from twenty to one hundred thousand years for all our human evolution. Hence we put it to them as a fair question: at what point during their own conjectural lakh of years do they fix the root-germ of the ancestral line of the “old Greeks and Romans?” Who were they? What is known or even “conjectured” about their territorial habitat after the division of the Aryan nations? And where were the ancestors of the Semitic and Turanian races? It is not enough for purposes of refutation of other peoples’ statements to say that the latter lived separate from the former, and then come to a full stop—a fresh hiatus in the ethnological history of mankind. Since Asia is sometimes called the Cradle of Humanity, and it is an ascertained fact that Central Asia was likewise the cradle of the Semitic and Turanian races (for thus it is taught in Genesis), and we find the Turans agreeably to the theory evolved by the Assyriologists preceding the Babylonian Semitists, where, at what spot of the globe, did these Semito-Turanian nations break away from the parent stock, and what has become of the latter? It cannot be the small Jewish tribe of Patriarchs; and unless it can be shown that the garden of Eden was also on the Oxus or the Euphrates, fenced off from the soil inhabited by the children of Cain, philologists who undertake to fill in the gaps in Universal History with their made-up conjectures, may be regarded as ignorant of this detail as those they would enlighten.

Logically, if the ancestors of these various groups had been at that remote period massed together, then the self-same roots of a parent common stock would have been equally traceable in their perfected languages as they are in those of the Judo-Europeans. And so, since whichever way one turns, one is met with the same troubled sea of speculation, margined by the treacherous quicksands of hypothesis, and every horizon bounded by inferential landmarks inscribed with imaginary dates. Again, the “Adepts” ask why should any one be awed into accepting as final criterion that which passes for science of high authority in Europe? For all this is known to the Asiatic scholar—in every ease save the purely mathematical and physical sciences—as little better than a secret league for mutual support, and, perhaps, admiration. He bows with profound respect before the Royal Societies of Physicists, Chemists, and, to a degree, even of Naturalists. He refuses to pay the slightest attention to the merely speculative and conjectural so-called “sciences” of the modern Physiologist, Ethnologist, Philologist, etc., and the mob of self-styling Œdipuses to whom it is not given to unriddle the Sphynx of Nature, and who therefore throttle her.

With an eye to the above, as also with a certain prevision of the future, the defendants in the cases under examination believe that the “historical difficulty” with reference to the non historical statement, necessitated more than a simple reaffirmation of the fact. They knew that with no better claims to a hearing than may be accorded by the confidence of a few, and in view of the decided antagonism of the many, it would never do for them to say “we maintain” while Western professors maintained to the contrary. For a body of, so to say, unlicensed preachers and students of unauthorized and unrecognized sciences to offer to fight an august body of universally recognized oracles, would be an unprecedented piece of impertinence. Hence their respective claims had to be examined on however small a scale to begin with (in this as in all other cases) on other than psychological grounds. The “Adepts” in Occult Arts had better keep silence when confronted with the “A. C. S.’s”—Adepts in Conjectural Sciences—unless they could show, partially at least, how weak is the authority of the latter and on what foundations of shifting sands their scientific dicta are often built They may thus make it a thinkable conjecture that the former may be right after all. Absolute silence, moreover, as at present advised, would have been fatal. Besides risking to be construed into inability to answer, it might have given rise to new complaints among the faithful few, and lead to fresh charges of selfishness against the writers. Therefore have the “Adepts” agreed to smooth in part at least a few of the most glaring difficulties and showing a highway to avoid them in future by studying the non-historical but actual, instead of the historical but mythical, portions of Universal History. And this they have achieved, they believe (at any rate with a few of their querists), by simply showing, or rather reminding them, that since no historical fact can stand as such against the “assumption” of the “Adepts”—historians being confessedly ignorant of pre-Roman and Greek origins beyond the ghostly shadows of the Etruscans and Pelasgians—no real historical difficulty can be possibly involved in their statement. From objectors outside the Society, the writers neither demand nor do they expect mercy. The “Adept” has no favours ask at the hands of conjectural science, nor does he exact from any member of the “London Lodge” blind faith: it being his cardinal maxim that faith should only follow inquiry. The “Adept” is more than content to be allowed to remain silent, keeping what he may know to himself, unless worthy seekers wish to share it. He has so done for ages, and can do so for a little longer. Moreover, he would rather not “arrest attention” or “command respect” at present. Thus he leaves his audience to first verify his statements in every case by the brilliant though rather wavering light of modern science: after which his facts may be either accepted or rejected, at the option of the willing student. In short, the “Adept”—if one indeed—has to remain utterly unconcerned with, and unmoved by, the issue. He imparts that which it is lawful for him to give out, and deals but with facts.

The philological and archæological “difficulties” next demand attention.


Two questions are blended into one. Having shown the reasons why the Asiatic student is prompted to decline the guidance of Western History, it remains to explain his contumacious obstinacy in the same direction with regard to philology and archæology. While expressing the sincerest admiration for the clever modern methods of reading the past histories of nations now mostly extinct, and following the progress and evolution of their respective languages, now dead, the student of Eastern occultism, and even the profane Hindu scholar acquainted with his national literature, can hardly be made to share the confidence felt by Western philologists in these conglutinative methods, when practically applied to his own country and Sanskrit literature. Three facts, at least, out of many are well calculated to undermine his faith in these Western methods:

1. Of some dozens of eminent Orientalists, no two agree, even in their verbatim translation of Sanskrit texts. Nor is there more harmony shown in their interpretation of the possible meaning of doubtful passages.

2. Though Numismatics is a less conjectural branch of science, and when starting from well-established basic dates, so to say, an exact one (since it can hardly fail to yield correct chronological data, in our ease, namely, Indian antiquities); archæologists have hitherto failed to obtain any such position. On their own confession, they are hardly justified in accepting the Samvat and Salivahana eras as their guiding lights, the real initial points of both being beyond the power of the European Orientalists to verify; yet all the same, the respective dates “of 57 B.C. and 78 A.D.” are accepted implicitly, and fanciful ages thereupon ascribed to archæological remains.

3. The greatest authorities upon Indian archæaology and architecture—General Cunningham and Mr. Fergusson—represent in their conclusions the two opposite poles. The province of archæology is to provide trustworthy canons of criticism, and not, it should seem, to perplex or puzzle. The Western critic is invited to point to one single relic of the past in India, whether written record or inscribed or uninscribed monument, the age of which is not disputed. No sooner has one archæologist determined a date—say the first century—than another tries to pull it forward to the 10th or perhaps the 14th century of the Christian era. While General Cunningham ascribes the construction of the present Buddha Gaya temple to the 1st century after Christ—the opinion of Mr. Fergusson is that its external form belongs to the 14th century; and so the unfortunate outsider is as wise as ever. Noticing this discrepancy in a “Report on the Archæological Survey of India” (vol. viii. p. 60), the conscientious and capable Buddha-Gaya Chief Engineer, Mr. J. D. Beglar, observes that “notwithstanding his (Fergusson’s) high authority, this opinion must he unhesitatingly set aside,” and forthwith assigns the building under notice to the 6th century. While the conjectures of one archæologist are termed by another “hopelessly wrong,” the identifications of Buddhist relics by this other are in their turn denounced as “quite untenable.” And so in the case of every relic of whatever age.

When the “recognized” authorities agree—among themselves at least—then will it be time to show them collectively in the wrong. Until then, since their respective conjectures can lay no claim to the character of history, the “Adepts” have neither the leisure nor the disposition to leave weightier business to combat empty speculations, in number as many as there are pretended authorities. Let the blind lead the blind, if they will not accept the light.13

As in the “historical,” so in this new “archæological difficulty,” namely, the apparent anachronism as to the date of our Lord’s birth, the point at issue is again concerned with the “old Greeks and Romans.” Less ancient than our Atlantean friends, they seem more dangerous inasmuch as they have become the direct allies of philologists in our dispute over Buddhist annals. We are notified by Prof. Max Müller, by sympathy the most fair of Sanskritists as well as the most learned—and with whom, for a wonder, most of his rivals are found siding in this particular question—that “everything in Indian chronology depends on the date of Chandragupta,”—the Greek Sandracottus. “Either of these dates (in the Chinese and Ceylonese chronology) is impossible, because it does not agree with the chronology of Greece.” (“Hist. of the Sans. Lit.,” p. 275.) It is then by the clear light of this new Alexandrian Pharos shed, upon a few synchronisms casually furnished by the Greek and Roman classical writers, that the “extraordinary” statements of the “Adepts” have now to be cautiously examined. For Western Orientalists the historical existence of Buddhism begins with Asoka, though, even with the help of Greek spectacles, they are unable to see beyond Chandragupta. Therefore, “before that time Buddhist chronology is traditional and full of absurdities.” Furthermore, nothing is said in the Brahmanas of the Bauddhas—ergo, there were none before “Sandracottus,” nor have the Buddhists or Brahmans any right to a history of their own, save the one evoluted by the Western mind. As though the Muse of History had turned her back while events were gliding by, the “historian” confesses his inability to close the immense lacunæ between the Indo-Aryan supposed immigration en masse across the Hindoo Kush, and the reign of Asoka. Having nothing more solid, he uses contradictory inferences and speculations. But the Asiatic occultists, whose forefathers had her tablets in their keeping, and even some learned native Pundits—believe they can. The claim, however, is pronounced unworthy of attention. Of the late Smriti (traditional history) which, for those who know how to interpret its allegories, is full of unimpeachable historical records, an Ariadne’s thread through the tortuous labyrinth of the Past—has come to be unanimously regarded as a tissue of exaggerations, monstrous fables, “clumsy forgeries of the first centuries A.D.” It is now openly declared as worthless not only for exact chronological but even for general historical purposes. Thus by dint of arbitrary condemnations, based on absurd interpretations (too often the direct outcome of sectarian prejudice), the Orientalist has raised himself to the eminence of a philological mantic. His learned vagaries are fast superseding, even in the minds of many a Europeanized Hindu, the important historical facts that lie concealed under the exoteric phraseology of the Puranas and other Smritic literature. At the outset, therefore, the Eastern Initiate declares the evidence of those Orientalists who, abusing their unmerited authority, play ducks and drakes with his most sacred relics, ruled out of court; and before giving his facts he would suggest to the learned European Sanskritist and archæologist that, in the matter of chronology, the difference in the sum of their series of conjectural historical events, proves them to be mistaken from A to Z. They know that one single wrong figure in an arithmetical progression will always throw the whole calculation into inextricable confusion: the multiplication yielding, generally, in such a case, instead of the correct sum something entirely unexpected. A fair proof of this may, perhaps, be found in something already alluded to—namely, the adoption of the dates of certain Hindu eras as the basis of their chronological assumptions. In assigning a date to text or monument they have, of course, to be guided by one of the pre-Christian Indian eras, whether inferentially, or otherwise. And yet—in one case, at least—they complain repeatedly that they are utterly ignorant as to the correct starting-point of the most important of these. The positive date of Vikramaditya, for instance, whose reign forms the starting point of the Samvat era, is in reality unknown to them. With some, Vikramaditya flourished “B.C.” 56; with others, 86; with others again, in the 6th century of the Christian era; while Mr. Fergusson will not allow the Samvat era any beginning before the “10th century A.D.” In short, and in the words of Dr. Weber,14 they “have absolutely no authentic evidence to show whether the era of Vikramaditya dates from the year of his birth, from some achievement, or from the year of his death, or whether, in fine, it may not have been simply introduced by him for astronomical reasons.” There were several Vikramadityas and Vikramas in Indian history, for it is not a name, but an honorary title, as the Orientalists have now come to learn. How then can any chronological deduction from such a shifting premise be anything but untrustworthy, especially when, as in the instance of the Samvat, the basic date is made to travel along, at the personal fancy of Orientalists, between the 1st and the 10th century?

Thus it appears to be pretty well proved that in ascribing chronological dates to Indian antiquities, Anglo-Indian as well as European archæologists are often guilty of the most ridiculous anachronisms. That, in fine, they have been hitherto furnishing History with an arithmetical mean, while ignorant, in nearly every case, of its first term! Nevertheless, the Asiatic student is invited to verify and correct his dates by the flickering light of this chronological will-o’-the-wisp. Nay, nay. Surely “An English F. T. S.” would never expect us in matters demanding the minutest exactness to trust to such Western beacons! And he will, perhaps, permit us to hold to our own views, since we know that our dates are neither conjectural nor liable to modifications. Where even such veteran archæologists as General Cunningham do not seem above suspicion, and are openly denounced by their colleagues, palæography seems to hardly deserve the name of exact science. This busy antiquarian has been repeatedly denounced by Prof. Weber and others for his indiscriminate acceptance of that Samvat era. Nor have the other Orientalists been more lenient especially those who, perchance under the inspiration of early sympathies for biblical chronology, prefer in matters connected with Indian dates to give head to their own emotional but unscientific intuitions. Some would have us believe that the Samvat era “is not demonstrable for times anteceding the Christian era at all.” Kern makes efforts to prove that the Indian astronomers began to employ this era “only after the year of grace 1000.” Prof. Weber, referring sarcastically to General Cunningham, observes that “others, on the contrary, have no hesitation in at once referring, wherever possible, every Samvat or Samvatsare-dated inscription to the Samvat era.” Thus, e.g., Cunningham (in his “Arch. Survey of India,” iii. 31, 39) directly assigns an inscription dated Samvat 5 to the year “B.C. 52,” etc., and winds up the statement with the following plaint: “For the present, therefore, unfortunately, where there is nothing else (but that unknown era) to guide us, it must generally remain an open question, which era we have to do with in a particular inscription, and what date consequently the inscription bears.”15

The confession is significant. It is pleasant to find such a ring of sincerity in a European Orientalist, though it does seem quite ominous for Indian archæology. The initiated Brahmans know the positive dates of their eras and remain therefore unconcerned. What the “Adepts” have once said, they maintain; and no new discoveries or modified conjectures of accepted authorities can exert any pressure upon their data. Even if Western archæologists or numismatists took it into their heads to change the date of our Lord and Glorified Deliverer from the 7th century “B.C.” to the 7th century “A.D.,” we would but the more admire such a remarkable gift for knocking about dates and eras, as though they were so many lawn-tennis balls.

Meanwhile, to all sincere and inquiring Theosophists, we will say plainly, it is useless for any one to speculate about the date of our Lord Sanggyas’s birth, while rejecting à priori all the Brahmanical, Ceylonese, Chinese, and Tibetan dates. The pretext that these do not agree with the chronology of a handful of Greeks who visited the country 300 years after the event in question, is too fallacious and bold. Greece was never concerned with Buddhism, and besides the fact that the classics furnish their few synchronistic dates simply upon the hearsay of their respective authors—a few Greeks, who themselves lived centuries before the writers quoted—their chronology is itself too defective, and their historical records, when it was a question of national triumphs, too bombastic and often too diametrically opposed to fact, to inspire with confidence any one less prejudiced than the average European Orientalist. To seek to establish the true dates in Indian history by connecting its events with the mythical “invasion,” while confessing that “one would look in vain in the literature of the Brahmans or Buddhists for any allusion to Alexander’s conquest, and although it is impossible to identify any of the historical events related by Alexander’s companions with the historical tradition of India,” amounts to something more than a mere exhibition of incompetence in this direction: were not Prof. Max Müller the party concerned—we might say that it appears almost like predetermined dishonesty.

These are harsh words to say, and calculated no doubt to shock many a European mind trained to look up to what is termed “scientific authority” with a feeling akin to that of the savage for his family fetich. They are well deserved, nevertheless, as a few examples will show. To such intellects as Prof. Weber’s—whom we take as the leader of the German Orientalists of the type of Christophiles— certainly the word “obtuseness” cannot be applied. Upon seeing how chronology is deliberately and maliciously perverted in favour of “Greek influence,” Christian interests and his own predetermined theories—another, and even a stronger term should be applied. What expression is too severe to signify one’s feelings upon reading such an unwitting confession of disingenuous scholarship as Weber repeatedly makes (“Hist. Ind. Lit.”) when urging the necessity of admitting that a passage “has been touched up by later interpellation,” or forcing fanciful chronological places for texts admittedly very ancient—as otherwise the dates would be brought down too far or too near!” And this is the keynote of his entire policy: fiat hypothesis, ruat cælum! On the other hand Prof. Max Muller, enthusiastic Indophile as he seems, crams centuries into his chronological thimble without the smallest apparent compunction. . . . .

These two Orientalists are instances, because they are accepted beacons of philology and Indian palæography. Our national monuments are dated and our ancestral history perverted to suit their opinions; the pernicious evil has ensued, that as a result History is now recording for the misguidance of posterity the false annals and distorted facts which, upon their evidence, will be accepted without appeal as the outcome of the fairest and ablest critical analysis. While Prof. Max Muller will hear of no other than a Greek criterion for Indian chronology, Prof. Weber (op. cit.) finds Greek influence—his universal solvent—in the development of India’s religion, philosophy, literature, astronomy, medicine, architecture, etc. To support this fallacy the most tortuous sophistry, the most absurd etymological deductions are resorted to. If one fact more than another has been set at rest by comparative mythology, it is that their fundamental religious ideas, and most of their gods, were derived by the Greeks from religions flourishing in the north-west of India, the cradle of the main Hellenic stock. This is now entirely disregarded, because a disturbing element in the harmony of the critical spheres. And though nothing is more reasonable than the inference that the Grecian astronomical terms were inherited equally from the parent stock, Prof. Weber would have us believe that “it was Greek influence that just infused a real life into Indian astronomy” (p. 251). in fine, the hoary ancestors of the Hindus borrowed their astronomical terminology and learnt the art of star gazing and even their zodiac from the Hellenic infant! This proof engenders another: the relative antiquity of the astronomical texts shall be henceforth determined upon the presence or absence in them of asterisms and zodiacal signs, the former being undisguisedly Greek in their names, the latter are “designated by their Sanskrit names which are translated from the Greek” (p. 255). Thus “Manu’s law being unacquainted with the planets,” is considered as more ancient than Yajnavalkya’s Code, which “inculcates their worship,” and so on. But there is still another and a better test found out by the Sanskritists for determining with “infallible accuracy” the age of the texts, apart from asterisms and zodiacal signs any casual mention in them of the name “Yavana,” taken in every instance to designate the “Greeks.” This, apart “from an internal chronology based on the character of the works themselves, and on the quotations, etc., therein contained, is the only one possible,” we are told. As a result the absurd statement that “the Indian astronomers regularly speak of the Yavanas as their teachers” (p. 252). Ergo, their teachers were Greeks. For with Weber and others “Yavana” and “Greek” are convertible terms.

But it so happens that Yavanacharya was the Indian title of a single Greek—Pythagoras; as Sankaracharya was the title of a single Hindu philosopher; and the ancient Aryan astronomical writers cited his opinions to criticize and compare them with the teachings of their own astronomical science, long before him perfected and derived from their ancestors. The honorific title of Acharya (master) was applied to him as to every other learned astronomer or mystic; and it certainly did not mean that Pythagoras or any other Greek “Master” was necessarily the master of the Brahmans. The word “Yavana” was a generic term employed ages before the “Greeks of Alexander” projected “their influence” upon Jambudvipa, to designate people of a younger race, the word meaning Yuvan “young,” or younger. They knew of Yavanas of the north, west, south and east; and the Greek strangers received this appellation as the Persians, Indo-Scythians and others had before them. An exact parallel is afforded in our present day. To the Tibetans every foreigner whatsoever is known as a Peling; the Chinese designate Europeans as “red-haired devils;” and the Mussalmans call every one outside of Islam a Kaffir. The Webers of the future, following the example now set them, may perhaps, after 10,000 years, affirm, upon the authority of scraps of Moslem literature then extant, that the Bible was written, and the English, French, Russians and Germans who possessed and translated or “invented” it, lived in Kaffiristan shortly before their era under “Moslem influence.” Because the Yuga Purana of the Gárgi Sanhita speaks of an expedition of the Yavanas “as far as Pátaliputra,” therefore, either the Macedonians or the Seleucidæ had conquered all India! But our Western critic is ignorant, of course, of the fact that Ayodhya or Sakéta of Rama was for two millenniums repelling inroads of various Mongolian and other Turanian tribes, besides the Indo-Scythians, from beyond Nepaul and the Himalayas. Prof. Weber seems finally himself frightened at the Yavana spectre he has raised, for he queries:—“Whether by the Yavanas it is really the Greeks who are meant . . . . or possibly merely their Indo-Scythian or other successors, to whom the name was afterwards transferred.” This wholesome doubt ought to have modified his dogmatic tone in many other such cases.

But, drive out prejudice with a pitch fork it will ever return. The eminent scholar, though staggered by his own glimpse of the truth, returns to the charge with new vigour. We are startled by the fresh discovery that Asuramaya:16 the earliest astronomer, mentioned repeatedly in the Indian epics, “is identical with ‘Ptolemaios’ of the Greeks.” The reason for it given is, that “this latter name, as we see from the inscriptions of Piyadasi, became in Indian Turamaya,’ out of which the name ‘Asuramaya might very easily grow; and since, by the later tradition, this ‘Maya’ is distinctly assigned to Romaka-pura in the West.” Had the “Piyadasi inscription” been found on the site of ancient Babylonia, one might suspect the word “Turamaya” as derived from “Turanomaya,” or rather mania. Since, however, the Piyadasi inscriptions belong distinctly to India, and the title was borne but by two kings—Chandragupta and Dharmásoka—what has “‘Ptolemaios’ of the Greeks” to do with “Turamaya” or the latter with “Asuramaya,” except, indeed, to use it as a fresh pretext to drag the Indian astronomer under the stupefying “Greek influence” of the Upas Tree of Western Philology? Then we learn that, because “Pânini once mentions the Yavanas, i.e. . . . . Greeks, and explains the formation of the word ‘Yavandni,’ to which, according to the Varttika, the word lipi, writing,’ must be supplied,” therefore the word signifies “the writing of the Yavanas” of the Greeks and none other. Would the German philologists (who have so long and so fruitlessly attempted to explain this word) be very much surprised if told that they are yet as far as possible from the truth? That—Yavanáni does not mean “Greek writing” at all, but any foreign writing whatsoever? That the absence of the word “writing” in the old texts, except in connection with the names of foreigners, does not in the least imply that none but Greek writing was known to them, or that they had none of their own, being ignorant of the art of reading and writing until the days of Pânini? (theory of Prof. Max Müller). For Devanagari is as old as the Vedas, and held so sacred that the Brahmans, first under penalty of death, and later on of eternal ostracism, were not even allowed to mention it to profane ears, much less to make known the existence of their secret temple libraries. So that by the word Yavanáni, “to which, according to the Varttika, the word lipi, ‘writing,’ must he supplied,” the writing of foreigners in general, whether Phœnician, Roman, or Greek, is always meant. As to the preposterous hypothesis of Prof. Max Müller that writing “was not used for literary purposes in India” before Pânini’s time (again upon Greek authority) that matter has been disposed of elsewhere.

Equally unknown are those certain other and most important facts, fable though they seem. First, that the Aryan “Great War,” the Mahabhárata, and the Trojan War of Homer—both mythical as to personal biographies and fabulous supernumeraries, yet perfectly historical in the main—belong to the same cycle of events. For the occurrences of many centuries, among them the separation of sundry peoples and races, erroneously traced to Central Asia alone, were in these immortal epics compressed within the scope of single dramas made to occupy but a few years. Secondly, that in this immense antiquity the forefathers of the Aryan Greeks and the Aryan Brahmans were as closely united and intermixed as are now the Aryans and the so-called Dravidians. Thirdly, that before the days of the historical Rama, from whom in unbroken genealogical descent the Oodeypore sovereigns trace their lineage, Rajpootana was as full of direct post-Atlantean “Greeks,” as the post- Trojan, subjacent Cumæa and other settlements of pre-Magna Græcia were of the fast Hellenizing sires of the modern Rajpoot. One acquainted with the real meaning of the ancient epics cannot refrain from asking himself whether these intuitional Orientalists prefer being called deceivers or deceived, and in charity give them the benefit of the doubt.17 What can be thought of Prof. Weber’s endeavour when, “to determine more accurately the position of Ramayana (called by him the ‘artificial epic’) in literary history,” he ends with an assumption that “it rests upon an acquaintance with the Trojan cycle of legend . . . . the conclusion there arrived at is that the date of its composition is to be placed at the commencement of the Christian era in an epoch when the operation of the Greek influence upon India had already set in!” (p. 194.) The case is hopeless. If the “internal chronology” and external fitness of things, we may add presented in the triple Indian epic, did not open the eyes of the hypercritical professors to the many historical facts enshrined in their striking allegories; if the significant mention of “black Yavanas,” and “white Yavanas,” indicating totally different peoples, could so completely escape their notice;18 and the enumeration of a host of tribes, nations, races, clans, under their separate Sanskrit designations in the Mahbhárata, had not stimulated them to try to trace their ethnic evolution and identify them with their now living European descendants, there is little to hope from their scholarship except a mosaic of learned guesswork. The latter scienticc mode of critical analysis may yet end some day in a consensus of opinion that Buddhism is due wholesale to the “Life of Barlaam and Josaphat,” written by St. John of Damascus; or that our religion was plagiarized from that famous Roman Catholic legend of the eighth century in which our Lord Gautama is made to figure as a Christian Saint, better still, that the Vedas were written at Athens under the auspices of St. George, the tutelary successor of Theseus. For fear that anything might be lacking to prove the complete obsession of Jambudvipa by the demon of “Greek influence,” Dr. Weber vindictively casts a last insult into the face of India by remarking that if “European Western steeples owe their origin to an imitation of the Buddhist topes19 . . . . on the other hand in the most ancient Hindu edifices the presence of Greek influence is unmistakable” (p. 274). Well may Dr. Rajendralálá Mitra “hold out particularly against the idea of any Greek influence whatever on the development of Indian architecture.” If his ancestral literature must be attributed to “Greek influence,” the temples, at least, might have been spared. One can understand how the Egyptian Hall in London reflects the influence of the ruined temples on the Nile; but it is a more difficult feat, even for a German professor, to prove the archaic structure of old Aryavarta a foreshadowing of the genius of the late lamented Sir Christopher Wren! The outcome of this palæographic spoliation is that there is not a tittle left for India to call her own. Even medicine is due to the same Hellenic influence. We are told—this once by Roth—that “only a comparison of the principles of Indian with those of Greek medicine can enable us to judge of the origin, age and value of the former;” . . . . and “à propos of Charaka’s injunctions as to the duties of the physician to his patient,” adds Dr. Weber, “he cites some remarkably coincident expressions from the Oath of the Asklepiads.” It is then settled. India is Hellenized from head to foot, and even had no physic until the Greek doctors came.

Sakya Muni’s Place in History

No Orientalist, save perhaps, the same wise, not to say deep, Prof. Weber, opposes more vehemently than Prof. Max Müller Hindu and Buddhist chronology. Evidently if an Indophile he is not a Buddhophile, and General Cunningham, however independent otherwise in his archæological researches, agrees with him more than would seem strictly prudent in view of possible future discoveries.1 We have then to refute in our turn this great Oxford professor’s speculations.

To the evidence furnished by the Puranas and Mahavansa, which he also finds hopelessly entangled and contradictory (though the perfect accuracy of that Sinhalese history is most warmly acknowledged by Sir Emerson Tennant, the historian), he opposes the Greek classics and their chronology. With him, it is always “Alexander’s invasion” and “Conquest,” and “the ambassador of Seleucus Nicator—Megasthenes,” while even the faintest record of such “conquest” is conspicuously absent from Brahmanic record; and although in an inscription of Piyadasi are mentioned the names of Antiochus, Ptolemy, Magus, Antigonus, and even of the great Alexander himself, as vassals of the king Piyadasi, the Macedonian is yet called the “Conqueror of India.” In other words, while any casual mention of Indian affairs by a Greek writer of no great note must be accepted unchallenged, no record of the Indians, literary or monumental, is entitled to the smallest consideration. Until rubbed against the touch-stone of Hellenic infallibility it must be set down, in the words of Professor Weber, as “of course mere empty boasting.” Oh, rare Western sense of justice!2

Occult records show differently. They say—challenging proof to the contrary—that Alexander never penetrated into India farther than Taxila; which is not even quite the modern Attock. The murmuring of the Macedonian’s troops began at the same place, and not as given out, on the banks of the Hyphasis. For having never gone to the Hydaspes or Jhelum, he could not have been on the Sutlej. Nor did Alexander ever found satrapies or plant any Greek colonies in the Punjab. The only colonies he left behind him that the Brahmans ever knew of, amounted to a few dozens of disabled soldiers, scattered hither and thither on the frontiers; who with their native raped wives settled around the deserts of Karmania and Drangaria—the then natural boundaries of India. And unless history regards as colonists the many thousands of dead men and those who settled for ever under the hot sands of Gedrosia, there were no other, save in the fertile imagination of the Greek historians. The boasted “invasion of India” was confined to the regions between Karmania and Attock, east and west; and Beloochistan and the Hindu Kush, south and north: countries which were all India for the Greek of those days. His building a fleet on the Hydaspes is a fiction; and his “victorious march through the fighting armies of India,” another. However, it is not with the “world conqueror” that we have now to deal, but rather with the supposed accuracy and even casual veracity of his captains and countrymen, whose hazy reminiscences on the testimony of the classical writers have now been raised to unimpeachable evidence in everything that may affect the chronology of early Buddhism and India.

Foremost among the evidence of classical writers, that of Flavius Arrianus is brought forward against the Buddhist and Chinese chronologies. No one should impeach the personal testimony of this conscientious author had he been himself an eye-witness instead of Megasthenes. But when a man comes to know that he wrote his accounts upon the now lost works of Aristobulus and Ptolemy; and that the latter described their data from texts prepared by authors who had never set their eyes upon one line written by either Megasthenes or Nearchus himself; and that knowing so much one is informed by Western historians that among the works of Arrian, Book VII. of the “Anabasis of Alexander,” is “the chief authority on the subject of the Indian invasion—a book unfortunately with a gap in its twelfth chapter”—one may well conceive upon what a broken reed Western authority leans for its Indian chronology. Arrian lived over 600 years after Buddha’s death; Strabo, 500 (55 “B.C.”); Diodorus Siculus—quite a trustworthy compiler!—about the first century; Plutarch over 700 anno Buddhæ, and Quintus Curtius over 1,000 years! And when, to crown this army of witnesses against the Buddhist annals, the reader is informed by our Olympian critics that the works of the last-named author—than whom no more blundering (geographically, chronologically, and historically) writer ever lived—form along with the Greek history of Arrian the most valuable source of information respecting the military career of Alexander the Great—then the only wonder is that the great conqueror was not made by his biographers to have—Leonidas-like—defended the Thermopylean passes in the Hindu Kush against the invasion of the first Vedic Brahmins “from the Oxus.” Withal the Buddhist dates are either rejected or only accepted pro tempore. Well may the Hindu resent the preference shown to the testimony of Greeks—of whom some, at least, are better remembered in Indian history as the importers into Jambudvipa of every Greek and Roman vice known and unknown to their day—against his own national records and history. “Greek influence” was felt, indeed, in India, in this, and only in this, one particular. Greek damsels mentioned as an article of great traffic for India—Persian and Greek Yavanis—were the fore-mothers of the modern nautch-girls, who had till then remained pure virgins of the inner temples. Alliances with the Autiochuses and the Seleucus Nicators bore no better fruit than the rotten apple of Sodom. Pâtaliputra, as prophesied by Gautama Buddha, found its fate in the waters of the Ganges, having been twice before nearly destroyed, again like Sodom, by the fire of heaven.

Reverting to the main subject, the “contradictions” between the Ceylonese and Chino-Tibetan chronologies actually prove nothing. If the Chinese annalists of Saul in accepting the prophecy of our Lord that “a thousand years after He had reached Nirvana, His doctrines would reach the north” fell into the mistake of applying it to China, whereas Tibet was meant, the error was corrected after the eleventh century of the Tzina era in most of the temple chronologies. Besides which, it may now refer to other events relating to Buddhism, of which Europe knows nothing, China or Tzina dates its present name only from the year 296 of the Buddhist era3 (vulgar chronology having assumed it from the first Hoang of the Tzin dynasty): therefore the Tathágata could not have indicated it by this name in his well-known prophecy. If misunderstood even by several of the Buddhist commentators, it is yet preserved in its true sense by his own immediate Arhâts. The Glorified One meant the country that stretches far off from the Lake Mansorowara; far beyond that region of the Himavât, where dwelt from time immemorial the great “teachers of the Snowy Range.” These were the great Sráman-achâryas who preceded Him, and were His teachers, their humble successors trying to this day to perpetuate their and His doctrines. The prophecy came out true to the very day, and it is corroborated both by the mathematical and historical chronology of Tibet—quite as accurate as that of the Chinese. Arhât Kàsyâpa, of the dynasty of Môryas, founded by one of the Chandraguptas near Pâtaliputra, left the convent of Pânch-Kukkutarama, in consequence of a vision of our Lord, for missionary purpose in the year 683 of the Tzin era (436 Western era) and had reached the great Lake of Bod-Yul in the same year. It is at that period that expired the millennium prophesied. The Arhât carrying with him the fifth statue of Sakya Muni out of the seven gold statues made after his bodily death by order of the first Council, planted it in the soil on that very spot where seven years later was built the first GUNPA (monastery), where the earliest Buddhist lamas dwelt. And though the conversion of the whole country did not take place before the beginning of the seventh century (Western era), the good law had, nevertheless, reached the North at the time prophesied, and no earlier. For, the first of the golden statues had been plundered from Bhikshu Sali Sûka by the Hiong-un robbers and melted, during the days of Dharmasôka, who had sent missionaries beyond Nepaul. The second had a like fate, at Ghar-zha, even before it had reached the boundaries of Bod-Yul. The third was rescued from a barbarous tribe of Bhons by a Chinese military chief who had pursued them into the deserts of Schamo about 423 Buddhist era (120 “B.C.”) The fourth was sunk in the third century of the Christian era, together with the ship that carried it from Magadha toward the hills of Ghangs-chhèn-dzo-ngá (Chitagong). The fifth arriving in the nick of time reached its destination with Arhat Kasyapa. So did the last two4 . . . .

On the other hand, the Southern Buddhists, headed by the Ceylonese, open their annals with the following event:

They claim according to their native chronology that Vijaya, the son of Sinhabahu, the sovereign of Lala, a small kingdom or Raj on the Gandaki river in Magadha, was exiled by his father for acts of turbulence and immorality. Sent adrift on the ocean with his companions after having their heads shaved, Buddhist-Bhikshu fashion, as a sign of penitence, he was carried to the shores of Lanka. Once landed, he and his companions conquered and easily took possession of an island inhabited by uncivilized tribes, generically called the Yakshas. This—at whatever epoch and year it may have happened—is an historical fact, and the Ceylonese records, independent of Buddhist chronology, give it out as having taken place 382 years before Dushtagamani (i.e., in 543 before the Christian era). Now, the Buddhist Sacred Annals record certain words of our Lord pronounced by Him shortly before His death. In Mahavansa He is made to have addressed them to Sakra, in the midst of a great assembly of Devatas (Dhyan Chohans), and while already “in the exalted unchangeable Nirvana, seated on the throne on which Nirvana is achieved.” In our texts Tathagata addresses them to his assembled Arhâts and Bhikkhuts a few days before his final liberation:—“One Vijaya, the son of Sinhabahu, king of the land of Lala, together with 700 attendants, has just landed on Lanka. Lord of Dhyan Buddhas (Devas)! my doctrine will be established on Lanka. Protect him and Lanka!” This is the sentence pronounced which, as proved later, was a prophecy. The now familiar phenomenon of clairvoyant prevision, amply furnishing a natural explanation of the prophetic utterance without any unscientific theory of miracle, the laugh of certain Orientalists seems uncalled for. Such parallels of poetico-religious embellishments as found in Mahavansa exist in the written records of every religion—as much in Christianity as anywhere else. An unbiassed mind would first endeavour to reach the correct and very superficially hidden meaning before throwing ridicule and contemptuous discredit upon them. Moreover, the Tibetans possess a more sober record of this prophecy in the Notes, already alluded to, reverentially taken down by King Ajâtasatru’s nephew. They are, as said above, in the possession of the Lamas of the convent built by Arhât Kasyapa—the Môryas and their descendants being of a more direct descent than the Rajput Gautamas, the Chiefs of Nagara—the village identified with Kapilavastu—are the best entitled of all to their possession. And we know they are historical to a word. For the Esoteric Buddhist they yet vibrate in space; and these prophetic words, together with the true picture of the Sugata who pronounced them, are present in the aura of every atom of His relics. This, we hasten to say, is no proof but for the psychologist. But there is other and historical evidence: the cumulative testimony of our religious chronicles. The philologist has not seen these; but this is no proof of their non-existence.

The mistake of the Southern Buddhists lies in dating the Nirvana of Sanggyas Pan-chhen from the actual day of his death, whereas, as above stated, He had reached it over twenty years previous to his disincarnation. Chronologically, the Southerners are right, both in dating His death in 543 “B.C.,” and one of the great Councils at 100 years after the latter event. But the Tibetan Chohans, who possess all the documents relating to the last twenty-four years of His external and internal life—of which no philologist knows anything—can show that there is no real discrepancy between the Tibetan and the Ceylonese chronologies as stated by the Western Orientalists.5 For the profane, the Exalted One was born in the sixty-eighth year of the Burmese Eeatzana era, established by Eeatzana (Anjana), King of Dewaha; for the initiated—in the forty-eighth year of that era, on a Friday of the waxing moon, of May. And it was in 563 before the Christian chronology that Tathâgata reached his full Nirvana, dying, as correctly stated by Mahâvana—in 543, on the very day when Vijaya landed with his companions in Ceylon—as prophesied by Loka-rätha, our Buddha.

Professor Max Muller seems to greatly scoff at this prophecy. In his chapter (“Hist. S. L.”) upon Buddhism (the “false” religion), the eminent scholar speaks as though he resented such an unprecedented claim. “We are asked to believe”—he writes—“that the Ceylonese historians placed the founder of the Vijyan dynasty of Ceylon in the year 543 in accordance with their sacred chronology!” (i.e., Buddha’s prophecy), “while we (the philologists) are not told, however, through what channel the Ceylonese could have received their information as to the exact date of Buddha’s death.” Two points may be noticed in these sarcastic phrases: (a) the implication of a false prophecy by our Lord; and (b) a dishonest tampering with chronological records, reminding one of those of Eusebius, the famous Bishop of Cæsarea, who stands accused in history of “perverting every Egyptian chronological table for the sake of synchronisms.” With reference to charge one, he may be asked why our Sakyasinha’s prophecies should not be as much entitled to his respect as those of his Saviour would be to ours—were we to ever write the true history of the “Galilean” Arhât. With regard to charge two, the distinguished philologist is reminded of the glass house he and all Christian chronologists are themselves living in. Their inability to vindicate the adoption of December 25 as the actual day of the Nativity, and hence to determine the age and the year of their Avatar’s death—even before their own people—is far greater than is ours to demonstrate the year of Buddha to other nations. Their utter failure to establish on any other but traditional evidence the, to them, historically unproved, if probable, fact of his existence at all—ought to engender a fairer spirit. When Christian historians can, upon undeniable historical authority, justify biblical and ecclesiastical chronology, then, perchance, they may be better equipped than at present for the congenial work of rending heathen chronologies into shreds.

The “channel” the Ceylonese received their information through, was two Bikshus who had left Magadha to follow their disgraced brethren into exile. The capacity of Siddhartha Buddha’s Arhâts for transmitting intelligence by psychic currents may, perhaps, be conceded without any great stretch of imagination to have been equal to, if not greater than, that of the prophet Elijah, who is credited with the power of having known from any distance all that happened in the king’s bed chamber. No Orientalist has the right to reject the testimony of other people’s Scriptures, while professing belief in the far more contradictory and entangled evidence of his own upon the self-same theory of proof. If Professor Müller is a sceptic at heart, then let him fearlessly declare himself; only a sceptic who impartially acts the iconoclast has the right to assume such a tone of contempt towards any non-Christian religion. And for the instruction of the impartial inquirer only, shall it be thought worth while to collate the evidence afforded by historical—not psychological—data. Meanwhile, by analyzing some objections and exposing the dangerous logic of our critic, we may give the theosophists a few more facts connected with the subject under discussion.

Now that we have seen Professor Max Müller’s opinions in general about this, so to say, the Prologue to the Buddhist Drama with Vijaya as the hero—what has he to say as to the details of its plot? What weapon does he use to weaken this foundation-stone of a chronology upon which are built and on which depend all other Buddhist dates? What is the fulcrum for the critical lever he uses against the Asiatic records? Three of his main points may be stated seriatim with answers appended. He begins by premising that—

1st.—“If the starting-point of the Northern Buddhist chronology turns out to be merely hypothetical, based as it is on a prophecy of Buddha, it will be difficult to avoid the same conclusion with regard to the date assigned to Buddha’s death by the Buddhists of Ceylon and of Burmah” (p. 266). “The Mahavansa begins with relating three miraculous visits which Buddha paid to Ceylon.” Vijaya, the name of the founder of the first dynasty (in Ceylon), means conquest, “and, therefore, such a person most likely never existed” (p. 268). This he believes invalidates the whole Buddhist chronology.

To which the following pendant may be offered:—

William I., King of England, is commonly called the Conqueror; he was, moreover, the illegitimate son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, surnamed le Diable. An opera, we hear, was invented on this subject, and full of miraculous events, called “Robert the Devil,” showing its traditional character. Therefore shall we be also justified in saying that Edward the Confessor, Saxons and all, up to the time of the union of the houses of York and Lancaster under Henry VII.—the new historical period in English history—are all “fabulous tradition” and “such a person as William the Conqueror most likely never existed?

2nd.—In the Chinese chronology—continues the dissecting critic—“the list of the thirty-three Buddhist patriarchs . . . . is of a doubtful character. For Western history the exact Ceylonese chronology begins with 161 B.C.” Extending beyond that date there exists but “a traditional native chronology. Therefore . . . . what goes before . . . . is but fabulous tradition.”

The chronology of the Apostles and their existence has never been proved historically. The history of the Papacy is confessedly “obscure.” Ennodius of Pavia (fifth century) was the first one to address the Roman Bishop (Symmochus), who comes fifty-first in the Apostolic succession, as Pope.” Thus, if we were to write the history of Christianity, and indulge in remarks upon its chronology, we might say that since there were no antecedent Popes, and since the Apostolic line began with Symmochus (498 A.D.), all Christian records beginning with the Nativity and up to the sixth century are therefore “fabulous traditions,” and all Christian chronology is “purely hypothetical.”

3rd.—Two discrepant dates in Buddhist chronology are scornfully pointed out by the Oxford Professor. If the landing of Vijaya, in Lanka—he says—on the same day that Buddha reached Nirvana (died) is in fulfilment of Buddha’s prophecy, then “if Buddha was a true prophet, the Ceylonese argue quite rightly that he must have died in the year of the conquest, or 543 B.C.” (p. 270). On the other hand, the Chinese have a Buddhist chronology of their own; and it does not agree with the Ceylonese. “The lifetime of Buddha from 1029 to 950) rests on his own prophecy that a millennium would elapse from his death to the conversion of China. If, therefore, Buddha was a true prophet, he must have lived about 1000 B.C.” (p. 266). But the date does not agree with the Ceylonese chronology—ergo, Buddha was a false prophet. As to that other “the first and most important link” in the Ceylonese as well as in the Chinese chronology, “it is extremely weak.” . . . . . In the Ceylonese “a miraculous genealogy had to be provided for Vijaya,” and, “a prophecy was therefore invented” (p. 269).

On these same lines of argument it may be argued that—

Since no genealogy of Jesus, “exact or inexact,” is found in any of the world’s records save those entitled the Gospels of SS. Mathew (i. 1-17), and Luke (iii. 23-38); and, since these radically disagree—although this personage is the most conspicuous in Western history, and the nicest accuracy might have been expected in his case; therefore, agreeably with Professor Max Müller’s sarcastic logic, if Jesus “was a true prophet, he must have descended from David through Joseph (Matthew’s Gospel); and “if he was a true prophet,” again, then the Christians “argue quite rightly that he must have” descended from David through Mary (Luke’s Gospel). Furthermore, since the two genealogies are obviously discrepant and prophecies were, in this instance, truly “invented” by the post-apostolic theologians [or, if preferred, old prophecies of Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets, irrelevant to Jesus, were adapted to suit his case—as recent English commentators (in Holy Orders), the Bible revisers, now concede]; and since, moreover—always following the Professor’s argument, in the cases of Buddhist and Brahmanical chronologies—Biblical chronology and genealogy are found to be “traditional and full of absurdities . . . . every attempt to bring them into harmony having proved a failure” (p. 266): have we or have we not a certain right to retort, that if Gautama Buddha is shown on these lines a false prophet, then Jesus must be likewise “a false prophet?” And if Jesus was a true prophet despite existing confusion of authorities, why on the same lines may not Buddha have been one? Discredit the Buddhist prophecies and the Christian ones must go along with them.

The utterances of the ancient pythoness now but provoke the scientific smile: but no tripod ever mounted by the prophetess of old was so shaky as the chronological trinity of points upon which this Orientalist stands to deliver his oracles. Moreover, his arguments are double-edged, as shown. If the citadel of Buddhism can be undermined by Professor Max Müller’s critical engineering, then pari passu that of Christianity must crumble in the same ruins. Or have the Christians alone the monopoly of absurd religious “inventions” and the right of being jealous of any infringement of their patent rights?

To conclude, we say, that the year of Buddha’s death is correctly stated by Mr. Sinnett, “Esoteric Buddhism” having to give its chronological dates according to esoteric reckoning. And this reckoning would alone, if explained, make away with every objection urged, from Professor Max Müller’s “Sanskrit Literature” down to the latest “evidence”—the proofs in the “Reports of the Archæological Survey of India.” The Ceylonese era, as given in Mahâvansa, is correct in everything, withholding but the above given fact of Nirvana, the great mystery of Samma-Sambuddha and Abhidina remaining to this day unknown to the outsider; and though certainly known to Bikshu Mahânâma— King Dhâtusena’s uncle—it could not be explained in a work like the Mahâvansa. Moreover, the Singhalese chronology agrees in every particular with the Burmese chronology. Independent of the religious era dating from Buddha’s death, called “Nirvanic Era,” there existed, as now shown by Bishop Bigandet (“Life of Guadama”), two historical eras. One lasted 1362 years, its last year corresponding with 1156 of the Christian era: the other, broken in two small eras, the last, succeeding immediately the other, exists to the present day. The beginning of the first, which lasted 562 years, coincides with the year 79 A.D. and the Indian Saka era. Consequently, the learned Bishop, who surely can never be suspected of partiality to Buddhism, accepts the year 543 of Buddha’s Nirvana. So do Mr. Tumour, Professor Lassen, and others.

The alleged discrepancies between the fourteen various dates of Nirvana collected by Csoma Cörösi, do not relate to the Nyr-Nyang in the least. They are calculations concerning the Nirvana of the precursors, the Boddhisatwas and previous incarnations of Sanggyas that the Hungarian found in various works and wrongly applied to the last Buddha. Europeans must not forget that this enthusiast acted under protest of the Lamas during the time of his stay with them: and that, moreover, he had learned more about the doctrines of the heretical Dugpas than of the orthodox Gelugpas. The statement of this “great authority (!) on Tibetan Buddhism,” as he is called, to the effect that Gautama had three wives whom he names—and then contradicts himself by showing (“Tibetan Grammar,” p. 162, see note) that the first two wives “are one and the same,” shows how little he can be regarded as an “authority.” he had not even learned that “Gopa, Yasodhara and Utpala Varna” are the three names for three mystical powers. So with the “discrepancies” of the dates. Out of the sixty-four mentioned by him but two relate to Sakya Muni—namely, the years 576 and 546—and these two err in their transcription; for when corrected they must stand 564 and 543. As for the rest they concern the seven ku-sum, or triple form of the Nirvanic state and their respective duration, and relate to doctrines of which Orientalists know absolutely nothing.

Consequently from the Northern Buddhists, who, as confessed by Professor Weber, “alone possess these (Buddhist) Scriptures complete,” and have preserved more authentic information regarding the circumstances of their redaction”—the Orientalists have up to this time learned next to nothing. The Tibetans say that Tathágata became a full Buddha—i.e., reached absolute Nirvana—in 2544 of the Kali era (according to Souramana), and thus lived indeed but eighty years, as no Nirvanee of the seventh degree can be reckoned among the living (i.e., existing) men. It is no better than loose conjecture to argue that it would have entered as little into the thoughts of the Brahmans to note the day of Buddha’s birth “as the Romans or even the Jews (would have) thought of preserving the date of the birth of Jesus before he had become the founder of a religion.” (Max Müller’s “Hist. S. L.”) For, while the Jews had been from the first rejecting the claim of Messiah-ship set up by the Chelas of the Jewish prophet and were not expecting their Messiah at that time, the Brahmans (the initiates, at any rate) knew of the coming of him whom they regarded as an incarnation of Divine wisdom, and therefore were well aware of the astrological date of his birth. If, in after times, in their impotent rage they destroyed every accessible vestige of the birth, life and death of Him, who in his boundless mercy to all creatures had revealed their carefully concealed mysteries and doctrines in order to check the ecclesiastical torrent of ever-growing superstitions, yet there had been a time when he was met by them as an Avatar. And, though they destroyed, others preserved.

The thousand and one speculations and the torturing of exoteric texts by Archæologist or Paleographer will ill repay the time lost in their study.

The Indian annals specify King Ajatasatru as a contemporary of Buddha, and another Ajatasatru helped to prepare the council 100 years after his death. These princes were sovereigns of Magadha and have naught to do with Ajatasatru of the Brihad-Aranyaka and the Kaushitaki-Upanishad, who was a sovereign of the Kasis; though Bhadrasena, “the son of Ajatasatru” cursed by Aruni, may have more to do with his namesake the “heir of Chandragupta” than is generally known, Professor Max Müller objects to two Asokas. He rejects Kalasoka and accepts but Dharmasoka—in accordance with “Greek” and in utter conflict with Buddhist chronology. He knows not—or perhaps prefers to ignore—that besides the two Asokas there were several personages named Chandragupta and Chandramasa. Plutarch is set aside as conflicting with the more welcome theory, and the evidence of Justin alone is accepted. There was Kalasoka, called by some Chandramasa and by others Chandragupta, whose son Nanda was succeeded by his cousin the Chandragupta of Seleucus, and under whom the Council of Vaisali took place “supported by King Nanda” as correctly stated by Taranatha. [None of them were Sudras, and this is a pure invention of the Brahmans.] Then there was the last of the Chandraguptas who assumed the name of Vikrama; he commenced the new era called the Vikramaditya or Samvat and began the new dynasty at Pataliputra, 318 (B.C.)—according to some European authorities; “after him his son Bindusara or Bhadrasena—also Chandragupta, who was followed by Dharmasoka Chandragupta. And there were two Piyadasis—the “Sandracottus” Chandragupta and Asoka. And if controverted, the Orientalists will have to account for this strange inconsistency. If Asoka was the only “Piyadasi” and the builder of the monuments, and maker of the rock-inscriptions of this name; and if his inauguration occurred as conjectured by Professor Max Müller about 259 B.C., in other words, if he reigned sixty or seventy years later than any of the Greek kings named on the Piyadasian monuments, what had he to do with their vassalage or non-vassalage, or how was he concerned with them at all? Their dealings had been with his grandfather some seventy years earlier—if he became a Buddhist only after ten years occupancy of the throne. And finally, three well-known Bhadrasenas can be proved, whose names spelt loosely and phonetically, according to each writer’s dialect and nationality, now yield a variety of names, from Bindusara, Bimbisara, and Vindusara, down to Bhadrasena and Bhadrasara, as he is called in the Vapu Puiuna. These are all synonymous. However easy, at first sight, it may seem to be to brush out of history a real personage, it becomes more difficult to prove the non-existence of Kalasoka by calling him “false,” while the second Asoka is termed “the real,” in the face of the evidence of the Puranas, written by the bitterest enemies of the Buddhists, the Brahmans of the period. The Vayu and Matsya Puranas mention both in their lists of their reigning sovereigns of the Nanda and the Môrya dynasties. And, though they connect Chandragupta with a Sudra Nanda, they do not deny existence to Kalasoka, for the sake of invalidating Buddhist chronology. However falsified the now extant texts of both the Vaya and Matsya Puranas, even accepted as they at present stand “in their true meaning,” which Professor Max Müller (notwithstanding his confidence) fails to seize, they are not “at variance with Buddhist chronology before Chandragupta.” Not, at any rate, when the real Chandragupta instead of the false Sandrocottus of the Greeks is recognized and introduced. Quite independently of the Buddhist version, there exists the historical fact recorded in the Brahmanical as well as in the Burmese and Tibetan versions, that in the year 63 of Buddha, Susinago of Benares was chosen king by the people of Pâtaliputra, who made away with Ajatasatru’s dynasty. Susinago removed the capital of Magadha from Rajagriha to Vaisali, while his successor Kalasoka removed it in his turn to Pataliputra. It was during the reign of the latter that the prophecy of Buddha concerning Pâtalibat or Pâtaliputra—a small village during His time—was realized. (See Mahaparinibbana Sutta).

It will be easy enough, when the time comes, to answer all denying Orientalists and face them with proof and document in hand. They speak of the extravagant, wild exaggerations of the Buddhists and Brahmans. The latter answer: “The wildest theorists of all are they who, to evade a self-evident fact, assume moral, anti-national impossibilities, entirely opposed to the most conspicuous traits of the Brahmanical Indian character—namely, borrowing from, or imitating in anything, other nations. From their comments on Rig Veda, down to the annals of Ceylon, from Pânini to Matouan-lin, every page of their learned scholia appears, to one acquainted with the subject, like a monstrous jumble of unwarranted and insane speculations. Therefore, notwithstanding Greek chronology and Chandragupta—whose date is represented as “the sheetanchor of Indian chronology” that “nothing will ever shake”—it is to be feared that as regards India, the chronological ship of the Sanskritists has already broken from her moorings and gone adrift with all her precious freight of conjectures and hypotheses. She is drifting into danger. We are at the end of a cycle—geological and other—and at the beginning of another. Cataclysm is to follow cataclysm. The pent-up forces are bursting out in many quarters; and not only will men be swallowed up or slain by thousands, “new” land appear and “old” subside, volcanic eruptions and tidal waves appal; but secrets of an unsuspected past will be uncovered to the dismay of Western theorists and the humiliation of an imperious science. This drifting ship, if watched, may be seen to ground upon the upheaved vestiges of ancient civilizations, and fall to pieces. We are not emulous of the prophet’s honours: but still, let this stand as a prophecy.

Inscriptions Discovered by General A. Cunningham

We have carefully examined the new inscription discovered by General A. Cunningham on the strength of which the date assigned to Buddha’s death by Buddhist writers has been declared to be incorrect; and we are of opinion that the said inscription confirms the truth of the Buddhist traditions instead of proving them to be erroneous. The above-mentioned archæologist writes as follows regarding the inscription under consideration in the first volume of his reports:

“The most interesting inscription (at Gaya) is a long and perfect one dated in the era of the Nirvana or death of Buddha. I read the date as follows:—Bhagavati Parinirvritte Samvat 1819 Karttike badi 1 Budhi—that is, ‘in the year 1819 of the Emancipation of Bhagavata on Wednesday, the first day of the waning moon of Kartik.’ If the era here used is the same as that of the Buddhists of Ceylon and Burmah, which began in 543 B.C., the date of this inscription will be 1819 – 543 = A.D. 1276. The style of the letters is in keeping with this date, but is quite incompatible with that derivable from the Chinese date of the era. The Chinese place the death of Buddha upwards of 1000 years before Christ, so that according to them the date of this inscription would be about A.D. 8oo, a period much too early for the style of character used in the inscription. But as the day of the week is here fortunately added, the date can be verified by calculation. According to my calculation, the date of the inscription corresponds with Wednesday, the 17th of September, A.D. 1342. This would place the Nirvana of Buddha in 477 B.C., which is the very year that was first proposed by myself as the most probable date of that event. This corrected date has since been adopted by Professor Max Müller.”

The reasons assigned by some Orientalists for considering this so-called “corrected date” as the real date of Buddha’s death have already been noticed and criticized in the preceding paper; and now we have only to consider whether the inscription in question disproves the old date.

Major-General Cunningham evidently seems to take it for granted, as far as his present calculation is concerned, that the number of days in a year is counted in the Magadha country and by Buddhist writers in general on the same basis on which the number of days in a current English year is counted; and this wrong assumption has vitiated his calculation and led him to a wrong conclusion. Three different methods of calculation were in use in India at the time when Buddha lived, and they are still in use in different parts of the country. These methods are known as Souramanam, Chandrarmanam and Barhaspatyamanam. According to the Hindu works on astronomy a Souramanam year consists of 365 days 15 ghadias and 31 vighadias a Chandramanam year has 360 days, and a year on the basis of Barhaspatyamanam has 361 days and 11 ghadias nearly. Such being the case, General Cunningham ought to have taken the trouble of ascertaining before he made his calculation the particular manam (measure) employed by the writers of Magadha and Ceylon in giving the date of Buddha’s death and the manam used in calculating the years of the Buddhist era mentioned in the inscription above quoted. Instead of placing himself in the position of the writer of the said inscription and making the required calculation from that standpoint, he made the calculation on the same basis of which an English gentleman of the nineteenth century would calculate time according to his own calendar.

If the calculation were correctly made, it would have shown him that the inscription in question is perfectly consistent with the statement that Buddha died in the year 543 B.C. according to Barhaspatyamanam (the only manam used in Magadha and by Pali writers in general). The correctness of this assertion will be clearly seen on examining the following calculation.

543 years according to Barhaspatyamanam are equivalent to 536 years and 8 months (nearly) according to Souramanam.

Similarly, 1819 years according to the former manam are equivalent to 1798 years (nearly) according to the latter manam.

As the Christian era commenced on the 3102nd year of Kaliyuga (according to Souramanam), Buddha died in the year 2565 of Kaliyuga and the inscription was written in the year 4362 of Kaliyuga (according to Souramanam). And now the question is whether according to the Hindu almanack, the first day of the waning moon of Kartik coincided with a Wednesday.

According to Suryasiddhanta the number of days from the beginning of Kaliyuga up to midnight on the 15th day of increasing moon of Aswina is 1,593,072 (the number of Adhikamasansas (extra months) during the interval being 1608 and the number of Kshayathithis 25,323.

If we divide this number by 7 the remainder would be 5. As Kaliyuga commenced with Friday, the period of time above defined closed with Tuesday, as according to Suryasiddhanta a weekday is counted from midnight to midnight.

It is to be noticed that in places where Barhaspatyamanam is in use Krishnapaksham (or the fortnight of waning moon) commences first and is followed by Suklapaksham (period of waxing moon).

Consequently, the next day after the 15th day of the waxing moon of Aswina will be the 1st day of the waning moon of Kartika to those who are guided by the Barhaspatyamanam calendar. And therefore the latter date, which is the date mentioned in the inscription, was Wednesday in the year 4362 of Kaliyuga.

The geocentric longtitude of the sun at the time of his meridian passage on the said date being 174° 20’ 16” and the moon’s longitude being 70° 51’ 42” (according to Suryasiddhanta) it can be easily seen that at Gaya there was Padyamitithi (first day of waning moon) for nearly 7 ghadias and 50 vighadias from the time of sunrise.

It is clear from the foregoing calculation that “Kartik I Badi” coincided with Wednesday in the year 4362 of Kaliyuga or the year 1261 of the Christian era, and that from the standpoint of the person who wrote the inscription the said year was the 1819th year of the Buddhist era. And consequently this new inscription confirms the correctness of the date assigned to Buddha’s death by Buddhist writers. It would have been better if Major-General Cunningham had carefully examined the basis of his calculation before proclaiming to the world at large that the Buddhist accounts were untrustworthy.

Discrimination of Spirit and Not-Spirit

(Translated from the original Sanskrit of Sankara Acharya.)


[An apology is scarcely needed for undertaking a translation of Sankara Acharya’s celebrated Synopsis of Vedantism entitled “Atmanatma Vivekah.” This little treatise, within a small compass, fully sets forth the scope and purpose of the Vedanta philosophy. It has been a matter of no little wonder, considering the authorship of this pamphlet and its own intrinsic merits, that a translation of it has not already been executed by some competent scholar. The present translation, though pretending to no scholarship, is dutifully literal, excepting, however, the omission of a few lines relating to the etymology’of the words Sarira and Deha, and one or two other things which, though interesting in themselves, have no direct bearing on the main subject of treatment—TR.]

Nothing is Spirit which can be the object of consciousness. To one possessed of right discrimination, the Spirit is the subject of knowledge. This right discrimination of Spirit and Not-spirit is set forth in millions of treatises.

This discrimination of Spirit and Not-spirit is given below:

Q. Whence comes pain to the Spirit?

A. By reason of its taking a body. It is said in the Sruti:1 “Not in this (state of existence) is there cessation of pleasure and pain of a living thing possessed of a body.”

Q. By what is produced this taking of a body?

A. By Karma.2

Q. Why does it become so by Karma?

A. By desire and the rest (i.e., the passions).

Q. By what are desire and the rest produced?

A. By egotism.

Q. By what again is egotism produced?

A. By want of right discrimination.

Q. By what is this want of right discrimination produced?

A. By ignorance.

Q. Is ignorance produced by anything?

A. No, by nothing. Ignorance is without beginning and ineffable by reason of its being the intermingling of the real (sat) and the unreal (asat.)3 It is a something embodying the three qualities4 and is said to be opposed to Wisdom, inasmuch as it produces the concept “I am ignorant.” The Sruti says, “(Ignorance) is the power of the Deity and is enshrouded by its own qualities.”5

The origin of pain can thus be traced to ignorance and it will not cease until ignorance is entirely dispelled, which will be only when the identity of the Self with Brahma (the Universal Spirit) is fully realized.6 Anticipating the contention that the eternal acts (i.e., those enjoined by the Vedas) are proper, and would therefore lead to the destruction of ignorance, it is said that ignorance cannot be dispelled by Karma (religious exercises).

Q. Why is it so?

A. By reason of the absence of logical opposition between ignorance and act. Therefore it is clear that Ignorance can only be removed by Wisdom.

Q. How can this Wisdom be acquired?

A. By discussion—by discussing the nature of Spirit and Non-Spirit.

Q. Who are worthy of engaging in such discussion?

A. Those who have acquired the four qualifications.

Q. What are the four qualifications?

A. (1) True discrimination of permanent and impermanent things. (2) Indifference to the enjoyment of the fruits of one’s actions both here and hereafter. (3) Possession of Sama and the other five qualities. (4) An intense desire of becoming liberated (from conditional existence).

(1) Q. What is the right discrimination of permanent and impermanent things?

A. Certainty as to the Material Universe being false and illusive, and Brahman being the only reality

(2.) Indifference to the enjoyment of the fruits of one’s actions in this world is to have the same amount of disinclination for the enjoyment of worldly objects of desire (such as garland of flowers, sandal-wood paste, women and the like) beyond those absolutely necessary for the preservation of life, as one has for vomited food, etc. The same amount of disinclination to enjoyment in the society of Rambha, Urvasi, and other celestial nymphs in the higher spheres of life beginning with Svarga loka and ending with Brahma loka.7

(3) Q. What are the six qualities beginning with Sama?

A. Sama, dama, uparati, titikshá, samádhána and sraddhá.

Sama is the repression of the inward sense called Manas—i.e., not allowing it to engage in any other thing but Sravana (listening to what the sages say about the Spirit), Manana (reflecting on it), Nididhyásana (meditating on the same). Dama is the repression of the external senses.

Q. What are the external senses?

A. The five organs of perception and the five bodily organs for the performance of external acts. Restraining these from all other things but sravana and the rest, is dama.

Uparati is the abstaining on principle from engaging in any of the acts and ceremonies enjoined by the shastras. Otherwise, it is the state of the mind which is always engaged in Sravana and the rest, without ever diverging from them.

Titikshá (literally the desire to leave) is the bearing with indifference all opposites (such as pleasure and pain, heat and cold, etc.). Otherwise, it is the showing of forbearance to a person one is capable of punishing.

Whenever a mind, engaged in Sravana and the rest, wanders to any worldly object of desire, and, finding it worthless, returns to the performance of the three exercises—such returning is called samádhána.

Sraddhá is an intensely strong faith in the utterances of one’s guru and of the Vedanta philosophy.

(4.) An intense desire for liberation is called mumukshatva.

Those who possess these four qualifications, are worthy of engaging in discussions as to the nature of Spirit and Not-Spirit, and, like Brahmacharins, they have no other duty (but such discussion). It is not, however, at all improper for householders to engage in such discussions; but, on the contrary, such a course is highly meritorious. For it is said—Whoever, with due reverence, engages in the discussion of subjects treated of in Vedanta philosophy and does proper service to his guru, reaps happy fruits. Discussion as to the nature of Spirit and Not-Spirit is therefore a duty.

Q. What is Spirit?

A. It is that principle which enters into the composition of man and is not included in the three bodies, and which is distinct from the five sheaths (Koshas), being sat (existence),8 chit (consciousness),9 and ánanda (bliss),10 and witness of the three states.

Q. What are the three bodies?

A. The gross (sthula), the subtile (sukshma), and the causal (kárana).

Q. What is the gross body?

A. That which is the effect of the Mahabhutas (primordial subtile elements) differentiated into the five gross ones (Panchikrita),11 is born of Karma and subject to the six changes beginning with birth.12 It is said:

What is produced by the (subtile) elements differentiated into the five gross ones, is acquired by Karma, and is the measure of pleasure and pain, is called the body (sarira) par excellence.

Q. What is the subtile body?

A. It is the effect of the elements not differentiated into five and having seventeen characteristic marks (lingas).

Q. What are the seventeen?

A. The five channels of knowledge (Jnanendriyas), the five organs of action, the five vital airs, beginning with prana, and manas and buddhi.

Q. What are the Jnandendriyas?

A. [Spiritual] Ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose.

Q. What is the ear?

A. That channel of knowledge which transcends the [physical] ear, is limited by the auricular orifice, on which the ákas depends, and which is capable of taking cognisance of sound.

Q. The skin?

A. That which transcends the skin, on which the skin depends, and which extends from head to foot, and has the power of perceiving heat and cold.

Q. The eye?

A. That which transcends the ocular orb, on which the orb depends, which is situated to the front of the black iris and has the power of cognising forms.

Q. The tongue?

A. That which transcends the tongue, and can perceive taste.

Q. The nose?

A. That which transcends the nose, and has the power of smelling.

Q. What are the organs of action?

A. The organ of speech (vách), hands, feet, etc.

Q. What is vách?

A. That which transcends speech, in which speech resides, and which is located in eight different centres13 and has the power of speech.

Q. What are the eight centres?

A. Breast, throat, head, upper and nether lips, palate ligature (frænum), binding the tongue to the lower jaw and tongue.

Q. What is the organ of the hands?

A. That which transcends the hands, on which the palms depend, and which has the power of giving and taking. . . . (The other organs are similarly described.)

Q. What is the antahkarana?14

A. Manas, buddhi, chitta and ahankara form it. The seat of the manas is the root of the throat, of buddhi the face, of chitta the umbilicus, and of ahankara the breast. The functions of these four components of antahkarana are respectively doubt, certainty, retention and egotism.

Q. How are the five vital airs,15 beginning with prana, named?

A. Prána, apána, vyána, udána and samána. Their locations are said to be:—of prána the breast, of apána the fundamentum, of samána the umbilicus, of udána the throat, and vyána is spread all over the body. Functions of these are:—prána goes out, apána descends, udána ascends, samána reduces the food eaten into an undistinguishable state, and vyána circulates all over the body. Of these five vital airs there are five sub-airs—namely, naga, kurma, krikara, devadatta and dhananjaya. Functions of these are:—eructations produced by naga, kurma opens the eye, dhananjaya assimilates food, devadatta causes yawning, and krikara produces appetite—this is said by those versed in Yoga.

The presiding powers (or macrocosmic analogues) of the five channels of knowledge and the others are dik (akas) and the rest. Dik, vata (air), arka (sun), prachetá (water), Aswini, bahni (fire), Indra, Upendra, Mrityu (death), Chandra (moon), Brahmá, Rudra, and Kshetrajnesvara,16 which is the great Creator and cause of everything. These are the presiding powers of ear, and the others in the order in which they occur.

All these taken together form the linga sarira.17 It is also said in the Shastras:

The five vital airs, manas, buddhi, and the ten organs form the subtile body, which arises from the subtile elements, undifferentiated into the five gross ones, and which is the means of the perception of pleasure and pain.

Q. What is the Karana sarira?

A. It is ignorance [of different monads] (avidyá), which is the cause of the other two bodies, and which is without beginning [in the present manvantara],18 ineffable, reflection [of Brahma] and productive of the concept of non-identity between self and Brahma. It is also said:

“Without a beginning, ineffable avidyá is called the upádhi (vehicle)—kárana (cause). Know the Spirit to be truly different from the three upadhisi.e., bodies.”

Q. What is Not-Spirit?

A. It is the three bodies [described above], which are impermanent, inanimate (jada), essentially painful and subject to congregation and segregation.

Q. What is impermanent?

A. That which does not exist in one and the same state in the three divisions of time [namely, present, past and future.]

Q. What is inanimate (jada)?

A. That which cannot distinguish between the objects of its own cognition and the objects of the cognition of others. . . . .

Q. What are the three states (mentioned above as those of which the Spirit is witness)?

A. Wakefulness (jagrata), dreaming (svapna), and the state of dreamless slumber (sushupti).

Q. What is the state of wakefulness?

A. That in which objects are known through the avenue of [physical] senses.

Q. Of dreaming?

A. That in which objects are perceived by reason of desires resulting from impressions produced during wakefulness.

Q. What is the state of dreamless slumber?

A. That in which there is an utter absence of the perception of objects.

The indwelling of the notion of “I” in the gross body during wakefulness is visva (world of objects),19 in subtile body during dreaming is taijas (magnetic fire), and in the causal body during dreamless slumber is prajna (One Life).

Q. What are the five sheaths?

A. Annamaya, Pránamaya, Manomaya, Vjjnanamaya, and Anandamaya.

Annamaya is related to anna20 (food), Pránamaya of prana (life), Manomaya of manas, Vijnanamaya of vijnana (finite perception), Anandamaya of ananda (illusive bliss).

Q. What is the Annamaya sheath?

A. The gross body.

Q. Why?

A. The food eaten by father and mother is transformed into semen and blood, the combination of which is transformed into the shape of a body. It wraps up like a sheath and hence so called. It is the transformation of food and wraps up the spirit like a sheath—it shows the spirit which is infinite as finite, which is without the six changes, beginning with birth as subject to those changes, which is without the three kinds of pain21 as liable to them. It conceals the spirit as the sheath conceals the sword, the husk the grain, or the womb the fœtus.

Q. What is the next sheath?

A. The combination of the five organs of action, and the five vital airs form the Pránamaya sheath.

By the manifestation of prana, the spirit which is speechless appears as the speaker, which is never the giver as the giver, which never moves as in motion, which is devoid of hunger and thirst as hungry and thirsty.

Q. What is the third sheath?

A. It is the five (subtile) organs of sense (jnánendriya) and manas.

By the manifestation of this sheath (vikára) the spirit which is devoid of doubt appears as doubting, devoid of grief and delusion as grieved and deluded. devoid of sight as seeing.

Q. What is the Vijnanamaya sheath?

A. [The essence of] the five organs of sense form this sheath in combination with buddhi.

Q. Why is this sheath called the jiva (personal ego), which by reason of its thinking itself the actor, enjoyer, etc., goes to the other loka and comes back to this?22

A. It wraps up and shows the spirit which never acts as the actor, which never cognises as conscious, which has no concept of certainty as being certain, which is never evil or inanimate as being both.

Q. What is the Anandamaya sheath?

A. It is the antahkarana, wherein ignorance predominates, and which produces gratification, enjoyment, etc. It wraps up and shows the spirit, which is void of desire, enjoyment and fruition, as having them, which has no conditioned happiness as being possessed thereof.

Q. Why is the spirit said to be different from the three bodies?

A. That which is truth cannot be untruth, knowledge ignorance, bliss misery, or vice versa.

Q. Why is it called the witness of the three states?

A. Being the master of the three states, it is the knowledge of the three states, as existing in the present, past and future.23

Q. How is the spirit different from the five sheaths?

A. This is being illustrated by an example:

“This is my cow,” “this is my calf,” “this is my son or daughter,” “this is my wife,” “this is my anandamaya sheath,” and so on24—the spirit can never be connected with these concepts; it is different from and witness of them all. For it is said in the Upanishad—[The spirit is] “naught of sound, of touch, of form, or colour, of taste, or of smell; it is everlasting, having no beginning or end, superior [in order of subjectivity] to Prakriti (differentiated matter); whoever correctly understands it as such attains mukti (liberation).” The spirit has also been called (above) sat, chit, and ananda.

Q. What is meant by its being sat (presence)?

A. Existing unchanged in the three divisions of time and uninfluenced by anything else.

Q. What by being chit (consciousness)?

A. Manifesting itself without depending upon anything else, and containing the germ of everything in itself.

Q. What by being ananda (bliss)?

A. The ne plus ultra of bliss.

Whoever knows without doubt and apprehension of its being otherwise, the self as being one with Brahma or spirit, which is eternal, non-dual and unconditioned, attains moksha (liberation from conditioned existence.)

Was Writing Known Before Pânini?

I am entrusted with the task of putting together some facts which would support the view that the art of writing was known in India before the time of our grammarian—the Siva-taught Pânini. Professor Max Müller has maintained the contrary opinion ever since 1856, and has the approbation of other illustrious Western scholars. Stated briefly, their position is that the entire absence of any mention of “writing, reading, paper, or pen” in the Vedas, or during the whole of the Brahmana period, and the almost, if not quite, as complete silence as to them throughout the Sutra period, “lead us to suppose that even then [the Sutra period], though the art of writing began to be known, the whole literature of India was preserved by oral tradition only.” (“Hist. Sans. Lit.,” p. 501.) To support this theory, he expands the mnemonic faculty of our respected ancestors to such a phenomenal degree that, like the bull’s hide of Queen Dido, it is made to embrace the whole ground needed for the proposed city of refuge, to which discomfited savants may flee when hard pressed. Considering that Professor Weber—a gentleman who, we observe, likes to distil the essence of Aryan æons down into an attar of no greater volume than the capacity of the Biblical period—admits that Europe now possesses 10,000 of our Sanscrit texts; and considering that we have, or have had, many other tens of thousands which the parsimony of Karma has hitherto withheld from the museums and libraries of Europe, what a memory must have been theirs!

Under correction, I venture to assume that Pânini, who was ranked among the Rishis, was the greatest known grammarian in India, than whom there is no higher in history, whether ancient or modern; further, that contemporary scholars agree that the Sanskrit is the most perfect of languages. Therefore, when Prof. Müller affirms that “there is not a single word in Pânini’s terminology which presupposes the existence of writing” (op. cit. 507), we become a little shaken in our loyal deference to Western opinion. For it is very hard to conceive how one so pre-eminently great as Pânini should have been incapable of inventing characters to preserve his grammatical system—supposing that none had previously existed—if his genius was equal to the invention of classical Sanskrit. The mention of the word Grantha, the equivalent for a written or bound book in the later literature of India—though applied by Pânini (in B. i. 3, 75) to the Veda; (in B. iv. 3, 87) to any work; (in B. iv. 3, 116) to the work of any individual author; and (in B. iv. 3, 79) to any work that is studied, do not stagger Prof. Müller at all. Grantha he takes to mean simply a composition, and this may be handed down to posterity by oral communication. Hence, we must believe that Pânini was illiterate; but yet composed the most elaborate and scientific system of grammar ever known; recorded its 3,996 rules only upon the molecular quicksands of his “cerebral cineritious matter,” and handed them over to his disciples by atmospheric vibration, i.e., oral teaching! Of course, nothing could be clearer; it commends itself to the simplest intellect as a thing most probable! And in the presence of such a perfect hypothesis, it seems a pity that its author should (op. cit. 523) confess that “it is possible” that he “may have overlooked some words in the Brâhmanas and Sûtras, which would prove the existence of written books previous to Pânini.” That looks like the military strategy of our old warriors, who delivered their attack boldly, but nevertheless tried to keep their rear open for retreat if compelled. The precaution was necessary: written books did exist many centuries before the age in which this radiant sun of Aryan thought rose to shine upon his age. They existed, but the Orientalist may search in vain for the proof amid the exoteric words in our earlier literature. As the Egyptian hierophants had their private code of hieratic symbols, and even the founder of Christianity spoke to the vulgar in parables whose mystical meaning was known only to the chosen few, so the Brahmans had from the first (and still have) a mystical terminology couched behind ordinary expressions, arranged in certain sequences and mutual relations, which none but the initiate would observe. That few living Brahmans possess this key but proves that, as in other archaic religious and philosophical systems, the soul of Hinduism has fled (to its primal imparters—the initiates), and only the decrepit body remains with a spiritually degenerate posterity.1 I fully perceive the difficulty of satisfying European philologists of a fact which, upon my own statement, they are debarred from verifying. We know that from the present mental condition of our Brahmans. But I hope to be able to group together a few admitted circumstances which will aid, at least, to show the Western theory untenable, if not to make a base upon which to rest our claim for the antiquity of Sanskrit writing. Three good reasons may be adduced in support of the claim—though they will be regarded as circumstantial evidence by our opponents.

I.—It can be shown that writing was known in Phœnicia from the date of the acquaintance of Western history with her first settlements; and this may be dated, according to European figures, 2760 B.C., the age of the Tyrian settlement.

II.—Our opponents confess to ignorance of the source whence the Phœnicians themselves got their alphabet.

III.—It can be proved that before the final division and classification of languages, there existed two languages in every nation: (a) the profane or popular language of the masses; (b) the sacerdotal or secret language of the initiates of the temples and mysteries—the latter being one and universal. Or, in other, words, every great people had, like the Egyptians, its Demotic and its Hieratic writing and language, which had resulted first in a pictorial writing or the hieroglyphics, and later on in a phonetic alphabet. Now it requires a stretch of prejudice, indeed, to assert upon no evidence whatever that the Brahman Aryans—mystics and metaphysicians above everything—were the only ones who had never had any knowledge of either the sacerdotal language or the characters in which it was recorded. To contradict this gratuitous assumption, we can furnish a whole array of proofs. It can he demonstrated that the Aryans no more borrowed their writing from the Hellenes, or from the Phœnicians, than they were indebted to the influence of the former for all their arts and sciences. (Even if we accept Mr. Cunningham’s “Indo-Grecian Period,” for it lasted only from 250-5 7 B.C., as he states it.) The direct progenitor of the Vedic Sanskrit was the sacerdotal language (which has a distinct name among the initiates). The Vâch—its alter ego or the “mystic self,” the sacerdotal speech of the initiated Brahman—became in time the mystery language of the inner temple, studied by the initiates of Egypt and Chaldea; of the Phœnicians and the Etruscans; of the Pelasgi and Palanquans; in short, of the whole globe. The appellation DEVANAGARI is the synonym of, and identical with, the Hermetic and Hieratic NETER-KHARI (divine speech) of the Egyptians.

As the discussion divides naturally into two parts as to treatment—though a general synthesis must be the final result—we will proceed to examine the first part—namely, the charge that the Sanskrit alphabet is derived from the Phœnicians. When a Western philologer asserts that writing did not exist before a certain period, we assume that he has some approximate certitude as to its real invention. But so far is this from the truth, that admittedly no one knows whence the Phœnicians learned the characters, now alleged (by Gesenius first) to be the source from which modern alphabets were directly derived. De Rouge’s investigations make it extremely probable that “they were borrowed, or rather adapted from certain archaic hieroglyphics of Egypt”: a theory which the Prisse Papyrus, “the oldest in existence,” strongly supports by its “striking similarities with the Phœnician characters.” But the same authority traces it back one step farther. He says that the ascription (by the myth-makers) of the art of writing to Thoth, or to Kadmos, “only denotes their belief in its being brought from the East (Kedem), or being perhaps primeval.” There is not even a certainty whether, primevally or archaically, “there were several original alphabetical systems, or whether one is to be assumed as having given rise to the various modes of writing in use.” So, if conjecture has the field, it is no great disloyalty to declare one’s rebellion against the eminent Western gentlemen who are learnedly guessing at the origin of things. Some affirm that the Phœnicians derived their so-called Kadmean or Phœnician writing-characters from the Pelasgians, held also to have been the inventors, or at least the improvers, of the so-called Kadmean characters. But, at the same time, this is not proven, they confess, and they only know that the latter were in possession of the art of writing “before the dawn of history.” Let us see what is known of both Phœnicians and Pelasgians.

If we inquire who were the Phœnicians, we learn as follows:—From having been regarded as Hamites on Bible testimony, they suddenly became Semites—on geographical and philological evidence (?). Their origin begins, it is said, on the shores of the Erythrian Sea; and that sea extended from the eastern shores of Egypt to the western shores of India. The Phœnicians were the most maritime nation in the world. That they knew perfectly the art of writing no one would deny. The historical period of Sidon begins 1500 B.C. And it is well ascertained that in 1250 Sanchoniathon had already compiled from annals and State documents, which filled the archives of every Phœnician city, the full records of their religion. Sanchoniathon wrote in the Phœnician language, and was mistranslated later on into Greek by Philo of Byblus, and annihilated bodily—as to his works—except one small fragment preserved by Eusebius, the literary Siva, the Destroyer of nearly all heathen documents that fell in his way. To see the direct bearing of the alleged superior knowledge of the Phœnicians upon the alleged ignorance of the Aryan Brahmans, one has but to turn to “European Universal History,” meagre though its details and possible knowledge, yet I suppose no one would contradict the historical facts given. Some fragments of Dius, the Phœnician who wrote the history of Tyre, are preserved in Josephus; and Tyre’s activity begins 1100 B.C., in the earlier part of the third period of Phœnician history, so called. And in that period, as we are told, they had already reached the height of their power; their ships covered all seas, their commerce embraced the whole earth, and their colonies flourished far and near. Even on Biblical testimony they are known to have come to the Indies by the Red Sea, while trading on Solomon’s account about a millennium before the Western era. These data no man of science can deny. Leaving entirely aside the thousand-and-one documentary proofs that could be given on the evidence of our most ancient texts on Occult Sciences, of inscribed tablets, etc., those historical events that are accepted by the Western world are alone here given. Turning to the Mahabharata, the date of which—on the sole authority of the fancy lore drawn from the inner consciousness of German scholars, who perceive in the great epic poem proofs of its modern fabrication in the words “Yavana” and others—has been changed from 3300 years to the first centuries after Christ (! !), we find: (1) ample evidence that the ancient Hindus had navigated (before the establishment of the caste system) the open seas to the regions of the Arctic Ocean and held communication with Europe; and (2) that the Pandus had acquired universal dominion and taught the sacrificial mysteries to other races (see Mahabharata, book xiv,). With such proofs of international communication, and more than proved relations between the Indian Aryans and the Phœnicians, Egyptians and other literate people, it is rather startling to he told that our forefathers of the Brahmanic period knew nothing of writing.

Admitting, for the argument only, that the Phœnician were the sole custodians of the glorious art of writing, and that as merchants they traded with India, what commodity, I ask, could they have offered to a people led by the Brahmans so precious and marketable as this art of arts, by whose help the priceless lore of the Rishis might be preserved against the accidents of imperfect oral transmission? And even if the Aryans learned from Phœnicians how to write—to every educated Hindu an absurdity—they must have possessed the art 2,000 or at least 1,000 years earlier than the period supposed by Western critics. Negative proof, perhaps? Granted: yet no more so than their own, and most suggestive.

And now we may turn to the Pelasgians. Notwithstanding the rebuke of Niebuhr, who, speaking of the historian in general, shows him as hating “the spurious philology, out of which the pretences to knowledge on the subject of snch extinct people arise,” the origin of the Pelasgians is conjectured to have been from—(a) swarthy Asiatics (Pellasici) or from some (b) mariners—from the Greek Pelagos, the sea; or again to be sought for in the (c) Biblical Peleg! The only divinity of their Pantheon well known to Western history is Orpheus, also the “swarthy,” the “dark-skinned;” represented for the Pelasgians by Xoanon, their “Divine Image.” Now if the Pelasgians were Asiatics, they must have been Turanians Semites or Aryans. That they could not have been either of the two first, and must have been the last named, is shown on Herodotus’ testimony, who declared them the forefathers of the Greeks—though they spoke, as he says, “a most barbarous language.” Further, unerring philology shows that the vast number of roots common both to Greek and Latin, are easily explained by the assumption of a common Pelasgic linguistic and ethnical stock in both nationalities. But then how about the Sanskrit roots traced in the Greek and Latin languages? The same roots must have been present in the Pelasgian tongues? We who place the origin of the Pelasgian far beyond the Biblical ditch of historic chronology, have reasons to believe that the “barbarous language” mentioned by Herodotus was simply “the primitive and now extinct Aryan tongue” that preceded the Vedic Sanskrit. Who could they be, these Pelasgians ? They are described generally on the meagre data in hand as a highly intellectual, receptive, active and simple people, chiefly occupied with agriculture; warlike when necessary, though preferring peace. We are told that they built canals, subterranean water- works, dams, and walls of astounding strength and most excellent construction. And their religion and worship originally consisted in a mystic service of those natural powers—the sun, wind, water, and air (our Surya, Maruts, Varuna, and Vayu), whose influence is visible in the growth of the fruits of the earth; moreover, some of their tribes were ruled by priests, while others stood under the patriarchal rule of the head of the clan or family. All this reminds one of the nomads, the Brahmanic Aryas of old under the sway of their Rishis, to whom were subject every distinct family or clan. While the Pelasgians were acquainted with the art of writing, and had thus a vast element of culture in their possession before the dawn of history,” we are told (by the same philologists) that our ancestors knew of no writing until the dawn of Christianity!

Thus the Pelasgianic language, that “most barbarous language” spoken by this mysterious people, what was it but Aryan; or rather, which of the Aryan languages could it have been? Certainly it must have been a language with the same and even stronger Sanskrit roots in it than the Greek. Let us bear in mind that the Æolic was neither the language of Æschylus, nor the Attic, nor even the old speech of Homer. As the Oscan of the “barbarous” Sabines was not quite the Italian of Dante nor even the Latin of Virgil. Or has the Indo-Aryan to come to the sad conclusion that the average Western Orientalist will rather incur the blame of ignorance when detected than admit the antiquity of the Vedic Sanskrit and the immense period which separated this comparatively rough and unpolished language, compared with the classical Sanskrit, and the palmy days of the “extinct Aryan tongue?” The Latium Antiquum of Pliny and the Æolic of the Autochthones of Greece present the closest kinship, we are told. They had a common ancestor—the Pelasgian. What, then, was the parent tongue of the latter unless it was the language “spoken at one time by all the nations of Europe—before their separation?” In the absence of all proofs, it is unreasonable that the Rik-Brahmanas, the Mahâbharata and every Nirukti should be treated as flippantly as they now are. It is admitted that, however inferior to the classical Sanskrit of Pânini, the language of the oldest portions of Rig Veda, notwithstanding the antiquity of its grammatical forms, is the same as that of the latest texts. Every one sees—cannot fail to see and to know—that for a language so old and so perfect as the Sanskrit to have survived alone, among all languages, it must have had its cycles of perfection and its cycles of degeneration. And, if one had any intuition, he might have seen that what they call a “dead language” being an anomaly, a useless thing in Nature, it would not have survived, even as a “dead” tongue, had it not its special purpose in the reign of immutable cyclic laws; and that Sanskrit, which came to be nearly lost to the world, is now slowly spreading in Europe, and will one day have the extension it had thousands upon thousands of years back—that of a universal language. The same as to the Greek and the Latin: there will be a time when the Greek of Æschylus (and more perfect still in its future form) will be spoken by all in Southern Europe, while Sanskrit will be resting in its periodical pralaya; and the Attic will be followed later by the Latin of Virgil. Something ought to have whispered to us that there was also a time—before the original Aryan settlers among the Dravidian and other aborigines, admitted within the fold of Brahmanical initiation, marred the purity of the sacred Sanskrita Bhasha—when Sanskrit was spoken in all its unalloyed subsequent purity, and therefore must have had more than once its rise and fall. The reason for it is simply this: classical Sanskrit was only restored, if in some things perfected, by Pânini. Pânini, Katyayana or Patanjali did not create it; it has existed throughout cycles, and will pass through other cycles still.

Professor Max Müller is willing to admit that a tribe of Semitic nomads—fourteen centuries before the year 1 of the Westerns—knew well the art of writing, and had their historically and scientifically proven “book of the covenant and the tables ‘with the writing of God upon them.’” Yet the same authority tells us that the Aryans could neither read nor write until the very close of the Brahmanic period. “No trace of writing can be discovered (by the philologists) in the Brahmanical literature before the days of Pânini.” Very well, and now what was the period during which this Siva-taught sage is allowed to have flourished? One Orientalist (Bohtlingk) refers us to 350 B.C., while less lenient ones, like Professor Weber, land the grammarian right in the middle of the second century of the Christian era Only, after fixing Pânini’s period with such a remarkable agreement of chronology (other calculations ranging variously between 400 B.C. and 460 A.D.), the Orientalists place themselves inextricably between the horns of a dilemma. For whether Pânini flourished 350 B.C. or 180 A.D., he could not have been illiterate; for firstly, in the Lalita Vistara, a canonical book recognized by the Sanskritists, attributed by Max Müller to the third Buddhist council (and translated into Tibetan), our Lord Buddha is shown as studying, besides Devanagari, sixty-three other alphabets specified in it as being used in various parts of India; and secondly, though Megasthenes and Nearchus do say that in their time the laws of Manu were not (popularly) reduced to writing (Strabo, xv. 66 and 73) yet Nearchus describes the Indian art of making paper from cotton. He adds that the Indians wrote letters on cotton twisted together (Strabo, xv. 53 and 67). This would be late in the Sutra period, no doubt, according to Professor Müller’s reasoning. Can the learned gentleman cite any record within that comparatively recent period showing the name of the inventor of that cotton-paper, and the date of his discovery? Surely so important a fact as that, a novelty so transcendently memorable, would not have passed without remark. One would seem compelled, in the absence of any such chronicle, to accept the alternative theory—known to us Aryan students as a fact—that writing and writing materials were, as above remarked, known to the Brahmans in an antiquity inconceivably remote—many centuries before the epoch made illustrious by Pânini.

Attention has been asked above to the interesting fact that the god Orpheus, of “Thracia” (?) is called the “dark-skinned.” Has it escaped notice that he is “supposed to be the Vedic Ribhu or Abrhu, an epithet both of Indra and the Sun.”2 And if he was “the inventor of letters,” and is “placed anterior to both Homer and Hesiod,” then what follows? That Indra taught writing to the Thracian Pelasgians under the guise of Orpheus,3 but left his own spokesmen and vehicles, the Brahmans, illiterate until “the dawn of Christianity?” Or, that the gentlemen of the West are better at intuitional chronology than conspicuous for impartial research? Orpheus was—in Greece—the son of Apollo or Helios, the sun-god, according to corrected mythology, and from him received the phorminx or lyre of seven strings, i.e.—according to occult phraseology—the sevenfold mystery of the Initiation. Now Indra is the ruler of the bright firmament, the disperser of clouds, “the restorer of the sun to the sky.” He is identified with Arjuna in the Samhita Satapatha Brahmana (although Prof. Weber denies the existence of any such person as Arjuna, yet there was indeed one), and Arjuna was the Chief of the Pandavas;4 and though Pandu the white passes for his father, he is yet considered the son of Indra. As throughout India all ancient cyclopean structures are even now attributed to the Pandavas, so all similar structures in the West were anciently ascribed to the Pelasgians. Moreover, as shown well by Pococke—laughed at because too intuitional and too fair though, perchance less, philologically learned—the Pandavas were in Greece, where many traces of them can be shown. In the Mahâbharata, Arjuna is taught the occult philosophy by Krishna (personification of the universal Divine Principle); and the less mythological view of Orpheus presents him to us as “a divine bard or priest in the service of Zagreus . . . . founder of the Mysteries . . . . the inventor of everything, in fact, that was supposed to have contributed to the civilization and initiation into a more humane worship of the deity.” Are not these striking parallels; and is it not significant that, in the cases of both Arjuna and Orpheus, the sublimer aspects of religion should have been imparted along with the occult methods of attaining it by masters of the mysteries? Real Devanagari—non-phonetic characters—meant formerly the outward symbols, so to say, the signs used in the intercommunication between gods and initiated mortals. Hence their great sacredness and the silence maintained throughout the Vedic and the Brahmanical periods about any object concerned with, or referring to, reading and writing. It was the language of the gods. If our Western critics can only understand what the Ancient Hindu writers meant by Rhutaliai, so often mentioned in their mystical writings, they will be in a position to ascertain the source from which the Hindus first derived their knowledge of writing.

A secret language, common to all schools of occult science once prevailed throughout the world. Hence Orpheus learnt “letters” in the course of his initiation. He is identified with Indra; according to Herodotus he brought the art of writing from India; his complexion swarthier than that of the Thracians points to his Indo-Aryan nationality—supposing him to have been “a bard and priest,” and not a god; the Pelasgians are said to have been born in Thracia; they are believed (in the West) to have first possessed the art of writing, and taught the Phœnicians; from the latter all modern alphabets proceed. I submit, then, with all these coincidences and sequences, whether the balance of proof is on the side of the theory that the Aryans transmitted the art of writing to the people of the West; or on the side which maintains that they, with their caste of scholarly Brahmans, their noble sacerdotal tongue, dating from high antiquity, their redundant and splendid literature, their acquaintance with the most wonderful and recondite potentialities of the human spirit, were illiterate until the era of Pânini, the grammarian and last of the Rishis. When the famous theorists of the Western colleges can show us a river running from its mouth back to its source in the feeble mountain spring, then may we be asked to believe in their theory of Aryan illiteracy. The history of human intellectual development shows that humanity always passes through the stage of ideography or pictography before attaining that of cursive writing. It therefore remains with the Western critics who oppose the antiquity of Aryan Scriptures to show us the pictographic proofs which support their position. As these are notoriously absent, it appears they would have us believe that our ancestors passed immediately from illiteracy to the Devanagari characters of Pânini’s time.

Let the Orientalists bear in mind the conclusions drawn from a careful study of the Mahâbharata by Muir in his “Sanskrit Texts” (vol. i. pp. 390, 480 and 482). It may be conclusively proven on the authority of the Mahâbharata that the Yavanas of whom India, as alleged, knew nothing before the days of Alexander!) belong to those tribes of Kshatriyas who, in consequence of their non-communication with, and in some cases rejection by, the Brahmins, had become from twice-born, “Vrishalas,”—i.e., outcasts (Mahabharata Anusasanaparvam, vv. 2103 F.): “Sakah Yavana-Kambojas tastah kshattriya jatayah Vrishalatvam parigatah Brahmánanam adarsana. Dravidas cha Kalindas cha Pulindas chapy Usinarah Kalisarpa Mahishakas tastah kshattriya jatayah,” etc. etc. The same reference may be found in verses 2158-9. The Mahâbharata shows the Yavanas descended from Turvasu—once upon a time Kshatriya, subsequently degraded into Vrishala. Harivamsa shows when and how the Yavanas were excommunicated. It may be inferred from the account therein contained of the expedition against Ayodhya by the Yavanas, and the subsequent proceedings of Sagara, that the Yavanas were, previous to the date of the expedition, Kshatriyas subject to the government of the powerful monarchs who reigned at Ayodhya. But on account of their having rebelled against their sovereign, and attacked his capital, they were excommunicated by Sagara who successfully drove them out of Ayodhya, at the suggestion of Vasishtha who was the chief minister and guru of Sagara’s father. The only trouble in connecting the Pelasgians with, and tracing their origin to, the Kshatriyas of Rajputana, is created by the Orientalist who constructs a fanciful chronology, based on no proof, and showing only unfamiliarity with the world’s real history, and with Indian history even within historical periods.

The value of that chronology—which places virtually the “primitive Indo-Germanic-period” before the ancient Vedic period (!)—may, in conclusion, be illustrated by an example. Rough as may be the calculations offered, it is impossible to go deeper into any subject of this class within the narrow limits prescribed, and without recourse to data not generally accessible. In the words of Prof. Max Müller:—“The Code of Manu is almost the only work in Sanskrit literature which, as yet, has not been assailed by those who doubt the antiquity of everything Indian. No historian has disputed its claim to that early date which had from the first been assigned to it by Sir William Jones” (“Hist. Sans, Lit.” p. 61). And now, pray, what is this extremely “early date?” “From 880 to 1200 B.C.,” we are told, We will then, for the present purpose, accept this authoritative conclusion. Several facts, easily verifiable, have to be first of all noticed:—(1) Manu in his many enumerations of Indian races, kingdoms and places, never once mentions Bengal; the Aryan Brahmans had not yet reached, in the days when his Code was compiled, the banks of the Ganges nor the plains of Bengal. It was Arjuna who went first to Banga (Bengal) with his sacrificial horse. [Yavanas are mentioned in Rajdharma Anasasanika Parva as part of the tribes peopling it.] (2) In the Ayun a list of the Hindu kings of Bengal is given. Though the date of the first king who reigned over Banga cannot be ascertained, owing to the great gaps between the various dynasties; it is yet known that Bengal ceased to be an independent Hindu kingdom from 1203 after Christ. Now if, disregarding these gaps, which are wide and many, we make up the sum of only those chronological periods of the reign of the several dynasties that are preserved by history, we find the following:

24 Kshatriya families of kings reigned for a period of 2418 years
9 Kaista kings           ”           ”           ”           ”           ” 250     ”
11 Of the Adisur families      ”           ”           ”           ” 714     ”
10 Of the Bhopal family        ”           ”           ”           ” 689     ”
10 Of the Pala dynasty (from 855 to 1040 A.D.)       ” 185     ”
10 The Vaidya Rajahs reigned for a period of          ” 137     ”

If we deduct from this sum 1,203, we have 3,190 years B.C. of successive reigns. If it can be shown on the unimpeachable evidence of the Sanskrit texts that some of the reigns happened simultaneously, and the line cannot therefore be shown as successive (as was already tried), well and good. Against an arbitrary chronology set up with a predetermined purpose and theory in view, there will remain but little to be said. But if this attempt at reconciliation of figures and the surrounding circumstances are maintained simply upon “critical, internal evidence,” then, in the presence of these 3,190 years of au unbroken line of powerful and mighty Hindu kings, the Orientalists will have to show a very good reason why the authors of the Code of Manu seem entirely ignorant even of the existence of Bengal—if its date has to be accepted as not earlier than 1280 B.C.! A scientific rule which is good enough to apply to the case of Pânini ought to be valid in other chronological speculations. Or, perhaps, this is one of those poor rules which will not “work both ways?”




What is Theosophy?

According to lexicographers, the term theosophia is composed of two Greek words—theos “god,” and sophas “wise.” So far, correct. But the explanations that follow are far from giving a clear idea of Theosophy. Webster defines it most originally as “a supposed intercourse with God and superior spirits, and consequent attainment of superhuman knowledge by physical processes, as by the theurgic operations of some ancient Platonists, or by the chemical processes of the German fire-philosophers.”

This, to say the least, is a poor and flippant explanation. To attribute such ideas to men like Ammonius Saccas, Plotinus, Jamblichus, Porphyry, Proclus, shows either intentional misrepresentation, or ignorance of the philosophy and motives of the greatest geniuses of the later Alexandrian School. To impute to those, whom their contemporaries as well as posterity styled “theodidaktoi,” god-taught, a purpose to develop their psychological, spiritual perceptions by “physical processes,” is to describe them as materialists. As to the concluding fling at the fire-philosophers, it rebounds from them upon some of the most eminent leaders of modern science; those in whose mouths the Rev. James Martineau places the following boast: “Matter is all we want; give us atoms alone, and we will explain the universe.”

Vaughan offers a far better, more philosophical definition. “A Theosophist,” he says, “is one who gives you a theory of God or the works of God, which has not revelation, but inspiration of his own for its basis.” In this view every great thinker and philosopher, especially every founder of a new religion, school of philosophy, or sect, is necessarily a Theosophist. Hence, Theosophy and Theosophists have existed ever since the first glimmering of nascent thought made man seek instinctively for the means of expressing his own independent opinions.

There were Theosophists before the Christian era, notwithstanding that the Christian writers ascribe the development of the Eclectic Theosophical system to the early part of the third century of their era. Diogenes Laertius traces Theosophy to an epoch antedating the dynasty of the Ptolemies; and names as its founder an Egyptian Hierophant called Pot-Amun, the name being Coptic, and signifying a priest consecrated to Amun, the god of Wisdom. But history shows its revival by Ammonius Saccas, the founder of the Neo-Platonic School. he and his disciples called themselves “Philaletheians”—lovers of the truth; while others termed them the “Analogists,” on account of their method of interpreting all sacred legends, symbolical myths, and mysteries, by a rule of analogy or correspondence so that events which had occurred in the external world were regarded as expressing operations and experiences of the human soul. It was the aim and purpose of Ammonius to reconcile all sects, peoples, and nations under one common faith—a belief in one Supreme, Eternal, Unknown, and Unnamed Power, governing the universe by immutable and eternal laws. His object was to prove a primitive system of Theosophy, which, at the beginning, was essentially alike in all countries: to induce all men to lay aside their strifes and quarrels, and unite in purpose and thought as the children of one common mother; to purify the ancient religions, by degrees corrupted and obscured, from all dross of human element, by uniting and expounding them upon pure philosophical principles. Hence, the Buddhistic, Vedantic and Magian, or Zoroastrian systems were taught in the Eclectic Theosophical School along with all the philosophies of Greece. Hence also, that pre-eminently Buddhistic and Indian feature among the ancient Theosophists of Alexandria, of due reverence for parents and aged persons, a fraternal affection for the whole human race, and a compassionate feeling for even the dumb animals. While seeking to establish a system of moral discipline which enforced upon people the duty to live according to the laws of their respective countries, to exalt their minds by the research and contemplation of the one Absolute Truth; his chief object, in order, as he believed, to achieve all others, was to extract from the various religious teachings, as from a many-chorded instrument, one full and harmonious melody, which would find response in every truth-loving heart.

Theosophy is, then, the archaic Wisdom-Religion, the esoteric doctrine once known in every ancient country having claims to civilization. This “Wisdom” all the old writings show us as an emanation of the Divine Principle; and the clear comprehension of it is typified in such names as the Indian Buddh, the Babylonian Nebo, the Thoth of Memphis, the Hermes of Greece; in the appellations, also, of some goddesses—Metis, Neitha, Athena, the Gnostic Sophia; and, finally, the Vedas, from the word “to know.” Under this designation, all the ancient philosophers of the East and West, the Hierophants of old Egypt, the Rishis of Aryavart, the Theodidaktoi of Greece, included all knowledge of things occult and essentially divine. The Mercavah of the Hebrew Rabbis, the secular and popular series, were thus designated as only the vehicle, the outward shell, which contained the higher esoteric knowledges. The Magi of Zoroaster received instruction and were initiated in the caves and secret lodges of Bactria; the Egyptian and Grecian hierophants had their apporiheta, or secret discourses, during which the Mysta became an Epopta—a Seer.

The central idea of the Eclectic Theosophy was that of a single Supreme Essence, Unknown and Unknowable; for “how could one know the knower?” as inquires Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Their system was characterized by three distinct features, the theory of the above-named Essence: the doctrine of the human soul; an emanation from the latter, hence of the same nature; and its theurgy. It is this last science which has led the Neo-Platonists to be so misrepresented in our era of materialistic science. Theurgy being essentially the art of applying the divine powers of man to the subordination of the blind forces of Nature, its votaries were first decisively termed magicians—a corruption of the word “Magh,” signifying a wise or learned man. Sceptics of a century ago would have been as wide of the mark if they had laughed at the idea of a phonograph or telegraph. The ridiculed and the “infidels” of one generation generally become the wise men and saints of the next.

As regards the Divine Essence and the nature of the soul and spirit, modern Theosophy believes now as ancient Theosophy did. The popular Dev of the Aryan nations was identical with the Iao of the Chaldeans, and even with the Jupiter of the less learned and philosophical among the Romans; and it was just as identical with the Jahve of the Samaritans, the Tiu or “Tiusco” of the Northmen, the Duw of the Britons, and the Zeus of the Thracians. As to the Absolute Essence, the One and All, whether we accept the Greek Pythagorean, the Chaldean Kabalistic, or the Aryan philosophy in regard to it, it will all lead to one and the same result. The Primeval Monad of the Pythagorean system, which retires into darkness and is itself Darkness (for human intellect), was made the basis of all things; and we can find the idea in all its integrity in the philosophical systems of Leibnitz and Spinoza. Therefore, whether a Theosophist agrees with the Kabala which, speaking of En-Soph, propounds the query; “Who, then, can comprehend It, since It is formless, and non-existent?” or, remembering that magnificent hymn from the Rig Veda (Hymn 129, Book x.), inquires:

“Who knows from whence this great creation sprang?
Whether his will created or was mute.
He knows it—or perchance even He knows not.

Or, again, he accepts the Vedantic conception of Brahma, who, in the Upanishads, is represented as “without life, without mind, pure,” unconscious, for Brahma is “Absolute Consciousness.” Or, even finally, siding with the Svabhâvikas of Nepaul, maintains that nothing exists but “Svabhâvât” (substance or nature) which exists by itself without any creator—he is the true follower of pure and absolute Theosophy. That Theosophy which prompted such men as Hegel, Fichte and Spinoza to take up the labours of the old Grecian philosophers and speculate upon the One Substance—the Deity, the Divine All proceeding from the Divine Wisdom—incomnrehensible, unknown and unnamed by any ancient or modern religious philosophy, with the exception of Judaism, including Christianity and Mohammedanism. Every Theosophist, then, holding to a theory of the Deity “which has not revelation but an inspiration of his own for its basis,” may accept any of the above definitions or belong to any of these religions, and yet remain strictly within the boundaries of Theosophy. For the latter is belief in the Deity as the ALL, the source of all existence, the infinite that cannot be either comprehended or known, the universe alone revealing It, or, as some prefer it, Him, thus giving a sex to that, to anthropomorphize which is blasphemy. True Theosophy shrinks from brutal materialization; it prefers believing that, from eternity retired within itself, the Spirit of the Deity neither wills nor creates; but from the infinite effulgence everywhere going forth from the Great Centre, that which produces all visible and invisible things is but a ray containing in itself the generative and conceptive power, which, in its turn, produces that which the Greeks called Macrocosm, the Kabalists Tikkun or Adam Kadmon, the archetypal man, and the Aryans Purusha, the manifested Brahm, or the Divine Male. Theosophy believes also in the Anastasis, or continued existence, and in transmigration (evolution) or a series of changes of the personal ego, which can be defended and explained on strict philosophical principles by making a distinction between Paramâtmâ (transcendental, supreme spirit) and Jivâtmâ (individual spirit) of the Vedantins.

To fully define Theosophy, we must consider it under all its aspects. The interior world has not been hidden from all by impenetrable darkness. By that higher intuition acquired by Theosophia. or God-knowledge, which carries the mind from the world of form into that of formless spirit, man has been sometimes enabled, in every age and every country, to perceive things in the interior or invisible world. Hence, the “Samadhi,” or Dhyan Yog Samadhi, of the Hindu ascetics; the “Daimonlonphoti,” or spiritual illumination of the Neo-Platonists; the “sidereal confabulation of soul,” of the Rosicrucians or Fire-philosophers; and, even the ecstatic trance of mystics and of the modern mesmerists arid spiritualists, are identical in nature, though various as to manifestation. The search after man’s diviner “self,” so often and so erroneously interpreted as individual communion with a personal God, was the object of every mystic; and belief in its possibility seems to have been coëval with the genesis of humanity, each people giving it another name. Thus Plato and Plotinus call “Noëtic work” that which the Yogi and the Shrotriya term Vidya. “By reflection, self-knowledge and intellectual discipline, the soul can be raised to the vision of eternal truth, goodness, and beauty—that is, to the Vision of God. This is the epopteia,” said the Greeks. “To unite one’s soul to the Universal Soul,” says Porphyry, “requires but a perfectly pure mind. Through self contemplation, perfect chastity, and purity of body, we may approach nearer to It, and receive, in that state, true knowledge and wonderful insight.” And Swami Dayánund Saraswati, who has read neither Porphyry nor other Greek authors, but who is a thorough Vedic scholar, says in his “Veda Bháshya” (opasna prakaru ank. 9)—“To obtain Dikshá (highest initiation) and Yog, one has to practise according to the rules. . . . . The soul in the human body can perform the greatest wonders by knowing the Universal Spirit (or God) and acquainting itself with the properties and qualities (occult) of all the things in the universe. A human being (a Dikshit or initiate) can thus acquire a power of seeing and hearing at great distances.” Finally, Alfred R. Wallace, F. R. S., a spiritualist and yet a confessedly great naturalist, says, with brave candour: “It is ‘spirit’ that alone feels, and perceives, and thinks, that acquires knowledge, and reasons and aspires. . . . . There not unfrequently occur individuals so constituted that the spirit can perceive independently of the corporeal organs of sense, or can, perhaps, wholly or partially quit the body for a time and return to it again; the spirit communicates with spirit easier than with matter.” We can now see how, after thousands of years have intervened between the age of the Gymnosophists1 and our own highly civilized era, notwithstanding, or, perhaps, just because of such an enlightenment which pours its radiant light upon the psychological as well as upon the physical realms of Nature, over twenty millions of people to-day believe, under different form, in those same spiritual powers that were believed in by the Yogis and the Pythagoreans, nearly 3,000 years ago. Thus, while the Aryan mystic claimed for himself the power of solving all the problems of life and death, when he had once obtained the power of acting independently of his body, through the Atmân, “self,” or “soul;” and the old Greeks went in search of Atmu, the Hidden one, or the God-Soul of man, with the symbolical mirror of the Thesmophorian mysteries; so the spiritualists of to-day believe in the capacity of the spirits, or the souls of the disembodied persons, to communicate visibly and tangibly with those they loved on earth. And all these, Aryan Yogis, Greek philosophers, and modern spiritualists, affirm that possibility on the ground that the embodied soul and its never embodied spirit—the real self—are not separated from either the Universal Soul or other spirits by space, but merely by the differentiation of their qualities, as in the boundless expanse of the universe there can be no limitation. And that when this difference is once removed—according to the Greeks and Aryans by abstract contemplation, producing the temporary liberation of the imprisoned soul, and according to spiritualists, through mediumship—such a union between embodied and disembodied spirits becomes possible. Thus was it that Patanjali’s Yogis, and, following in their steps, Plotinus, Porphyry and other Neo-Platonists, maintained that in their hours of ecstasy, they had been united to, or rather become as one with, God several times during the course of their lives. This idea, erroneous as it may seem in its application to the Universal Spirit, was, and is, claimed by too many great philosophers to be put aside as entirely chimerical. In the case of the Theodidaktoi, the only controvertible point, the dark spot on this philosophy of extreme mysticism, was its claim to include that which is simply ecstatic illumination, under the head of sensuous perception. In the case of the Yogis, who maintained their ability to see Iswara “face to face,” this claim was successfully overthrown by the stern logic of the followers of Kapila, the founder of the Sankhya philosophy. As to the similar assumption made for their Greek followers, for a long array of Christian ecstatics, and, finally, for the last two claimants to “God-seeing” within these last hundred years—Jacob Böhme and Swedenborg—this pretension would and should have been philosophically and logically questioned, if a few of our great men of science, who are spiritualists, had had more interest in the philosophy than in the mere phenomenalism of spiritualism.

The Alexandrian Theosophists were divided into neophytes, initiates and masters, or hierophants; and their rules were copied from the ancient Mysteries of Orpheus, who, according to Herodotus, brought them from India. Ammonius obligated his disciples by oath not to divulge his higher doctrines, except to those who were proved thoroughly worthy and initiated, and who had learned to regard the gods, the angels, and the demons of other peoples, according to the esoteric hyponia, or under-meaning. “The gods exist, but they are not what the hoi polloi, the uneducated multitude, suppose them to be,” says Epicurus. “He is not an atheist who denies the existence of the gods, whom the multitude worship, but he is such who fastens on these gods the opinions of the multitude.” In his turn, Aristotle declares that of the “Divine Essence pervading the whole world of Nature, what are styled the gods are simply the first principles.”

Plotinus, the pupil of the “God-taught” Ammonius, tells us that the secret gnosis or the knowledge of Theosophy, has three degrees—opinion, science, and illumination. “The means or instrument of the first is sense, or perception; of the second, dialectics; of the third, intuition. To the last, reason is subordinate; it is absolute knowledge, founded on the identification of the mind with the object known.” Theosophy is the exact science of psychology, so to say; it stands in relation to natural, uncultivated mediumship, as the knowledge of a Tyndall stands to that of a school-boy in physics. It develops in man a direct beholding; that which Schelling denominates “a realization of the identity of subject and object in the individual;” so that under the influence and knowledge of hyponia man thinks divine thoughts, views all things as they really are, and, finally, “becomes recipient of the Soul of the World,” to use one of the finest expressions of Emerson. “I, the imperfect, adore my own Perfect,” he says in his superb “Essay on the Oversoul.” Besides this psychological, or soul state, Theosophy cultivated every branch of sciences and arts. It was thoroughly familiar with what is now commonly known as mesmerism. Practical theurgy or “ceremonial magic,” so often resorted to in their exorcisms by the Roman Catholic clergy, was discarded by the Theosophists. It is but Jamblichus alone who, transcending the other Eclectics, added to Theosophy the doctrine of Theurgy. When ignorant of the true meaning of the esoteric divine symbols of Nature, man is apt to miscalculate the powers of his soul, and, instead of communing spiritually and mentally with the higher celestial beings, the good spirits (the gods of the theurgists of the Platonic school), he will unconsciously call forth the evil, dark powers which lurk around humanity, the undying, grim creations of human crimes and vices, and thus fall from theurgia (white magic) into goëtia (or black magic, sorcery). Yet, neither white nor black magic are what popular superstition understands by the terms. The possibility of “raising spirits,” according to the key of Solomon, is the height of superstition and ignorance. Purity of deed and thought can alone raise us to an intercourse “with the gods ” and attain for us the goal we desire. Alchemy, believed by so many to have been a spiritual philosophy as well as a physical science, belonged to the teachings of the Theosophical School.

It is a noticeable fact that neither Zoroaster, Buddha, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Confucius, Socrates, nor Ammonius Saccas, committed anything to writing. The reason for it is obvious. Theosophy is a double-edged weapon and unfit for the ignorant or the selfish. Like every ancient philosophy it has its votaries among the moderns; but, until late in our own days, its disciples were few in numbers, and of the most various sects and opinions. “Entirely speculative, and founding no schools, they have still exercised a silent influence upon philosophy; and no doubt, when the time arrives, many ideas thus silently propounded may yet give new directions to human thought,” remarks Mr. Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, himself a mystic and a Theosophist, in his large and valuable work, “The Royal Masonic Cyclopædia” (articles “Theosophical Society of New York,” and “Theosophy,” p. 731).2 Since the days of the fire-philosophers, they had never formed themselves into societies, for, tracked like wild beasts by the Christian clergy, to be known as a Theosophist often amounted, hardly a century ago, to a death-warrant. The statistics show that, during a period of 150 years, no less than 90,000 men and women were burned in Europe for alleged witchcraft. In Great Britain only, from A.D. 1640 to 1660, but twenty years, 3,000 persons were put to death for compact with the “Devil.” It was but late in the present century—in 1875—that some progressed mystics and spiritualists, unsatisfied with the theories and explanations of Spiritualism started by its votaries, and finding that they were far from covering the whole ground of the wide range of phenomena, formed at New York, America, an association which is now widely known as the Theosophical Society.

H0w a “Chela” Found His “Guru”

[Being Extracts from a private letter to Damodar K. Mavalankar, Joint Recording Secretary of the Theosophical Society.]

. . . . When we met last at Bombay I told you what had happened to me at Tinnevelly. My health having been disturbed by official work and worry, I applied for leave on medical certificate and it was duly granted. One day in September last, while I was reading in my room, I was ordered by the audible voice of my blessed Guru, M—— Maharsi, to leave all and proceed immediately to Bombay, whence I was to go in search of Madame Blavatsky wherever I could find her and follow her wherever she went. Without losing a moment, I closed up all my affairs and left the station. For the tones of that voice are to me the divinest sound in Nature, its commands imperative. I travelled in my ascetic robes. Arrived at Bombay, I found Madame Blavatsky gone, and learned through you that she had left a few days before; that she was very ill; and that, beyond the fact that she had left the place very suddenly with a Chela, you knew nothing of her whereabouts. And now, I must tell you what happened to me after I had left you.

Really not knowing whither I had best go, I took a through ticket to Calcutta; but, on reaching Allahabad, I heard the same well-known voice directing me to go to Berhampore. At Azimgunge, in the train, I met, most providentially I may say, with some Bengali gentlemen (I did not then know they were also Theosophists, since I had never seen any of them), who were also in search of Madame Blavatsky. Some had traced her to Dinapore, but lost her track and went back to Berhampore. They knew, they said, she was going to Tibet and wanted to throw themselves at the feet of the Mahatmas to permit them to accompany her. At last, as I was told, they received from her a note, permitting them to come if they so desired it, but saying that she herself was prohibited from going to Tibet just now. She was to remain, she said, in the vicinity of Darjiling and would see the Mahatma on the Sikkhim Territory, where they would not be allowed to follow her . . . . Brother Nobin K. Bannerji, the President of the Adhi Bhoutic Bhratru Theosophical Society, would not tell me where Madame Blavatsky was, or perhaps did not then know himself. Yet he and others had risked all in the hope of seeing the Mahatmas. On the 23rd, at last he brought me from Calcutta to Chandernagore, where I found Madame Blavatsky, ready to start by train in five minutes. A tall, dark-looking hairy Chela (not Chunder Cusho), but a Tibetan I suppose by his dress, whom I met after I had crossed the river Hugli with her in a boat, told me that I had come too late, that Madame Blavatsky had already seen the Mahatmas and that he had brought her back. He would not listen to my supplications to take me with him, saying he had no other orders than what he had already executed—namely, to take her about twenty-five miles beyond a certain place he named to me, and that he was now going to see her safe to the station and return. The Bengali brother Theosophists had also traced and followed her, arriving at the station half an hour later. They crossed the river from Chandernagore to a small railway station on the opposite side. When the train arrived, she got into the carriage, upon entering which I found the Chela! And, before even her own things could be placed in the van, the train, against all regulations and before the bell was rung, started off, leaving the Bengali gentlemen and her servant behind, only one of them and the wife and daughter of another—all Theosophists and candidates for Chelaship—having had time to get in. I myself had barely the time to jump into the last carriage. All her things, with the exception of her box containing Theosophical correspondence, were left behind with her servant. Yet, even the persons that went by the same train with her did not reach Darjiling. Babu Nobin Banerjee, with the servant, arrived five days later; and those who had time to take their seats, were left five or six stations behind, owing to another unforeseen accident (?), reaching Darjiling also a few days later. It required no great stretch of imagination to conclude that Madame Blavatsky was, perhaps, being again taken to the Mahatmas, who, for some good reasons best known to them, did not want us to be following and watching her. Two of the Mahatmas, I had learned for a certainty, were in the neighbourhood of British territory; and one of them was seen and recognized, by a person I need not name here, as a high Chutukla of Tibet.

The first days of her arrival Madame Blavatsky was living at the house of a Bengali gentleman, a Theosophist, refusing to see any one, and preparing, as I thought, to go again somewhere on the borders of Tibet. To all our importunities we could get only this answer from her: that we had no business to stick to and follow her, that she did not want us, and that she had no right to disturb the Mahatmas with all sorts of questions that concerned only the questioners, for they knew their own business best. In despair, I determined, come what might, to cross the frontier, which is about a dozen miles from here, and find the Mahatmas or—DIE. I never stopped to think that what I was going to undertake would be regarded as the rash act of a lunatic. I had no permission, no “pass” from the Sikkhim Rajah, and was yet decided to penetrate into the heart of a semi-independent State where, if anything happened, the Anglo-Indian officials would not—if even they could— protect me, since I should have crossed over without their permission. But I never even gave that a thought, but was bent upon one engrossing idea—to find and see my Guru. Without breathing a word of my intentions to any one, one morning, namely, October 5, I set out in search of the Mahatma. I had an umbrella and a pilgrim’s staff for sole weapons, with a few rupees in my purse. I wore the yellow garb and cap. Whenever I was tired on the road, my costume easily procured for me for a small sum a pony to ride. The same afternoon I reached the banks of the Rungit River, which forms the boundary between British and Sikkhimese territories. I tried to cross it by the aerial suspension bridge constructed of canes, but it swayed to and fro to such an extent that I, who have never known in my life what hardship was, could not stand it. I crossed the river by the ferry-boat, and this even not without much danger and difficulty. That whole afternoon I travelled on foot, penetrating further and further into the heart of Sikkhim, along a narrow footpath. I cannot now say how many miles I travelled before dusk, but I am sure it was not less than twenty or twenty-five miles. Throughout, I saw nothing but impenetrable jungles and forests on all sides of me, relieved at very long intervals by solitary huts belonging to the mountain population. At dusk I began to search around me for a place to rest in at night. I met on the road, in the afternoon, a leopard and a wild cat; and I am astonished now to think how I should have felt no fear then nor tried to run away. Throughout, some secret influence supported me. Fear or anxiety never once entered my mind. Perhaps in my heart there was room for no other feeling but an intense anxiety to find my Guru. When it was just getting dark, I espied a solitary hut a few yards from the roadside. To it I directed my steps in the hope of finding a lodging. The rude door was locked. The cabin was untenanted at the time. I examined it on all sides and found an aperture on the western side. It was small indeed, but sufficient for me to jump through. It had a small shutter and a wooden bolt. By a strange coincidence of circumstances the hillman had forgotten to fasten it on the inside when he locked the door, Of course, after what has subsequently transpired, I now, through the eye of faith, see the protecting hand of my Guru everywhere around me. Upon getting inside I found the room communicated, by a small doorway, with another apartment, the two occupying the whole space of this sylvan mansion. I laid down, concentrating every thought upon my Guru as usual, and soon fell into a profound sleep. Before I went to rest, I had secured the door of the other room and the single window. It may have been between ten and eleven, or perhaps a little later, that I awoke and heard sounds of footsteps in the adjoining room. I could plainly distinguish two or three people talking together in a dialect unknown to me. Now, I cannot recall the same without a shudder. At any moment they might have entered from the other room and murdered me for my money. Had they mistaken me for a burglar the same fate awaited me. These and similar thoughts crowded into my brain in an inconceivably short period. But my heart did not palpitate with fear, nor did I for one moment think of the possibly tragical chances of the moment. I know not what secret influence held me fast, but nothing could put me out or make me fear; I was perfectly calm. Although I lay awake staring into the darkness for upwards of two hours, and even paced the room softly and slowly without making any noise, to see if I could make my escape, in case of need, back to the forest by the same way I had effected my entrance into the hut—no fear, I repeat, or any such feeling ever entered my heart. I recomposed myself to rest. After a sound sleep, undisturbed by any dream, I awoke at daybreak. Then I hastily put on my boots, and cautiously got out of the hut through the same window. I could hear the snoring of the owners of the hut in the other room. But I lost no time, and gained the path to Sikkhim (the city) and held on my way with unflagging zeal. From the inmost recesses of my heart I thanked my revered Guru for the protection he had vouchsafed me during the night. What prevented the owners of the hut from penetrating to the second room? What kept me in the same serene and calm spirit, as if I were in a room of my own house? What could possibly make me sleep so soundly under such circumstances,—enormous, dark forests on all sides abounding in wild beasts, and a party of cut-throats—as most of the Sikkhimese are said to be—in the next room, with an easy and rude door between them and me?

When it became quite light, I wended my way on through hills and dales. Riding or walking, the journey was not a pleasant one for any man not as deeply engrossed in thought as I was then myself, and quite oblivious to anything affecting the body. I have cultivated the power of mental concentration to such a degree of late that, on many an occasion, I have been able to make myself quite unconscious of anything around me when my mind was wholly bent upon the one object of my life, as several of my friends will testify; but never to such an extent as in this instance.

It was, I think, between eight and nine A.M. I was following the road to the town of Sikkhim, whence, I was assured by the people I met on the road, I could cross over to Tibet easily in my pilgrim’s garb, when I suddenly saw a solitary horseman galloping towards me from the opposite direction. From his tall stature and skill in horsemanship, I thought he was some military officer of the Sikkhim Rajah. Now, I thought, I am caught! He will ask me for my pass and what business I have in the independent territory of Sikkhim, and, perhaps, have me arrested and sent back, if not worse. But, as he approached me, he reined up. I looked at and recognized him instantly. . . . . I was in the awful presence of him, of the same Mahatma, my own revered Guru, whom I had seen before in his astral body on the balcony of the Theosophical Headquarters. It was he, the “Himalayan Brother” of the ever-memorable night of December last, who had so kindly dropped a letter in answer to one I had given but an hour or so before in a sealed envelope to Madame Blavatsky, whom I had never lost sight of for one moment during the interval. The very same instant saw me prostrated on the ground at his feet. I arose at his command, and, leisurely looking into his face, forgot myself entirely in the contemplation of the image I knew so well, having seen his portrait (the one in Colonel Olcott’s possession) times out of number. I knew not what to say: joy and reverence tied my tongue. The majesty of his countenance, which seemed to me to be the impersonation of power and thought, held me rapt in awe. I was at last face to face with “the Mahatma of the Himavat,” and he was no myth, no “creation of the imagination of a medium,” as some sceptics had suggested. It was no dream of the night; it was between nine and ten o’clock of the forenoon. There was the sun shining and silently witnessing the scene from above. I see him before me in flesh and blood, and he speaks to me in accents of kindness and gentleness. What more could I want? My excess of happiness made me dumb. Nor was it until some time had elapsed that I was able to utter a few words, encouraged by his gentle tone and speech. His complexion is not as fair as that of Mahatma Koothoomi; but never have I seen a countenance so handsome, a stature so tall and so majestic. As in his portrait, he wears a short black beard, and long black hair hanging down to his breast; only his dress was different. Instead of a white, loose robe he wore a yellow mantle lined with fur, and on his head, instead of the turban, a yellow Tibetan felt cap, as I have seen some Bhootanese wear in this country. When the first moments of rapture and surprise were over, and I calmly comprehended the situation, I had a long talk with him. He told me to go no further, for I should come to grief. He said I should wait patiently if I wanted to become an accepted Chela; that many were those who offered themselves as candidates, but that only a very few were found worthy; none were rejected, but all of them tried, and most found to fail signally, as for example —— and ——. Some, instead of being accepted and pledged this year, were now thrown off for a year. The Mahatma, I found, speaks very little English—or at least it so seemed to me—and spoke to me in my mother-tongue—Tamil. He told me that if the Chohan permitted Madame Blavatsky to visit Parijong next year, then I could come with her. The Bengali Theosophists who followed the “Upasika” (Madame Blavatsky) would see that she was right in trying to dissuade them from following her now. I asked the blessed Mahatma whether I could tell what I saw and heard to others. He replied in the affirmative, and that moreover I would do well to write to you and describe all.

I must impress upon your mind the whole situation, and ask you to keep well in view that what I saw was not the mere “appearance” only, the astral body of the Mahatma, as we saw him at Bombay, but the living man, in his own physical body. He was pleased to say when I offered my farewell namaskarams (prostration) that he approached the British territory to see the Upasika. Before he left me, two more men came on horseback, his attendants I suppose, probably Chelas, for they were dressed like lama-gylungs, and both, like himself, with long hair streaming down their backs. They followed the Mahatma, when he left, at a gentle trot. For over an hour I stood gazing at the place that he had just quitted, and then I slowly retraced my steps. Now it was that I found for the first time that my long boots had pinched my leg in several places, that I had eaten nothing since the day before, and that I was too weak to walk further. My whole body was aching in every limb. At a little distance I saw petty traders with country ponies, carrying burdens. I hired one of these animals in the afternoon I came to the Rungit River and crossed it. A bath in its cool waters revived me. I purchased some fruit in the only bazaar there and ate heartily. I took another horse immediately and reached Darjiling late in the evening. I could neither eat, nor sit, nor stand. Every part of my body was aching. My absence had seemingly alarmed Madame Blavatsky. She scolded me for my rash and mad attempt to try to go to Tibet after that fashion. When I entered the house I found with Madame Blavatsky, Bahu Parbati Churn Roy, Deputy Collector of Settlements and Superintendent of Dearah Survey, and his assistant, Babu Kanty Bhushan Sen, both members of our Society. At their prayer and Madame Blavatsky’s command, I recounted all that had happened to me, reserving of course my private conversation with the Mahatma. They were all, to say the least, astounded. After all, she will not go this year to Tibet; for which I am sure she does not care, since she has seen our Masters and thus gained her only object. But we, unfortunate people! we lose our only chance of going and offering our worship to the “Himalayan Brothers,” who, I know, will not soon cross over to British territory, if ever, again.

And now that I have seen the Mahatma in the flesh, and heard his living voice, let no one dare say to me that the Brothers do not exist. Come now whatever will, death has no fear for me, nor the vengeance of enemies; for what I know, I know!


The Sages of the Himavat

While on my tour with Col. Olcott several phenomena occurred, in his presence as well as in his absence, such as immediate answers to questions in my Master’s handwriting, and over his signature, put by a number of our Fellows. These occurrences took place before we reached Lahore, where we expected to meet in the body my Master. There I was visited by him in the body, for three nights consecutively, for about three hours every time, while I myself retained full consciousness, and, in one case, even went to meet him outside the house. To my knowledge there is no case on the Spiritualist records of a medium remaining perfectly conscious, and meeting, by previous arrangement, his spirit-visitor in the compound, re-entering the house with him, offering him a seat, and then holding a long converse with the “disembodied spirit” in a way to give him the impression that he is in personal contact with an embodied entity. Moreover, him whom I saw in person at Lahore was the same I had seen in astral form at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society, and again, the same whom I had seen in visions and trances at his house, thousands of miles off, which I reached in my astral Ego by his direct help and protection. In those instances, with my psychic powers hardly yet developed, I had always seen him as a rather hazy form, although his features were perfectly distinct and their remembrance was profoundly graven on my soul’s eye and memory, while now at Lahore, Jummoo, and elsewhere, the impression was utterly different. In the former cases, when making Pranám (salutation) my hands passed through his form, while on the latter occasions they met solid garments and flesh. Here I saw a living man before me, the original of the portraits in Madame Blavatsky’s possession and in Mr. Sinnett’s, though far more imposing in his general appearance and bearing. I shall not here dwell upon the fact of his having been corporeally seen by both Col. Olcott and Mr. Brown separately for two nights at Lahore, as they can do so better, each for himself, if they so choose. At Jummoo again, where we proceeded from Lahore, Mr. Brown saw him on the evening of the third day of our arrival there, and from him received a letter in his familiar handwriting, not to speak of his visits to me almost every day. And what happened the next morning almost every one in Jummoo is aware of. The fact is, that I had the good fortune of being sent for, and permitted to visit a sacred Ashrum, where I remained for a few days in the blessed company of several of the Mahatmas of Himavat and their disciples. There I met not only my beloved Gurudeva and Col. Olcott’s master, but several others of the fraternity, including one of the highest. I regret the extremely personal nature of my visit to those thrice blessed regions prevents my saying more about it. Suffice it that the place I was permitted to visit is in the Himalayas, not in any fanciful Summer Land, and that I saw him in my own sthula sarira (physical body) and found my Master identical with the form I had seen in the earlier days of my Chelaship. Thus, I saw my beloved Guru not only as a living man, but actually as a young one in comparison with some other Sadhus of the blessed company, only far kinder, and not above a merry remark and conversation at times. Thus on the second day of my arrival, after the meal hour, I was permitted to hold an intercourse for over an hour with my Master. Asked by him smilingly what it was that made me look at him so perplexed, I asked in my turn:—“How is it, Master, that some of the members of our Society have taken into their heads a notion that you were ‘an elderly man,’ and that they have even seen you clairvoyantly looking an old man past sixty?” To which he pleasantly smiled and said that this latest misconception was due to the reports of a certain Brahmachari, a pupil of a Vedantic Swami in the Punjab,1 who had met last year in Tibet the chief of a sect, an elderly Lama, who was his (my Master’s) travelling companion at that time. The said Brahmachari, having spoken of the encounter in India, had led several persons to mistake the Lama for himself. As to his being perceived clairvoyantly as an “elderly man,” that could never be, he added, as real clairvoyance could lead no one into such mistaken notions; and then he kindly reprimanded me for giving any importance to the age of a Guru, adding that appearances were often false, etc., and explaining other points.

These are all stern facts, and no third course is open to the reader. What I assert is either true or false. In the former case, no Spiritualistic hypothesis can hold good, and it will have to be admitted that the Himalayan Brothers are living men, and neither disembodied spirits nor creations of the over-heated imagination of fanatics. Of course I am fully aware that many will discredit my account; but I write only for the benefit of those few who know me well enough to see in me neither a hallucinated medium, nor attribute to me any bad motive, and who have ever been true and loyal to their convictions and to the cause they have so nobly espoused. As for the majority who laugh at and ridicule what they have neither the inclination nor the capacity to understand, I hold them in very small account. If these few lines will help to stimulate even one of my brother-Fellows in the Society, or one right-thinking man outside of it, to promote the cause of Truth and Humanity, I shall consider that I have properly performed my duty.


The Himalayan Brothers—Do They Exist?

“Ask and it shall be given unto you; knock and it shall be opened,” this is an accurate representation of the position of the earnest inquirer as to the existence of the Mahatmas. I know of none who took up this inquiry in right earnest and were not rewarded for their labours with knowledge, certainty. In spite of all this there are plenty of people who carp and cavil but will not take the trouble of proving the thing for themselves. Both by Europeans and a section of our own countrymen—the too Europeanized graduates of Universities—the existence of the Mahatmas is looked upon with incredulity and distrust, to give it no harder name. The position of the Europeans is easily intelligible, for these things are so far removed from their intellectual horizon, and their self-sufficiency is so great, that they are almost impervious to these new ideas. But it is much more difficult to conceive why the people of India, who are born and brought up in an atmosphere redolent with the traditions of these things, should affect such scepticism. It would have been more natural for them, on the other hand, to hail such proofs as those I am now laying before the public with the same satisfaction as an astronomer feels when a new star, whose elements he has calculated, swims within his ken. I myself was a thorough-going disbeliever only two years back. In the first place I had never witnessed any occult phenomena myself, nor did I find any one who had done so in that small ring of our countrymen for whom only I was taught to have any respect—the “educated classes.” It was only in the month of October, 1882, that I really devoted any time and attention to this matter, and the result is that I have as little doubt with respect to the existence of the Mahatmas as of mine own. I now know that they exist. But for a long time the proofs that I had received were not all of an objective character. Many things which are very satisfactory proofs to me would not be so to the reader. On the other hand, I have no right to speak of the unimpeachable evidence I now possess. Therefore I must do the best I can with the little I am permitted to give. In the present paper I have brought forward such evidence as would be perfectly satisfactory to all capable of measuring its probative force.

The evidence now laid before the public was collected by me during the months of October and November, 1882, and was at the time placed before some of the leading members of the Theosophical Society, Mr. Sinnett among others. The account of Bro. Ramaswamier’s interview with his Guru in Sikkhim being then ready for publication, there was no necessity, in their opinion, for the present paper being brought to light. But since an attempt has been made in some quarters to minimize the effect of Mr. Ramaswamier’s evidence by calling it most absurdly “the hallucinations of a half-frozen strolling Registrar,” I think something might be gained by the publication of perfectly independent testimony of, perhaps, equal, if not greater, value, though of quite a different character. With these words of explanation as to the delay in its publication, I resign this paper to the criticism of our sceptical friends. Let them calmly consider and pronounce upon the evidence of the Tibetan pedlar at Darjiling, supported and strengthened by the independent testimony of the young Brahmachari at Dehradun. Those who were present when the statements of these persons were taken, all occupy very respectable positions in life—some in fact belonging to the front ranks of Hindu Society, and several in no way connected with the Theosophical movement, but, on the contrary, quite unfriendly to it. In those days I again say I was rather sceptical myself. It is only since I collected the following evidence and received more than one proof of the actual existence of my venerated master, Mahatma Koothoomi, whose presence—quite independently of Madame Blavatsky, Colonel Olcott or any “alleged” Chela—was made evident to me in a variety of ways, that I have given up the folly of doubting any longer. Now I believe no more—I KNOW; and knowing, I would help others to obtain the same knowledge.

During my visit to Darjiling I lived in the same house with several Theosophists, all as ardent aspirants for the higher life, and most of them as doubtful with regard to the Himalayan Mahatmas as I was myself at that time. I met at Barjiling persons who claimed to be Chelas of the Himalayan Brothers and to have seen and lived with them for years. They laughed at our perplexity. One of them showed us an admirably executed portrait of a man who appeared to be an eminently holy person, and who, I was told, was the Mahatma Koothoomi (now my revered master), to whom Mr. Sinnett’s “Occult World” is dedicated. A few days after my arrival, a Tibetan pedlar of the name of Sundook accidentally came to our house to sell his things. Sundook was for years well-known in Darjiling and the neighbourhood as an itinerant trader in Tibetan knick-knacks, who visited the country every year in the exercise of his profession. He came to the house several times during our stay there, and seemed to us, from his simplicity, dignity of bearing and pleasant manners, to be one of Nature’s own gentlemen. No man could discover in him any trait of character even remotely allied to the uncivilized savages, as the Tibetans are held in the estimation of Europeans. He might very well have passed for a trained courtier, only that he was too good to be one. He came to the house while I was there. On the first occasion he was accompanied by a Goorkha youth, named Sundar Lall, an employé in the Darjiling News office, who acted as interpreter. But we soon found out that the peculiar dialect of Hindi which he spoke was intelligible to some of us without any interpreter, and so there was none needed on subsequent occasions. On the first day we put him some general questions about Tibet and the Gelugpa sect, to which he said he belonged, and his answers corroborated the statements of Bogle, Turnour and other travellers. On the second day we asked him if he had heard of any persons in Tibet who possessed extraordinary powers besides the great lamas. He said there were such men; that they were not regular lamas, but far higher than they, and generally lived in the mountains beyond Tchigatze and also near the city of Lhassa. These men, he said, produce many and very wonderful phenomena or “miracles,” and some of their Chelas, or Lotoos, as they are called in Tibet, cure the sick by giving them to eat the rice which they crush out of the paddy with their hands, etc. Then one of us had a glorious idea. Without saying one word, the above-mentioned portrait of the Mahatma Koothoomi was shown to him. He looked at it for a few seconds, and then, as though suddenly recognizing it, he made a profound reverence to the portrait, and said it was the likeness of a Chohan (Mahatma) whom he had seen. Then he began rapidly to describe the Mahatma’s dress and naked arms; then suiting the action to the word, he took off his outer cloak, and baring his arms to the shoulder, made the nearest approach to the figure in the portrait, in the adjustment of his dress.

He said he had seen the Mahatma in question accompanied by a numerous body of Gylungs, about that time of the previous year (beginning of October 1881) at a place called Giansi, two days’ journey southward of Tchigatze, whither the narrator bad gone to make purchases for his trade. On being asked the name of the Mahatma, he said to our unbounded surprise, “They are called Koothum-pa.” Being cross-examined and asked what he meant by “they,” and whether he was naming one man or many, he replied that the Koothum-pas were many, but there was only one man or chief over them of that name; the disciples being always called after the names of their guru. Hence the name of the latter being Koot-hum, that of his disciples was “Koot-hum-pa.” Light was shed upon this explanation by a Tibetan dictionary, where we found that the word “pa” means “man;” “Bod-pá” is a “man of Bod or Thibet,” etc. Similarly Koothum-pa means man or disciple of Koothoom or Koothoomi. At Giansi, the pedlar said, the richest merchant of the place went to the Mahatma, who had stopped to rest in the midst of an extensive field, and asked him to bless him by coming to his house. The Mahatma replied, he was better where he was, as he had to bless the whole world, and not any particular man. The people, and among them our friend Sundook, took their offerings to the Mahatma, but he ordered them to be distributed among the poor. Sundook was exhorted by the Mahatma to pursue his trade in such a way as to injure no one, and warned that such was the only right way to prosperity. On being told that people in India refused to believe that there were such men as the Brothers in Tibet, Sundook offered to take any voluntary witness to that country, and convince us, through him, as to the genuineness of their existence, and remarked that if there were no such men in Tibet, he would like to know where they were to be found. It being suggested to him that some people refused to believe that such men existed at all, he got very angry. Tucking up the sleeve of his coat and shirt, and disclosing a strong muscular arm, he declared that he would fight any man who would suggest that he had said anything but the truth.

On being shown a peculiar rosary of beads belonging to Madame Blavatsky, the pedlar said that such things could only be got by those to whom the Tesshu Lama presented them, as they could be got for no amount of money elsewhere. When the Chela who was with us put on his sleeveless coat and asked him whether he recognized the latter’s profession by his dress, the pedlar answered that he was a Gylung and then bowing down to him took the whole thing as a matter of course. The witnesses in this case were Babu Nobin Krishna Bannerji, deputy magistrate, Berhampore, M. R. Ry. Ramaswamiyer Avergal, district registrar, Madura (Madras), the Goorkha gentleman spoken of before, all the family of the first-named gentleman, and the writer.

Now for the other piece of corroborative evidence. This time it came most accidentally into my possession. A young Bengali Brahmachari, who had only a short time previous to our meeting returned from Tibet and who was residing then at Dehradun, in the North-Western Provinces of India, at the house of my grandfather-in-law, the venerable Babu Devendra Nath Tagore of the Brahmo Samaj, gave most unexpectedly, in the presence of a number of respectable witnesses, the following account:

On the 15th of the Bengali month of Asar last (1882). being the 12th day of the waxing moon, he met some Tibetans, called the Koothoompas, and their guru in a field near Taklakhar, a place about a day’s journey from the Lake of Manasarawara. The guru and most of his disciples, who were called gylungs, wore sleeveless coats over under-garments of red. The complexion of the guru was very fair, and his hair, which was not parted but combed back, streamed down his shoulders. When the Brahmachani first saw the Mahatma he was reading in a book, which the Brahmachari was informed by one of the gylungs was the Rig Veda.

The guru saluted him, and asked him where he was coming from. On finding the latter had not had anything to eat, the guru commanded that he should be given some ground gram (Sattoo) and tea. As the Brahmachari could not get any fire to cook food with, the guru asked for, and kindled a cake of dry cow-dung—the fuel used in that country as well as in this—by simply blowing upon it, and gave it to our Brahmachari. The latter assured us that he had often witnessed the same phenomenon, produced by another guru or chohan, as they are called in Tibet, at Gauri, a place about a day’s journey from the cave of Tarchin, on the northern side of Mount Kailas. The keeper of a flock, who was suffering from rheumatic fever came to the guru, who gave him a few grains of rice, crushed out of paddy, which the guru had in his hand, and the sick man was cured then and there.

Before he parted company with the Koothumpas and their guru, the Brahmachari found that they were going to attend a festival held on the banks of the Lake of Manasarawara, and that thence they intended to proceed to the Kailas mountains.

The above statement was on several occasions repeated by the Brahmachari in the presence (among others) of Babu Dwijender Nath Tagore of Jorasanko, Calcutta; Babu Cally Mohan Ghose of the Trigonometrical Surcey of India, Dehradun; Babu Cally Cumar Chatterij of the same place; Babu Gopi Mohan Ghosh of Dacca; Babu Priya Nath Sastri, clerk to Babu Devender Nath Tagore, and the writer. Comments would here seem almost superfluous, and the facts might very well have been left to speak for themselves to a fair and intelligent jury. But the averseness of people to enlarge their field of experience and the wilful misrepresentation of designing persons know no bounds. The nature of the evidence here adduced is of an unexceptional character. Both witnesses were met quite accidentally. Even if it be granted, which we certainly do not for a moment grant, that the Tibetan pedlar, Sundook, had been interviewed by some interested person, and induced to tell an untruth, what can be conceived to have been the motive of the Brahmachari, one belonging to a religious body noted for their truthfulness, and having no idea as to the interest the writer took in such things, in inventing a romance, and how could he make it fit exactly with the statements of the Tibetan pedlar at the other end of the country? Uneducated persons are no doubt liable to deceive themselves in many matters, but these statements dealt only with such disunited facts as fell within the range of the narrator’s eyes and ears, and had nothing to do with his judgment or opinion. Thus, when the pedlar’s statement is coupled with that of the Dehradun Brahmachari, there is, indeed, no room left for any doubt as to the truthfulness of either. It may here be mentioned that the statement of the Brahmachari was not the result of a series of leading questions, but formed part of the account he voluntarily gave of his travels during the year, and that he is almost entirely ignorant of the English language, and had, to the best of my knowledge, information and belief, never even so much as heard of the name of Theosophy. Now, if any one refuses to accept the mutually corroborative but independent testimonies of the Tibetan pedlar of Darjiling and the Brahmachari of Dehradun on the ground that they support the genuineness of facts not ordinarily falling within the domain of one’s experience, all I can say is that it is the very miracle of folly. It is, on the other hand, most unshakably established upon the evidence of several of his Chelas, that the Mahatma Koothoomi is a living person like any of us, and that moreover he was seen by two persons on two different occasions. This will, it is to be hoped, settle for ever the doubts of those who believe in the genuineness of occult phenomena, but put them down to the agency of “spirits.” Mark one circumstance. It may be argued that during the pedlar’s stay at Darjiling, Madame Blavatsky was also there, and, who knows, she might have bribed him (! !) into saying what he said. But no such thing can be urged in the case of the Dehradun Brahmachari. He knew neither the pedlar nor Madame Blavatsky, had never heard of Colonel Olcott, having just returned from his prolonged journey, and had no idea that I was a Fellow of the Society. His testimony was entirely voluntary. Some others, who admit that Mahatmas exist, but that there is no proof of their connection with the Theosophical Society, will be pleased to see that there is no à priori impossibility in those great souls taking an interest in such a benevolent Society as ours. Consequently it is a gratuitous insult to a number of self-sacrificing men and women to reject their testimony without a fair hearing.

I purposely leave aside all proofs which are already before the public. Each set of proofs is conclusive in itself, and the cumulative effect of all is simply irresistible.


Interview With A Mahatma

At the time I left home for the Himalayas in search of the Supreme Being, having adopted Brahmacharyashrama (religious mendicancy), I was quite ignorant of the fact that there was any such philosophical sect as the Theosophists existing in India, who believed in the existence of the Mahatmas or “superior persons.” This and other facts connected with my journey are perfectly correct as already published, and so need not be repeated or contradicted. Now I beg to give a fuller account of my interview with the Mahatmas.

Before and after I met the so-called Mahatma Koothum-pa, I had the good fortune of seeing in person several other Mahatmas of note, a detailed account of whom, I hope, should time allow, to write to you by-and-by. Here I wish to say something about Koothum-pa only.

When I was on my way to Almora from Mansarowar and Kailas, one day I had nothing with me to eat. I was quite at a loss how to get on without food. There being no human habitation in that part of the country, I could expect no help, but pray to God, and take my way patiently on. Between Mansarowar and Taklakhal, by the side of a road, I observed a tent pitched and several Sadhus (holy men), called Chohans, sitting outside it who numbered about seventeen in all. As to their dress, etc., what Babu M. M. Chatterji says is quite correct. When I went to them they entertained me very kindly, and saluted me by uttering, “Ram Ram.” Returning their salutations, I sat down with them, and they entered upon conversation with me on different subjects, asking me first the place I was coming from and whither I was going. There was a chief of them sitting inside the tent, and engaged in reading a book. I inquired about his name and the book he was reading from, one of his Chelas, who answered me in rather a serious tone, saying that his name was Guru Koothum-pa, and the book he was reading was Rig Veda. Long before, I had been told by some Pundits of Bengal that the Tibetan Lamas were well-acquainted with the Rig Veda. This proved what they had told me. After a short time, when his reading was over, he called me in by one of his Chelas, and I went to him. He, also bidding me “Ram Ram,” received me very gently and courteously, and began to talk with me mildly in pure Hindi. He addressed me in words such as follows:—“You should remain here for some time and see the fair at Mansarowar, which is to come off shortly. Here you will have plenty of time and suitable retreats for meditation, etc. I will help you in whatever I can.” He spoke as above for some time, and I replied that what he said was right, and that I would gladly have stayed, but there was some reason which prevented me. He understood my object immediately, and then, having given me some private advice as to my spiritual progress, bade me farewell. Before this he had come to know that I was hungry, and so wished me to take some food. He ordered one of his Chelas to supply me with food, which he did immediately. In order to get hot water ready for my ablutions, he prepared fire by blowing into a cow-dung cake, which burst into flames at once. This is a common practice among the Himalayan Lamas. It is also fully explained by M. M. Chatterji, and so need not be repeated.

As long as I was there with the said Lama, he never persuaded me to accept Buddhism or any other religion, but only said, “Hinduism is the best religion; you should believe in the Lord Mahadeva—he will do good to you. You are still quite a young man—do not be enticed away by the necromancy of anybody.” Having had a conversation with the Mahatma as described above for about three hours, I at last took leave and resumed my journey.

I am neither a Theosophist nor a sectarian, but am the worshipper of the only Om. As regards the Mahatma I personally saw, I dare say that he is a great Mahatma. By the fulfilment of certain of his prophecies, I am quite convinced of his excellence. Of all the Himalayan Mahatmas with whom I had an interview, I never met a better Hindi speaker than he. As to his birth-place and the place of his residence, I did not ask him any question. Neither can I say if he is the Mahatma of the Theosophists. As to the age of the Mahatma Koothum-pa, as I told Babu M. M. Chatterji and others, he was an elderly looking man.


The Secret Doctrine

Few experiences lying about the threshhold of occult studies are more perplexing and tormenting than those which have to do with the policy of the Brothers as to what shall, and what shall not, be revealed to the outer world. In fact, it is only by students at the same time tenacious and patient— continuously anxious to get at the truths of occult philosophy, but cool enough to bide their time when obstacles come in the way—that what looks, at first sight, like a grudging and miserly policy in this matter on the part of our illustrious teachers can be endured. Most men persist in judging all situations by the light of their own knowledge and conceptions, and certainly by reference to standards of right and wrong with which modern civilization is familiar a pungent indictment may be framed against the holders of philosophical truth. They are regarded by their critics as keeping guard over their intellectual possessions, declaring, “We have won this knowledge with strenuous effort and at the cost of sacrifice and suffering; we will not make a present of it to luxurious idlers who have done nothing to deserve it.” Most critics of the Theosophical Society and its publications have fastened on this obvious idea, and have denounced the policy of the Brothers as “selfish” and “unreasonable.” It has been argued that, as regards occult powers, the necessity for keeping back all secrets which would enable unconscientious people to do mischief, might be granted, but that no corresponding motives could dictate the reservation of occult philosophical truth.

I have lately come to perceive certain considerations on this subject which have generally been overlooked; and it seems desirable to put them forward at once; especially as a very considerable body of occult philosophical teaching is now before the world, and as those who appreciate its value best, will sometimes be inclined to protest all the more emphatically against the tardiness with which it has been served out, and the curious precautions with which its further development is even now surrounded.

In a nutshell, the explanation of the timid policy displayed is that the Brothers are fully assured that the disclosure of that actual truth (which constitutes the secret doctrine) about the origin of the World and of Humanity—of the laws which govern their existence, and the destinies to which they are moving on—is calculated to have a very momentous effect on the welfare of mankind. Great results ensue from small beginnings, and the seeds of knowledge now being sown in the world may ultimately bear prodigious harvest. We, who are present merely at the sowing, may not realize the magnitude and importance of the impulse we are concerned in giving, but that impulse will roll on, and a few generations hence will be productive of tremendous consequences one way or the other. For occult philosophy is no shadowy system of speculation like any of the hundred philosophies with which the minds of men have been overwhelmed; it is the positive Truth, and by the time enough of it is let out, it will be seen to be so by thousands of the greatest men who may then be living in the world. What will be the consequence? The first effect on the minds of all who come to understand it, is terribly iconoclastic. It drives out before it everything else in the shape of religious belief. It leaves no room for any conceptions belonging even to the groundwork or foundation of ordinary religious faith. And what becomes then of all rules of right and wrong, of all sanctions for morality? Most assuredly there are rules of right and wrong thrilling through every fibre of occult philosophy really higher than any which commonplace theologies can teach; far more cogent sanctions for morality than can be derived at second-hand from the distorted doctrines of exoteric religions; hut a complete transfer of the sanction will be a process involving the greatest possible danger for mankind at the time. Bigots of all denominations will laugh at the idea of such a transfer being seriously considered. The orthodox Christian—confident in the thousand of churches overshadowing all western lands, of the enormous force engaged in the maintenance and propagation of the faith, with the Pope and the Protestant hierarchy in alliance for this broad purpose, with the countless clergy of all sects, and the fiery Salvation Army bringing up the rear—will think that the earth itself is more likely to crumble into ruin than the irresistible authority of Religion to be driven back. They are all counting, however, without the progress of enlightenment. The most absurd religions die hard; but when the intellectual classes definitively reject them, they die, with throes of terrible agony, may be, and, perhaps, like Samson in the Temple, but they cannot permanently outlive a conviction that they are false in the leading minds of the age. Just what has been said of Christianity may be said of Mahomedanism and Brahminism. Little or no risk is run while occult literature aims merely at putting a reasonable construction on perverted tenets—in showing people that truth may lurk behind even the strangest theologic fictions. And the lover of orthodoxy, in either of the cases instanced, may welcome the explanation with complacency. For him also, as for the Christian, the faith which he professes—sanctioned by what looks like a considerable antiquity to the very limited vision of uninitiated historians, and supported by the attachment of millions grown old in its service and careful to educate their children in the convictions that have served their turn—is founded on a rock which has its base in the foundations of the world. Fragmentary teachings of occult philosophy seem at first to be no more than annotations on the canonical doctrine. They may even embellish it with graceful interpretations of its symbolism, parts of which may have seemed to require apology, when ignorantly taken at the foot of the letter. But this is merely the beginning of the attack. If occult philosophy gets before the world with anything resembling completeness, it will so command the assent of earnest students that for them nothing else of that nature will remain standing. And the earnest students in such eases must multiply. They are multiplying now even, merely on the strength of the little that has been revealed. True, as yet— for some time to come—the study will be, as it were, the whim of a few; but “those who know,” know among other things that, give it fair-play, and it must become the subject of enthusiasm with all advanced thinkers. And what is to happen when the world is divided into two camps—the whole forces of intellectuality and culture on the one side, those of ignorance and superstitious fanaticism on the other? With such a war as that impending, the adepts, who will be conscious that they prepared the lists and armed the combatants, will require some better justification for their policy before their own consciences than the reflection that, in the beginning, people accused them of selfishness, and of keeping a miserly guard over their knowledge, and so goaded them with this taunt that they were induced to set the ball rolling.

There is no question, be it understood, as to the relative merits of the moral sanctions that are afforded by occult philosophy and those which are distilled from the worn-out materials of existing creeds. If the world could conceivably be shunted at one coup from the one code of morals to the other, the world would be greatly the better for the change. But the change cannot be made all at once, and the transition is most dangerous. On the other hand, it is no less dangerous to take no steps in the direction of that transition. For though existing religions may be a great power—the Pope ruling still over millions of consciences if not over towns and States, the name of the Prophet being still a word to conjure with in war, the forces of Brahmanical custom holding countless millions in willing subjection—in spite of all this, the old religions are sapped and past their prime. They are in process of decay, for they are losing their hold on the educated minority; it is still the case that in all countries the camps of orthodoxy include large numbers of men distinguished by intellect and culture, but one by one their numbers are diminishing. Five-and-twenty years only, in Europe, have made a prodigious change. Books are written now that pass almost as matters of course which would have been impossible no further back than that. No further back, books thrilled society with surprise and excitement, which the intellectual world would now ignore as embodying the feeblest commonplaces. The old creeds, in fact, are slowly losing their hold upon mankind—more slowly in the more deliberately moving East than Europe, but even here by degrees also—and a time will come, whether occult philosophy is given out to take their place or not, when they will no longer afford even such faulty sanctions for moral conduct and right as they have supplied in times gone by. Therefore it is plain that something must be given out to take their place, and hence the determinations of which this movement in which we are engaged is one of the undulations—these very words some of the foremost froth upon the advancing wave.

But surely, when something which must be done is yet very dangerous in the doing, the persons who control the operations in progress may be excused for exercising the utmost caution. Readers of Theosophical literature will be aware how bitterly our adept Brothers have been criticized for choosing to take their own time and methods in the task of partially communicating their knowledge to the world. Here in India these criticisms have been indignantly resented by the passionate loyalty to the Mahatmas that is so widely spread among Hindus—resented more by instinct than reason in some cases perhaps, though in others, no doubt, as a consequence of a full appreciation of all that is being now explained, and of other considerations beside. But in Europe such criticisms will have seemed hard to answer. The answer is really embodied, however imperfectly, in the views of the situation now set forth. We ordinary mortals in the world work as men travelling by the light of a lantern in an unknown country. We see but a little way to the right and left, only a little way behind even. But the adepts work as men travelling by daylight, with the further advantage of being able at will to get up in a balloon and survey vast expanses of lake and plain and forest.

The choice of time and methods for communicating occult knowledge to the world necessarily includes the choice of intermediary agent. Hence the double set of misconceptions in India and Europe, each adapted to the land of its origin. In India, where knowledge of the Brothers’ existence and reverence for their attributes is widely diffused, it is natural that persons who may be chosen for their serviceability rather than for their merits, as the recipients of their direct teaching, should be regarded with a feeling resembling jealousy. In Europe, the difficulty of getting into any sort of relations with the fountain-head of Eastern philosophy is regarded as due to an exasperating exclusiveness on the part of the adepts in that philosophy, which renders it practically worth no man’s while to devote himself to the task of soliciting their instruction. But neither feeling is reasonable when considered in the light of the explanations now put forward The Brothers can consider none but public interests, in the largest sense of the words, in throwing out the first experimental flashes of occult revelation into the world. They can only employ agents on whom they can rely for doing the work as they may wish it done—or, at all events, in no manner which may be widely otherwise. Or they can only protect the task on which they are concerned in another way. They may consent sometimes to a very much more direct mode of instruction than that provided through intermediary agents for the world at large, in the cases of organized societies solemnly pledged to secrecy, for the time being at all events, in regard to the teaching to be conveyed to them. In reference to such societies, the Brothers need not be on the watch to see that the teaching is not worked up for the service of the world in a way they would consider, for any reasons of their own, likely to be injurious to final results or dangerous. Different men will assimilate the philosophy to be unfolded in different ways: for some it will be too iconoclastic altogether, and its further pursuit, after a certain point is reached, unwelcome. Such persons, entering too hastily on the path of exploration, will be able to drop off from the undertaking whenever they like, if thoroughly pledged to secrecy in the first instance, without being a source of embarrassment afterwards, as regards the steady prosecution of the work in hand by other more resolute, or less sensitive, labourers. It may be that in some such societies, if any should be formed in which occult philosophy may be secretly studied, some of the members will be as well fitted as, or better than, any other persons employed elsewhere to put the teachings in shape for publication, but in that case it is to be presumed that special qualifications will eventually make themselves apparent. The meaning and good sense of the restrictions, provisionally imposed meanwhile, will be plain enough to any impartial person on reflection, even though their novelty and strangeness may be a little resented at the first glance.




The Puranas on the Dynasty of the Moryas and on Koothoomi

It is stated in Matsya Puran, chapter cclxxii., that ten Moryas would reign over India, and would be succeeded by the Shoongas, and that Shata Dhanva will be the first of these ten Maureyas (or Moryas).

In Vishnu Purana (Book IV. chapter iv.) it is stated that there was in the Soorya dynasty a king called Moru, who through the power of devotion (Yoga) is said to be still living in the village called Katapa, in the Himalayas (vide vol. iii. p. 197, by Wilson), and who, in a future age, will be the restorer of the Kshatriya race, in the Solar dynasty, that is, many thousands of years hence. In another part of the same Purana (Book IV. chapter xxiv.) it is stated that, “upon the cessation of the race of Nanda, the Moryas1 will possess the earth, for Kautilya will place Chandragupta on the throne.” Col. Tod considers Morya, or Maurya, a corruption of Mori, the name of a Rajput tribe. The Commentary on the Mahavanso thinks that the princes of the town Mori were thence called Mauryas. Vachaspattya, a Sanskrit Encyclopædia, places the village of Katapa on the northern side of the Himalayas—hence in Tibet. The same is stated in chapter xii. (Skanda) of Bhagavat, vol. iii. p. 325. The Vayu Purana seems to declare that Moru will re-establish the Kshatriyas in the nineteenth coming Yuga. In chapter vi. Book III. of Vishnu Purana, a Rishi called Koothoomi is mentioned. Will any of our Brothers tell us how our Mahatmas stand to these revered personages?



In the Buddhist Mahavanso, Chandagatto, or Chandragupta, Asoka’s grandfather, is called a prince of the Moryan dynasty as he certainly was—or rather as they were, for there were several Chandraguptas. This dynasty, as said in the same book, began with certain Kshatriyas (warriors) of the Sakya line closely related to Gautama Buddha, who crossing the Himavanto (Himalayas) “discovered a delightful location, well watered, and situated in the midst of a forest of lofty bo and other trees. There they founded a town, which was called by its Sakya lords, Morya-Nagara.” Prof. Max Müller would see in this legend a made-up story for two reasons: (1) A desire on the part of Buddhists to connect their king Asoka, “the beloved of gods,” with Buddha, and thus nullify the slanders set up by the Brahmanical opponents of Buddhism to the effect that Asoka and Chandragupta were Sudras; and (2) because this document does not dovetail with his own theories and chronology based on the fanciful stories of the Greek-Megasthenes and others. It was not the princes of Morya-Nagara who received their name from the Rajput tribe of Mori, but the latter that became so well known as being composed of the descendants of the Moryan sovereign of Morya-Nagara. Some light is thrown on the subsequent destiny of that dynasty in “Replies to an English F. T. S.” (See ante.) The name of Rishi Koothoomi is mentioned in more than one Purana, and his Code is among the eighteen Codes written by various Rishis, and preserved at Calcutta in the library of the Asiatic Society. But we have not been told whether there is any connection between our Mahatma of that name and the Rishi, and we do not feel justified in speculating upon the subject. All we know is, that both are Northern Brahmans, while the Môryas are Kshatriyas. If any of our Brothers know more, or can discover anything relating to the subject in the Sacred Books, we shall hear of it with pleasure. The words: “The Moryas will possess the earth, for Kautilya will place Chandragupta on the throne,” have in our occult philosophy a dual meaning. In one sense they relate to the days of early Buddhism, when a Chandragupta (Morya) was the king “of all the earth,” i.e., of Brahmans, who believed themselves the highest and only representatives of humanity for whom earth was evolved. The second meaning is purely esoteric. Every adept or genuine Mahatma is said to “possess the earth,” by the power of his occult knowledge. Hence, a series of ten Moryas, all initiated adepts, would be regarded by the occultists, and referred to as “possessing all the earth,” or all its knowledge. The names of “Chandragupta” and “Kautilya” have also an esoteric significance. Let our Brother ponder over their Sanskrit meaning, and he will perhaps see what bearing the phrase—“for Kautilya will place Chandragupta upon the throne”—has upon the Moryas possessing the earth. We would also remind our Brother that the word Itihasa, ordinarily translated as “history,” is defined by Sanskrit authorities to be the narrative of the lives of some august personages, conveying at the same time meanings of the highest moral and occult importance.

The Theory of Cycles

It is now some time since this theory—which was first propounded in the oldest religion of the world, Vedaism—has been gradually coming into prominence again. It was taught by various Greek philosophers, and afterwards defended by the Theosophists of the Middle Ages, but came to be flatly denied by the wise men of the West, the world of negations. Contrary to the rule, it is the men of science themselves who have revived this theory. Statistics of events of the most varied nature are fast being collected and collated with the seriousness demanded by important scientific questions. Statistics of wars and of the periods (or cycles) of the appearance of great men—at least those who have been recognized as such by their contemporaries; statistics of the periods of development and progress of large commercial centres; of the rise and fall of arts and sciences; of cataclysms, such as earthquakes, epidemics; periods of extraordinary cold and heat; cycles of revolutions, and of the rise and fall of empires, etc.: all these are subjected in turn to the analysis of the minutest mathematical calculations. Finally, even the occult significance of numbers in names of persons and cities, in events, and like matters, receives unwonted attention. If, on the one hand, a great portion of the educated public is running into atheism and scepticism, on the other hand, we find an evident current of mysticism forcing its way into science. It is the sign of an irrepressible need in humanity to assure itself that there is a power paramount over matter; an occult and mysterious law which governs the world, and which we should rather study and closely watch, trying to adapt ourselves to it, than blindly deny, and dash ourselves vainly against the rock of destiny. More than one thoughtful mind, while studying the fortunes and reverses of nations and great empires, has been struck by one identical feature in their history—namely, the inevitable recurrence of similar events, and after equal periods of time. This relation between events is found to be substantially constant, though differences in the outward form of details no doubt occur. Thus the belief of the ancients in their astrologers, soothsayers and prophets might have been warranted by the verification of many of their most important predictions, without these prognostications of future events implying of necessity anything very miraculous. The soothsayers and augurs having occupied in days of the old civilizations the very same position now occupied by our historians, astronomers and meteorologists, there was nothing more wonderful in the fact of the former predicting the downfall of an empire or the loss of a battle, than in the latter predicting the return of a comet, a change of temperature, or perhaps the final conquest of Afghanistan. Both studied exact sciences; for, if the astronomer of to-day draws his observations from mathematical calculations, the astrologer of old also based his prognostication upon no less acute and mathematically correct observations of the ever-recurring cycles. And, because the secret of this ancient science is now being lost, does that give any warrant for saying that it never existed, or that to believe in it, one must be ready to swallow “magic,” “miracles” and the like? “If, in view of the eminence to which modern science has reached, the claim to prophesy future events must be regarded as either child’s play or a deliberate deception,” says a writer in the Novoyé Vremja, “then we can point at science which, in its turn, has now taken up and placed on record the question, whether there is or is not in the constant repetition of events a certain periodicity; in other words, whether these events recur after a fixed and determined period of years with every nation; and if a periodicity there be, whether this periodicity is due to blind chance, or depends on the same natural laws which govern the phenomena of human life.” Undoubtedly the latter. And the writer has the best mathematical proof of it in the timely appearance of such works as that of Dr. E. Zasse, and others. Several learned works treating upon this mystical subject have appeared of late, and to some of these works and calculations we shall presently refer. A very suggestive work by a well-known German scientist, E. Zasse, appears in the Prussian Journal of Statistics, powerfully corroborating the ancient theory of cycles. These periods which bring around ever-recurring events, begin from the infinitesimally small—say of ten years—rotation, and reach to cycles which require 250, 500, 700, and 1000 years to effect their revolutions around themselves, and within one another. All are contained within the Máhá-Yug, the “Great Age” or Cycle of Manu’s calculation, which itself revolves between two eternities—the “Pralayas” or Nights of Brahma. As, in the objective world of matter, or the system of effects, the minor constellations and planets gravitate each and all around the sun, so in the world of the subjective, or the system of causes, these innumerable cycles all gravitate between that which the finite intellect of the ordinary mortal regards as eternity, and the still finite, but more profound, intuition of the sage and philosopher views as but an eternity within THE ETERNITY. “As above, so it is below,” runs the old Hermetic maxim. As an experiment in this direction, Dr. Zasse selected the statistical investigations of all the wars recorded in history, as a subject which lends itself more easily to scientific verification than any other. To illustrate his subject in the simplest and most easily comprehensible manner, Dr. Zasse represents the periods of war and the periods of peace in the shape of small and large wave-lines running over the area of the Old World. The idea is not a new one, for the image was used for similar illustrations by more than one ancient and mediæval mystic, whether in words or pictures—by Henry Kunrath, for example. But it serves well its purpose, and gives us the facts we now want. Before he treats, however, of the cycles of wars, the author brings in the record of the rise and fall of the world’s great empires, and shows the degree of activity they have played in the Universal History. He points out the fact that if we divide the map of the Old World into six parts—into Eastern, Central, and Western Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, and Egypt—then we shall easily perceive that every 250 years an enormous wave passes over these areas, bringing to each in its turn the events it has brought to the one next preceding. This wave we may call “the historical wave” of the 250 years’ cycle.

The first of these waves began in China 2000 years B.C., in the “golden age” of this empire, the age of philosophy, of discoveries, of reforms. “In 1750 B.C. the Mongolians of Central Asia establish a powerful empire. In 1500, Egypt rises from its temporary degradation and extends its sway over many parts of Europe and Asia; and about 1250, the historical wave reaches and crosses over to Eastern Europe, filling it with the spirit of the Argonautic Expedition, and dies out in 1000 B.C. at the Siege of Troy.”

The second historical wave appears about that time in Central Asia. “The Scythians leave her steppes, and inundate towards the year 750 B.C. the adjoining countries, directing themselves towards the south and west; about the year 500, in Western Asia begins an epoch of splendour for ancient Persia; and the wave moves on to the east of Europe, where, about 250 B.C., Greece reaches her highest state of culture and civilization—and further on to the west, where, at the birth of Christ, the Roman Empire finds itself at its apogee of power and greatness.”

Again, at this period we find the rising of a third historical wave at the far East. After prolonged revolutions, about this time, China forms once more a powerful empire, and its arts, sciences and com- merce flourish again. Then 250 years later, we find the Huns appearing from the depths of Central Asia; in the year 500 A.D., a new and powerful Persian kingdom is formed; in 750—in Eastern Europe—the Byzantine empire; and in the year 1000—on its western side—springs up the second Roman Power, the Empire of the Papacy, which soon reaches an extraordinary development of wealth and brilliancy.

At the same time the fourth wave approaches from the Orient. China is again flourishing; in 1250, the Mongolian wave from Central Asia has overflowed and covered an enormous area of land, including Russia. About 1500, in Western Asia the Ottoman Empire rises in all its might, and conquers the Balkan peninsula; but at the same time, in Eastern Europe, Russia throws off the Tartar yoke; and about 1750, during the reign of Empress Catherine, rises to an unexpected grandeur, and covers itself with glory. The wave ceaselessly moves further On to the West; and beginning with the middle of the past century, Europe is living over an epoch of revolutions and reforms, and, according to the author, “if it is permissible to prophesy, then about the year 2000, Western Europe will have lived through one of those periods of culture and progress so rare in history.” The Russian press taking the cue believes, that “towards those days the Eastern Question will be finally settled, the national dissensions of the European peoples will come to an end, and the dawn of the new millennium will witness the abolition of armies and an alliance between all the European empires.” The signs of regeneration are also fast multiplying in Japan and China, as if pointing to the rise of a new historical wave in the extreme East.

If from the cycle of two-and-a-half centuries we descend to that which leaves its impress every century, and, grouping together the events of ancient history, mark the development and rise of empires, then we shall find that, beginning from the year 700 B.C., the centennial wave pushes forward, bringing into prominence the following nations, each in its turn—the Assyrians, the Medes, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Macedonians, the Carthagenians, the Romans, and the Teutons.

The striking periodicity of the wars in Europe is also noticed by Dr. E. Zasse. Beginning with 1700 A.D., every ten years have been signalized by either a war or a revolution. The periods of the strengthening and weakening of the warlike excitement of the European nations represent a wave strikingly regular in its periodicity, flowing incessantly, as if propelled onward by some fixed inscrutable law. This same mysterious law seems also to connect these events with the astronomical wave or cycle, which governs the periodicity of solar spots. The periods when the European powers have shown the most destructive energy are marked by a cycle of fifty years’ duration. it would be too long and tedious to enumerate them from the beginning of history. We may, therefore, limit our study to the cycle beginning with the year 1712, when all the European nations were fighting each other in the Northern, and the Turkish wars, and the war for the throne of Spain. About 1761, the “Seven Years’ War”; in 1810, the wars of Napoleon I. Towards 1861, the wave has been a little deflected from its regular course; but, as if to compensate for it, or propelled, perhaps, with unusual force, the years directly preceding, as well as those which followed it, left in history the records of the most fierce and bloody wars—the Crimean War in the former, and the American Civil War in the latter period. The periodicity in the wars between Russia and Turkey appears peculiarly striking, and represents a very characteristic wave. At first the intervals between the cycles of thirty years’ duration—1710, 1740, 1770 then these intervals diminish, and we have a cycle of twenty years—1790, 1810, 1829-30; then the intervals widen again—1853 and 1878. But if we take note of the whole duration of the in-flowing tide of the war-like cycle, then we shall have at the centre of it—from 1768 to 1812—three wars of seven years’ duration each, and at both ends, wars of two years.

Finally, the author comes to the conclusion that, in view of facts, it becomes thoroughly impossible to deny the presence of a regular periodicity in the excitement of both mental and physical forces in the nations of the world. He proves that in the history of all the peoples and empires of the Old World, the cycles marking the millenniums, the centennials as well as the minor ones of fifty and ten years’ duration, are the most important, inasmuch as neither of them has ever yet failed to bring in its train some more or less marked event in the history of the nation swept over by these historical waves.

The history of India is one which, of all histories, is the most vague and least satisfactory. Yet were its consecutive great events noted down, and its annals well searched, the law of cycles would be found to have asserted itself here as plainly as in every other country in respect of its wars, famines, political exigencies, and other matters.

In France, a meteorologist of Paris went to the trouble of compiling the statistics of the coldest seasons, and discovered that those years which had the figure 9 in them had been marked by the severest winters. His figures run thus:—in 859 A.D., the northern part of the Adriatic Sea was frozen, and was covered for three months with ice. In 1179, In the most moderate zones, the earth was covered with several feet of snow. In 1209, in France the depth of snow and the bitter cold caused such a scarcity of fodder that most of the cattle perished in that country. In 1249, the Baltic Sea between Russia, Norway and Sweden remained frozen for many months, and communication was kept up by sleighs. in 1339, there was such a terrific winter in England, that vast numbers of people died of starvation and exposure. In 1409, the river Danube was frozen from its sources to its mouth in the Black Sea. In 1469, all the vineyards and orchards perished in consequence of the frost. In 1609, in France, Switzerland and Upper Italy, people had to thaw their bread and provisions before they could use them. In 1639, the Harbour of Marseilles was covered with ice to a great distance. In 1659, all the rivers in Italy were frozen. In 1699, the winter in France and Italy proved the severest and longest of all. The prices for articles of food were so much raised that half of the population died of starvation. In 1709, the winter was no less terrible. The ground was frozen in France, Italy and Switzerland to the depth of several feet; and the sea, south as well as north, was covered with one compact and thick crust of ice, many feet deep, and for a considerable distance in the usually open sea. Numbers of wild beasts, driven out by the cold from their dens in the forests, sought refuge in villages and even cities; and the birds fell dead to the ground by hundreds. In 1729, 1749 and 1769 (cycles of twenty years’ duration), all the rivers and streams were ice-bound all over France for many weeks, and all the fruit trees perished. In 1789, France was again visited by a very severe winter. In Paris, the thermometer stood at nineteen degrees of frost. But the severest of all winters proved that of 1829. For fifty-four consecutive days all the roads in France were covered, with snow several feet deep, and all the rivers were frozen. Famine and misery reached their climax in the country in that year. In 1839, there was again in France a most terrific and trying cold season. And the winter of 1879 has asserted its statistical rights, and proved true to the fatal influence of the figure 9. The meteorologists of other countries are invited to follow suit, and make their investigations likewise, for the subject is certainly most fascinating as well as most instructive.

Enough has been shown, however, to prove that neither the ideas of Pythagoras on the mysterious influence of numbers, nor the theories of the ancient world-religions and philosophies are as shallow and meaningless as some too forward thinkers would have had the world to believe.

H. P. B.



Odorigen and Jiva

Professor Yaeger of Stuttgart has made a very interesting study of the sense of smell. He starts from the fact well known in medical jurisprudence, that the blood of an animal when treated by sulphuric, or indeed by any other decomposing acid, smells like the animal itself to which it belongs. This holds good even after the blood has been long dried.

Let us state before all what is to be understood by the smell of a certain animal. There is the pure, specific smell of the animal, inherent in its flesh, or, as we shall see hereafter, in certain portions of its flesh. This smell is best perceived when the flesh is gently boiling in water. The broth thereby obtained contains the specific taste and smell of the animal—I call it specific, because every species, nay every variety of species, has its own peculiar taste and smell. Think of mutton broth, chicken broth, fish broth, etc. etc. I shall call this smell, the specific scent of the animal. I need not say that the scent of an animal is quite different from all such odours as are generated within its organism, along with its various secretions and excretions: bile, gastric juice, sweat, etc. These odours are again different in the different species and varieties of animals. The cutaneous exhalation of the goat, the sheep, the donkey, widely differ from each other; and a similar difference prevails with regard to all the other effluvia of these animals. In fact, as far as olfactory experience goes, we may say that the odour of each secretion and excretion of a certain species of animals is peculiar to itself, and characteristically different in the similar products of another species.

By altering the food of an animal we may considerably alter all the above-mentioned odours, scents, as well as smells; yet essentially they will always retain their specific odoriferous type. All this is matter of strict experience.

Strongly diffusive as all these odorous substances are, they permeate the whole organism, and each of them contributes its share to what in the aggregate constitutes the smell of the living animal. It is altogether an excrementitious smell tempered by the scent of the animal. That excrementitious smell we shall henceforth simply call the smell, in contradistinction to the scent of the animal.

To return after this not very pleasant, but nevertheless necessary digression, to our subject. Professor Yaeger found that blood, treated by an acid, may emit the scent or the smell of the animal, according as the acid is weak or strong. A strong acid, rapidly disintegrating the blood, brings out the animal’s smell; a weak acid, the animal’s scent.

We see, then, that in every drop of blood of a certain species of animal, and we may as well say, in each of its blood corpuscles, and in the last instance, in each of its molecules, the respective animal species is fully represented, as to its odorant speciality, under both aspects of scent and smell.

We have, then, on the one side, the fact before us that wherever we meet in the animal kingdom with difference of shape, form, and construction, so different as to constitute a class, a genus, or a family of its own, there we meet at the same time with a distinct and specific scent and smell. On the other hand, we know that these specific odours are invariably interblended with the very life-blood of the animal. And lastly, we know that these specific odours cannot be accounted for by any agents taken up in the shape of food from the outer world. We are, then, driven to the conclusion that they are properties of the inner animal; that they, in other words, pertain to the specific protoplasm of the animal concerned.

And thus our conclusion attains almost certainty, when we remember that it stands the crucial test of experiment—that we need only decompose the blood in order to find there what we contend to be an essential ingredient of it.

I must now say a few words in explanation of the term protoplasm. Protoplasm is a soft, gelatinous substance, transparent and homogeneous, easily seen in large plant-cells; it may be compared to the white of an egg. When at rest all sorts of vibratory, quivering and trembling movements can be observed within its mass. It forms the living material in all vegetable and animal cells; in fact, it is that component of the body which really does the vital work. It is the formative agent of all living tissues. Vital activity, in the broadest sense of the term, manifests itself in the development of the germ into the complete organism, repeating the type of its parents, and in the subsequent maintenance of that organism in its integrity and both these functions are exclusively carried on by the protoplasm. Of course, there is a good deal of chemical and mechanical work done in the organism, but protoplasm is the formative agent of all the tissues and structures.

Of tissues and structures already formed, we may fairly say that they have passed out of the realms of vitality, as they are destined to gradual disintegration and decay in the course of life; it is they that are on the way of being cast out of the organism, when they have once run through the scale of retrograde metamorphosis; and it is they that give rise to what we have called the smell of the animal. What lives in them is the protoplasm.

In the shape of food the outer world supplies the organism with all the materials necessary for the building up of the constantly wasting organic structures; and, in the shape of heat, there comes from the outer world that other element necessary for structural changes, development and growth—the element of force. But the task of directing all the outward materials to the development and maintenance of the organism—in other words, the task of the director-general of the organic economy falls to the protoplasm.

Now this wonderful substance, chemically and physically the same in the highest animal and in the lowest plant, has been all along the puzzle of the biologist. How is it that in man protoplasm works out human structure; in fowl, fowl structure, etc. etc., while the protoplasm itself appears to be everywhere the same? To Professor Yaeger belongs the great merit of having shown us that the protoplasms of the various species of plants and animals are not the same; that each of them contains, moreover, imbedded in its molecules, odorant substances peculiar to the one species and not to the other.

That, on the other hand, those odorous substances are by no means inactive bodies, may be inferred from their great volatility, known as it is in physical science that volatility is owing to a state of atomic activity. Prevost has described two phenomena that are presented by odorous substances. One is that, when placed on water, they begin to move; and the other is, that a thin layer of water, extended on a perfectly clean glass plate, retracts when such an odorous substance as camphor is placed upon it. Monsieur Ligeois has further shown that the particles of an odorous body, placed on water, undergo a rapid division, and that the movements of camphor, or of benzoic acid, are inhibited, or altogether arrested, if an odorous substance be brought into contact with the water in which they are moving.

Seeing, then, that odorous substances, when coming in contact with liquid bodies, assume a peculiar motion, and impart at the same time motion to the liquid body, we may fairly conclude that the specific formative capacity of the protoplasm is owing, not to the protoplasm itself, since it is everywhere alike, but to the inherent, specific, odoriferous substances.

I shall only add that Professor Yaeger’s theory may be carried farther yet. Each metal has also a certain taste and odour peculiar to itself; in other words, they are also endowed with odoriferous substances. And this may help us to explain the fact that each metal, when crystallizing out of a liquid solution, invariably assumes a distinct geometrical form, by which it may be distinguished from any other. Common salt, for instance, invariably crystallizes in cubes, alum in octohedra, and so on.

Professor Yaeger’s theory explains further to us that other great mystery of Nature—the transmission from parent to offspring of the morphological speciality. This is another puzzle of the biologist. What is there in the embryonal germ that evolves out of the materials stored up therein a frame similar to the parents? In other words, what is there that presides over the preservation of the species, working out the miniature duplicate of the parents’ configuration and character? It is the protoplasm, no doubt; and the female ovum contains protoplasm in abundance. But neither the physicist nor the chemist can detect any difference between the primordial germ, say of the fowl, and that of a female of the human race.

In answer to this question—a question before which science stands perplexed—we need only remember what has been said before about the protoplasmic scent. We have spoken before of the specific scent of the animal as a whole. We know, however, that every organ and tissue in a given animal has again its peculiar scent and taste. The scent and taste of the liver, spleen, brain, etc., are quite different in the same animal.

And if our theory is correct, then it could not be otherwise. Each of these organs is differently constructed, and as variety of organic structure is supposed to be dependent upon variety of scent, there must necessarily be a specific cerebral scent, a specific splenetic scent, a specific hepatic scent, etc. etc. What we call, then, the specific scent of the living animal must, therefore, be considered as the aggregate of all the different scents of its organs.

When we see that a weak solution of sulphuric acid is capable of disengaging from the blood the scent of the animal, we shall then bear in mind that this odorous emanation contains particles of all the scents peculiar to each tissue and organ of the animal. When we further say that each organ in a living animal draws by selective affinity from the blood those materials which are necessary for its sustenance, we must not forget that each organ draws at the same time by a similar selective affinity the specific odorous substances requisite for its constructive requirements.

We have now only to suppose that the embryonal germ contains, like the blood itself, all the odorous substances pertaining to the various tissues and organs of the parent, and we shall understand which is the moving principle in the germ that evolves an offspring, shaped in the image and after the likeness of the parents.

In plants it is the blossom which is entrusted with the function of reproduction, and the odorous emanations accompanying that process are well known. There is strong reason to believe that something similar prevails in the case of animals, as may be seen from an examination of what embryologists call the aura seminalis.

Let us now inquire what the effects are of odours generated in the outer world on animals. The odorous impressions produced may be pleasant or unpleasant, pleasant to one and unpleasant to another animal. What is it that constitutes this sensation of pleasure or displeasure? Professor Yaeger answers, It is harmony or disharmony which makes all the difference. The olfactory organs of each animal are impregnated by its own specific scent. Whenever the odorous waves of a substance harmonize in their vibration with the odorous waves emanating from the animal; in other words, whenever they fall in and agree with each other, an agreeable sensation is produced; whenever the reverse takes places, the sensation is disagreeable. In this way it is that the odour regulates the choice of the food on the part of the animal. In a similar way the sympathies and antipathies between the various animals are regulated. For every individual has not only its specific but also its individual scent. The selection between the sexes, or what, in the case of the human race, is called love, has its mainspring in the odorous harmony subsisting in the two individuals concerned.

This individual scent—a variation of the specific odorous type—alters (within the limits of its speciality) with age, with the particular mode of occupation, with the sex, with certain physiological conditions and functions during life, with the state of health, and last, but not least, with the state of our mind.

It is to be remembered that every time protoplasm undergoes disintegration, specific odours are set free. We have seen how sulphuric acid, or heat, when boiling or roasting meat, brings out the specific animal odour. But it is an established fact in science, that every physical or mental operation is accompanied by disintegration of tissue; consequently we are entitled to say that with every emotion odours are being disengaged. It can be shown that the quality of those odours differ with the nature of the emotion. The prescribed limits prevent further pursuit of the subject; I shall, therefore, content myself by drawing some conclusions from Professor Yaeger’s theory in the light of the Esoteric Doctrine.

The phenomena of mesmeric cures find their full explanation in the theory just enunciated. For since the construction and preservation of the organism, and of every organ in particular, is owing to specific scents, we may fairly look upon disease in general as a disturbance of the specific scent of the organism, and upon disease of a particular organ of the body, as a disturbance of the specific scent pertaining to that particular organ. We have been hitherto in the habit of holding the protoplasm responsible for all phenomena of disease. We have now come to learn that what acts in the protoplasm are the scents; we shall, therefore, have to look to them as the ultimate cause of morbid phenomena. I have mentioned before the experiment of Mons. Ligeois, showing that odoriferous substances, when brought in contact with water, move; and that the motion of one odoriferous substance may be inhibited, or arrested altogether, by the presence of another odoriferous substance. Epidemic diseases, and the zymotic diseases in particular, have, then, most likely their origin in some local odours which inhibit the action of our specific organic odours. In the case of hereditary diseases, it is most likely the transmission of morbid specific odours from parent to offspring that is the cause of the evil, knowing, as we do, that in disease the natural specific odour is altered, and must, therefore, have been altered in the diseased parent.

Now comes the mesmeriser. He approaches the sick with the strong determination to cure him. This determination, or effort of the will, is absolutely necessary, according to the agreement of all mesmerisers, for his curative success. Now an effort of the will is a mental operation, and is, therefore, accompanied by tissue disintegration. The effort being purely mental, we may say it is accompanied by disintegration of cerebral and nervous tissue. But disintegration of organic tissue means, as we have seen before, disengagement of specific scents; the mesmeriser emits, then, during his operation, scents from his own body. And as the patient’s sufferings are supposed to originate from a deficiency or alteration of his own specific scent, we can well see how the mesmeriser, by his mesmeric or odoriferous emanations, may effect a cure. He may supply the want of certain odoriferous substances in the patient, or he may correct others by his own emanations, knowing, as we do, from the experiment of Mons. Ligeois, that odorant matter does act on odorant matter.

One remark more and I have done. By the Esoteric Doctrine we are told that the living body is divided into two parts:

1. The physical body, composed wholly of matter in its grossest and most tangible form.

2. The vital principle (or Jiva), a form of force indestructible, and, when disconnected with one set of atoms, becoming attracted immediately by others.

Now this division, generally speaking, fully agrees with the teachings of science. I need only remind you of what I have said before with regard to the formed tissues and structures of the body and its formative agent the protoplasm. Formed structure is considered as material which has already passed out of the realms of life; what lives in it is the protoplasm. So far the esoteric conception fully agrees with the result of the latest investigations of modern science.

But when we are told by the Esoteric Doctrine that the vital principle is indestructible, we feel we move on occult, incomprehensible ground, for we know that protoplasm is, after all, as destructible as the body itself. It lives as long as life lasts, and, it may be said, it is the only material in the body that does live as long as life lasts. But it dies with the cessation of life. It is true it is capable of a sort of resuscitation. For that very dead protoplasm, be it animal or vegetable, serves again as our food, and as the food of all the animal world, and thus helps to repair our constantly wasting economy. But for all that it could hardly be said to be indestructible; it is assimilable—that is to say, capable of re-entering the domain of life, through its being taken up by a living body. But such an eventual chance does by no means confer upon it the attribute of indestructibility; for we need only leave the dead animal or plant containing the protoplasm alone, and it will rot and decay—organs, tissues, and protoplasm altogether.

To our further perplexity the Esoteric Doctrine tells us that the vital principle is not only indestructible, but it is a form of force, which, when disconnected with one set of atoms, becomes attracted immediately by others. The vital principle to the Esoteric Doctrine would then appear to be a sort of abstract force, not a force inherent in the living protoplasm—this is the scientific conception—but a force per se, independent altogether of the material with which it is connected.

Now I must confess this is a doctrine which puzzles one greatly, although one may have no difficulty in accepting the spirit of man as an entity. for the phenomena of ratiocination are altogether so widely different from all physical phenomena that they can hardly be explained by any of the physical forces known to us. The materialist, who tells us that consciousness, sensation, thought, and the spontaneous power of the will, so peculiar to man and to the higher animals, are altogether so many outcomes of certain conditions of matter and nothing else, makes at best merely a subjective statement. He cannot help acknowledging that spontaneity is not a quality of matter. He is then driven to the contention that what we believe to be spontaneous in us, is, after all, an unconscious result of external impulses only. His contention rests then on the basis of his own inner experience, or what he believes to be such. This contention of his is, however, disputed by many, who no less appeal to their own inner experience, or what they believe to be their experience. It is then a question of inner experience of the one party versus inner experience of the other. And such being the case, the scientific materialist is driven to admit that his theory, however correct it may be, rests, after all, on subjective experience, and can, as such, not claim the rank of positive knowledge. There is then no difficulty in accepting the entity of the spirit in man, the materialistic assertion to the contrary notwithstanding. But the vital force is exclusively concerned with the construction of matter. here we have a right to expect that physical and chemical forces should hold the whole ground of an explanation, if an explanation is possible at all. Now, physical and chemical forces are no entities; they are invariably connected with matter. In fact, they are so intimately connected with matter that they can never be dissevered from it altogether. The energy of matter may be latent or patent, and, when patent, it may manifest itself in one form or the other, according to the condition of its surroundings; it may manifest itself in the shape of light, heat, electricity, magnetism, or vitality; but in one form or the other energy constantly inheres in matter. The correlation of forces is now a well-established, scientific fact, and it is more than plausible that what is called the vital principle, or the vital force, forms a link in the chain of the other known physical forces, and is, therefore, transmutable into any of them; granted even that there is such a thing as a distinct vital force. The tendency of modern Biology is then to discard the notion of a vital entity altogether. If vital force is to be indestructible, then so are also indestructible heat, light, electricity, etc.; they are indestructible in this sense, that whenever their respective manifestation is suspended or arrested, they make their appearance in some other form of force; and in this very same sense vital force may be looked upon as indestructible: whenever vital manifestation is arrested, what had been acting as vital force is transformed into chemical, electrical forces, etc., taking its place.

But the Esoteric Doctrine appears to teach something quite different from what I have just explained, and what is, as far as I understand, a fair representation of the scientific conception of the subject. The Esoteric Doctrine tells us that the vital principle is indestructible, and, when disconnected with one set of atoms, becomes attracted by others. He then evidently holds that, what constitutes the vital principle is a principle or form of force per se, a form of force which can leave one set of atoms and go over as such to another set, without leaving any substitute force behind. This, it must be said, is simply irreconcileable with the scientific view on the subject as hitherto understood.

By the aid of Professor Yaeger’s theory this difficulty can be explained, I am happy to say, in a most satisfactory way.

The seat of the vital principle, according to Professor Yaeger’s theory, is not the protoplasm, but the odorant matter embedded in it. And such being the case, the vital principle, as far as it can be reached by the breaking up of its animated protoplasm, is really indestructible. You destroy the protoplasm by burning it, by treating it with sulphuric acid, or any other decomposing agent—the odoriferous substances, far from being destroyed, become only so much the more manifest; they escape the moment protoplasmic destruction or decomposition begins, carrying along with them the vital principle, or what has been acting as such in the protoplasm. And as they are volatile, they must soon meet with other protoplasms congenial to their nature, and set up there the same kind of vital activity as they have done in their former habitat. They are, as the Esoteric Doctrine rightly teaches, indestructible, and when disconnected with one set of atoms, they immediately become attracted by others.


There is a well-known Sanskrit treatise, where most of the deductions of Dr. Yaeger are anticipated and practically applied to sexual selection in the human species. The subject of aura seminalis finds a pretty full treatment there. The connection between what Dr. Yaeger calls “odorigen” and jiva or prana, as it is differently called in different systems of Indian philosophy, has been well traced. But his remarks on this subject, able as they no doubt are, call for a few observations from the point of view of occult philosophy. Jiva has been described by a trustworthy authority as a “form of force indestructible, and, when disconnected with one set of atoms, is immediately attracted by another set.” Dr. Salzer concludes from this that occult philosophy looks upon it as an abstract force or force per se. But surely this is bending too much to the Procrustean phraseology of modern science, and if not properly guarded will lead to some misapprehension. Matter in occult philosophy means existence in the widest sense of that word. However much the various forms of existence, such as physical, vital, mental, spiritual, &c., differ from each other, they are mutually related as being parts of the ONE UNIVERSAL EXISTENCE, the Parabrahma of the Vedantist. Force is the inherent power or capacity of Parabrahma, or the “matter” of occultism, to assume different forms. This power or capacity is not a separate entity, but is the thing itself in which it inheres, just as the three-angled character of a triangle is nothing separate from the triangle itself. From this it will be abundantly clear that, accepting the nomenclature of occult science, one cannot speak of an abstract force without being guilty of a palpable absurdity. What is meant by Jiva being a “form of force,” etc., is that it is matter in a state in which it exhibits certain phenomena, not produced by it in its sensuous state; or, in other words, it is a property of matter in a particular state, corresponding with properties called, under ordinary circumstances, heat, electricity, etc., by modern science, but at the same time without any correlation to them. It might here be objected that if Jiva was not a force per se, in the sense which modern science would attach to the phrase, then how can it survive unchanged the grand change called death, which the protoplasms it inheres in undergo? and even granting that Jiva is matter in a particular state, in what part of the body shall we locate it, in the teeth of the fact that the most careful examination has not been successful in detecting it? Jiva, as has already been stated, is subtle supersensuous matter, permeating the entire physical structure of the living being, and when it is separated from such structure life is said to become extinct. It is not reasonable therefore to expect it to be subject to detection by the surgeon’s knife. A particular set of conditions is necessary for its connection with an animal structure, and when those conditions are disturbed, it is attracted by other bodies, presenting suitable conditions. Dr. Yaegar’s “odorigen” is not Jiva itself, but is one of the links which connects it with the physical body; it seems to be matter standing between Sthula Sarira (gross body) and Jiva.


Introversion of Mental Vision

Some interesting experiments have recently been tried by Mr. F. W. H. Myers and his colleagues of the Psychic Research Society of London, which, if properly examined, are capable of yielding highly important results. With the details of these we are not at present concerned: it will suffice for our purpose to state, for the benefit of readers unacquainted with the experiments, that in a very large majority of cases, too numerous to be the result of mere chance, it was found that the thought-reading sensitive obtained but an inverted mental picture of the object given him to read. A piece of paper, containing the representation of an arrow, was held before a carefully blindfolded thought-reader, who was requested to mentally see the arrow as it was turned round. In these circumstances it was found that when the arrow-head pointed to the right, it was read off as pointing to the left, and so on. This led some to imagine that there was a mirage in the inner as well as on the outer plane of optical sensation. But the real explanation of the phenomenon lies deeper.

It is well known that an object as seen by us and its image on the retina of the eye, are not exactly the same in position, but quite the reverse. How the image of an object on the retina is inverted in sensation, is a mystery which physical science is admittedly incapable of solving. Western metaphysics, too, with regard to this point, hardly fares any better; there are as many theories as there are metaphysicians. The only philosopher who has obtained a glimpse of the truth is the idealist Berkeley, who says that a child does really see a thing inverted from our stand-point; to touch its head it stretches out its hands in the same direction of its body as we do of ours to reach our feet. Repeated failures give experience and lead to the correction of the notions born of one sense by those derived through another; the sensations of distance and solidity are produced in the same way.

The application of this knowledge to the above mentioned experiments of the Psychic Research Society will lead to very suggestive results. If the trained adept is a person who has developed all his interior faculties, and is on the psychic plane in the full possession of his senses, the individual, who accidentally, that is, without occult training, gains the inner sight, is in the position of a helpless child—a sport of the freaks of one isolated inner sense. Such was the case with the sensitives with whom Mr. Myers and his colleagues experimented. There are instances, however, when the correction of one sense by another takes place involuntarily and accurate results are brought out. When the sensitive reads the thoughts in a man’s mind, this correction is not required, for the will of the thinker shoots the thoughts, as it were, straight into the mind of the sensitive. The introversion under notice will, moreover, be found to take place only in the instance of such images which cannot be corrected by the already acquired sense-experience of the sensitive. A difficulty may here suggest itself with regard to the names of persons or the words thought of for the sensitive’s reading. But allowance must in such cases be made for the operation of the thinker’s will, which forces the thought into the sensitive’s mind, and thereby obviates introversion. It is abundantly clear from this that the best way of studying these phenomena is when only one set of inner faculties, that of the sensitive, is in play. This takes place always when the object the sensitive has to abnormally perceive is independent of the will of any other person, as in the case of its being represented on paper.

Applying the same law to dreams, we can find the rationale of the popular superstition that facts are generally inverted in dreams. To dream of something good is generally taken to be the precursor of something evil. In the exceptional cases in which dreams have been found to be prophetic, the dreamer was either affected by another’s will or under the operation of some disturbing forces, which cannot be calculated except for each particular case.

In this connection another very important psychic phenomenon may be noticed. Instances are too numerous and too well authenticated to be amenable to dispute, in which an occurrence at a distance—for instance, the death of a person—has pictured itself to the mental vision of one interested in the occurrence. In such cases the double of the dying man appears even at a great distance, and becomes visible usually to his friend only, but instances are not rare when the double is seen by a number of persons. The former case comes within the class of cases under consideration, as the concentrated thought of the dying man is clairvoyantly seen by the friend, and the incidents correctly reproduced by the operation of the dying man’s will-energy, while the latter is the appearance of the genuine mayavirupa, and therefore not governed by the law under discussion.



Of all phenomena produced by occult agency in connection with our Society, none have been witnessed by a more extended circle of spectators, or more widely known and commented on through recent Theosophical publications, than the mysterious production of letters. The phenomenon itself has been so well described in the “Occult ‘World” and elsewhere, that it would be useless to repeat the description here. Our present purpose is more connected with the process than the phenomenon of the mysterious formation of letters. Mr. Sinnett sought for an explanation of the process, and elicited the following reply from the revered Mahatma, who corresponds with him:

“. . . . Bear in mind these letters are not written, but impressed, or precipitated, and then all mistakes corrected . . . . I have to think it over, to photograph every word and sentence carefully in my brain, before it can be repeated by precipitation. As the fixing on chemically-prepared surfaces of the images formed by the camera requires a previous arrangement within the focus of the object to be represented, for, otherwise—as often found in had photographs—the legs of the sitter might appear out of all proportion with the head, and so on—so we here to first arrange our sentences, and impress every letter to appear on paper in our minds, before it becomes fit to be read. For the present, it is all I can tell you.”

Since the above was written, the Masters have been pleased to permit the veil to be drawn aside a little more, and the modus operandi can thus be explained now more fully to the outsider.

Those having even a superficial knowledge of the science of mesmerism know how the thoughts of the mesmeriser, though silently formulated in his mind, are instantly transferred to that of the subject. It is not necessary for the operator, if he is sufficiently powerful, to be present near the subject to produce the above result. Some celebrated practitioners in this science are known to have been able to put their subjects to sleep even from a distance of several days’ journey. This known fact will serve us as a guide in comprehending the comparatively unknown subject now under discussion. The work of writing the letters in question is carried on by a sort of psychic telegraphy; the Mahatmas very rarely write their letters in the ordinary way. An electro-magnetic connection, so to say, exists on the psychic plane between a Mahatma and his chelas, one of whom acts as his amanuensis. When the Master wants a letter to be written in this way, he very often draws the attention of the chela, whom he selects for the task, by causing an astral bell (heard by so many of our Fellows and others) to be rung near him, just as the despatching telegraph office signals to the receiving office before wiring the message. The thoughts arising in the mind of the Mahatma are then clothed in words, pronounced mentally, and forced along currents in the astral light impinge on the brain of the pupil. Thence they are borne by the nerve-currents to the palms of his hands and the tips of his fingers, which rest on a piece of magnetically-prepared paper. As the thought waves are thus impressed on the tissue, materials are drawn to it from the ocean of ákas (permeating every atom of the sensuous universe) by an occult process, out of place here to describe, and permanent marks are left.

From this it is abundantly clear that the success of such writing, as above described, depends chiefly upon two conditions:—(1) The force and clearness with which the thoughts are propelled; and (2) the freedom of the receiving brain from disturbance of every description. The case with the ordinary electric telegraph is exactly the same. If, for some reason or other, the battery supplying the electric power falls below the requisite strength on any telegraph line, or there is some derangement in the receiving apparatus, the message transmitted becomes either mutilated or otherwise imperfectly legible. Inaccuracies, in fact, do very often arise, as may be gathered from what the Mahatma says in the above extract. “Bear in mind,” says he, “that these letters are not written, but impressed, or precipitated, and then all mistakes corrected.” To turn to the sources of error in the precipitation. Remembering the circumstances under which blunders arise in telegrams, we see that if a Mahatma somehow becomes exhausted, or allows his thoughts to wander during the process, or fails to command the requisite intensity in the astral currents along which his thoughts are projected, or the distracted attention of the pupil produces disturbances in his brain and nerve-centres, the success of the process is very much interfered with.

It is to be regretted that illustrations of the above general principles are not permitted to be published. Enough, however, has been disclosed to give the public a clue to many apparent mysteries in regard to precipitated letters, and to draw all earnest and sincere inquirers strongly to the path of spiritual progress, which alone can lead to the comprehension of occult phenomena.


“How Shall We Sleep?”

It appears that the opinion of Mr. Seeta Nath Ghose and of Baron Von Reichenbach are in direct conflict on the subject of this paper, the latter recommending the head of the sleeper to be northward, the former entirely condemning that position.

It is my humble opinion that both writers are right, each from his own standpoint, as I shall try to show. What is the reason that our position in sleep should be of any consequence? Because our body must be in a position at harmony with the main magnetic currents of the earth; but as these currents are not the same in all parts of the world the positions of the sleeper must, therefore, vary.

There are three main magnetic currents on our earth—viz., in the northern hemisphere, from north pole towards the equator; in the southern hemisphere, from south pole towards the equator; these two currents meeting in the torrid zone continue their combined course from east to west. So the position of the sleeper must vary according as he finds himself to the north or south of the torrid zone or within it.

In the north frigid or temperate zone, he has to lie with his head northward; in the southern, southward; in the torrid zone, eastward—in order that the magnetic current may pass through him from head to foot without disturbance, as this is the natural position for magnetization.

The following diagram may give a clearer view of the case, and thus help us to answer the second part of the question, whether and when we ought to lie on the right or the left side, on the stomach or on the back:

The able writer of “How Shall we Sleep?” shows, in his cross diagram, that he thinks the head to be entirely positive and both feet negative. I think that this is not the case, but that the right side of the head and the left foot are positive, and the left side of the head and the right foot negative, and similarly the right hand is negative and the left hand is positive.

As the north pole is positive and the left side of the head negative, the natural position in sleep for those living within the northern zones would be on the right side, head northward; and it is obvious that in the southern zones the position must be exactly the reverse. As to those who live under the tropics, lying on the stomach seems to me to be the most natural position, since the left, or negative side of the head, is turned to the north or positive current, and vice versa.

For many years I and my family have been sleeping with our heads either to the north or the west (the right position in our hemisphere, in my opinion), and we had no occasion to regret it; for from that time forward the physician has become a rare visitor in our house.

Mr. Seeta Nath Ghose says, in his interesting paper on “Medical Magnetism,” that Mandulies (metallic cells) are worn to great advantage in India on diseased parts of the body. The curative properties of these cells I have seen verified in authentic instances. When, years ago (I believe about 1852), cholera was devastating some parts of Europe, it was remarked at Munich (Bavaria) that among the thousands of its victims there was not a single coppersmith. Hence, it was recommended by the medical authorities of that town to wear disks of thin copperplate (of about 2½ inch diameter) on a string, on the pit of the stomach, and they proved to be a powerful preventive of cholera. Again, in 1867, cholera visited Odessa.

I and my whole family wore these copper disks; and while all around there were numerous cases of cholera and dysentery, not one of us was attacked. I propose that serious experiments should be made in this direction, and specially in those countries which are periodically devastated by that disease: as India, for instance. It is my conviction that one disk of copper on the stomach, and another of zinc on the spine, opposite the former, will be of still better service, the more so if the disks are joined by a thin copper chain.


In the first place it is necessary to say that the rules laid down by Garga, Markandeya and others on the above subject, refer to the inhabitants of the plains only, and not to dwellers on mountains. The rule is that on retiring a man should first lie on his right side for the period of sixteen breathings, then turn on his left for double that time, and after that he can sleep in any position. Further, that a man must not sleep on the ground, on silken or woollen cloth, under a solitary tree, where cross-roads meet, on mountains, or on the sky (whatever that may mean). Nor is he to sleep with damp clothes, wet feet, or in a naked state; and, unless an initiate, should not sleep on Kusha grass or its varieties. There are many more such rules. I may here notice that in Sanskrit the right hand or side and south are signified by the same term. So also the front and north have one and the same name. The sun is the great and chief source of life and magnetism in the solar system. Hence to the world the east is positive as the source of light and magnetism. For the same reason, to the northern hemisphere the south (the equator and not the north) is positive. Under the laws of dynamics the resultant of these two forces will be a current in the directed from S. E. to N. W. This, I think, is one of the real causes of the prevailing south-east wind. At any rate, I do not think the north pole to be positive, as there would be no snow there in such a case. The aurora cannot take place at the source of the currents, but at their close. Hence the source must be towards the equator or south. The course of life, civilization, light, and almost everything seems to be from E. to W. or S. E. to N. W. The penalty for sleeping with the head to the west is said to be anxiety of mind, while sleeping with the head to the north is considered fatal. I beg to invite the attention of the Hindus to a similar penalty of death incurred by any but an initiate (Brahman) pronouncing the sacred Pranava (Om). This does not prove that Pranava is really a mischievous bad word, but that, with incompetent men, it is fraught with danger. So also, in the case of ordinary men of the plains, there may be unknown dangers which it would not be prudent for them to risk so long as they do not know how to meet them, or so long as they are not under the guidance of men who can protect them. In short, ordinary men should move on in their beaten course, and these rules are for them only.

As an instance of the infringement of the rule the following anecdote is given:

After Ganesha (Siva’s son) was born, all the Devas (gods) came to congratulate the family and bless the child. Sani or Saturn, was the last to come, and even then he came after he had been several times inquired after. When he went to see the infant, it appeared headless! This at once created a sensation, and all the Devas were at their wits’ end. At last Saturn himself approached Mahadeva with folded hands and reminded him that it was due to his presence, and the child having been kept in a bed with its head to the north. For such was the law. Then the Devas consulted together and sent out messengers to find out who else was sleeping with the head to the north. At last they discovered an elephant in that position. Its head was immediately cut off and placed on the shoulders of Ganesha. It need not be said that Ganesha became afterwards so learned and wise that if he had not had an elephant’s head, a human head would never have been sufficient to hold all he knew. This advantage he owed to the circumstance of his sleeping with head to the north, and the blessing of the Devas. To the elephant, the same position but minus the blessing of the Devas proved absolute death.


Reading Mr. Seeta Nath Ghose’s paper on “Medical Magnetism” and having studied long ago Baron von Reichenbach’s “Researches in Magnetism,” I am sorely puzzled, inasmuch as these two authorities appear to clash with each other most completely—the one asserting “head to north never, under no circumstances,” the other “head to north ever and under all circumstances.” I have pursued the advice of the latter, not knowing of the former for many years, but have not found the effect on my health which I had hoped for, and what is of more importance, I have not found a law of certain application to humanity and bringing health to all. It seems to me on carefully reading this article that a most important point has been omitted or passed over—i.e., the position of the sleeper, whether on his face or on his back? This is most important, for a correct answer may go far to reconcile the two theories, which, be it remembered, claim both to be supported by experiment and by observation. I cannot conceive that a one-sided position is a natural one for man, and thus leave two alternatives. Is the proper position in sleep lying on the back or on the stomach? Not one word has been said as to the position in which experiments were tried on either side.

Now the one thing which seems clear in all this is, that positive should be toward negative and negative toward positive. Let us then draw a diagram and these positions will follow with these results—taking the north as positive and south as negative, east as negative and west as positive.

Position. I.—Lying on the Back.

A. Head to East .       .       . Accord in all.
B. Head to North .       .       . { Discord—Head and feet.
C. Head to South .       .       . { Accord—Head and feet.
D. Head to West .       .       . Discord in all.

Position. II.—Lying on the Stomach.

A. Head to East .       .       . Accord—Head and feet.
B. Head to North .       .       . { Discord—Hands.
Discord in all.
C. Head to South .       .       . { Accord in all.
Discord—Head and feet.
D. Head to West .       .       . Accord—Hands.

Now, from this will come some light, I think on the apparently contradictory theories, if we could ascertain (1) Which position did the renowned Garga and Markandeya contemplate as the proper position for men to sleep in? (2) In which position did those on whom Baron von Reichenbach experimented lie?

This is a most important question for all who value the gift of health, as well as for those who would be wise. In my sojourn in southern countries I have noticed that the natives of the lower classes at least always sleep on their stomachs, with their back turned to the sun, and all animals do the same, while sleeping on the back is most dangerous, at least in the sun. Is not this a guide or hint as to the true position?

Transmigration of the Life Atoms

It is said that “for three thousand years at least the ‘mummy,’ not withstanding all the chemical preparations, goes on throwing off to the last invisible atoms, which, from the hour of death, re-entering the various vortices of being, go indeed through every variety of organized life-forms. But it is not the soul, the fifth, least of all the sixth principle, but the life-atoms of the Jiva, the second principle. At the end of the 3,000 years, sometimes more, and sometimes less, after endless transmigrations, all these atoms are once more drawn together, and are made to form the new outer clothing or the body of the same monad (the real soul) which they had already clothed two or three thousand years before. Even in the worst case, that of the annihilation of the conscious personal principle, the monad or individual soul is ever the same, as are also the atoms of the lower principles, which, regenerated and renewed in this ever-flowing river of being, are magnetically drawn together owing to their affinity, and are once more reincarnated together.”

This little passage is a new instalment of occult teaching given to the public, and opens up a vast field for thought. It suggests, in the first instance, that the exoteric doctrine of the transmigration of the soul through lower forms of existence—so generally believed in by the Hindus, though incorrect as regards the soul (fifth principle)—has some basis of truth when referred to the lower principles.

It is stated further that the mummy goes on throwing off invisible atoms, which go through every variety of organized life-forms, and further on it is stated that it is the life-atoms of the Jiva, the second principle, that go through these transmigrations.

According to the esoteric teaching, the Jiva “is a form of force indestructible, and, when disconnected with one set of atoms, becoming attracted immediately by others.”

What, then, is meant by the life-atoms, and their going through endless transmigrations?

The invisible atoms of the mummy would mean the imperceptibly decaying atoms of the physical body, and the life-atoms of the Jiva would be quite distinct from the atoms of the mummy. Is it meant to imply that both the invisible atoms of the physical body, as well as the atoms of the Jiva, after going through various life-forms, return again to re-form the physical body, and the Jiva of the entity that has reached the end of its Devachanic state and is ready to be reincarnated again?

It is taught, again, that even in the worst case (the annihilation of the Personal Ego) the atoms of the lower principles are the same as in the previous birth. Here, does the term “lower principles” include the Kama rupa also, or only the lower triad of body, Jiva, and Lingasarira? It seems the Kama rupa in that particular case cannot be included, for in the instance of the annihilation of the personal soul, the Kama rupa would be in the eighth sphere.

Another question also suggests itself. The fourth principle (Kama rupa) and the lower portion of the fifth, which cannot be assimilated by the sixth, wander about as shells, and in time disperse into the elements of which they are made. Do the atoms of these principles also reunite, after going through various transmigrations, to constitute over again the fourth and the lower fifth of the next incarnation?

N. D. K.


We would, to begin with, draw attention to the closing sentence of the passage quoted above: “Such was the true occult theory of the Egyptians,” the word “true” being used there in the sense of its being the doctrine they really believed in, as distinct from both the tenets fathered upon them by some Orientalists, and that which the modern occultists may be now teaching. It does not stand to reason that, outside those occult truths that were known to, and revealed by, the great Hierophants during the final initiation, we should accept all that either the Egyptians or any other people may have regarded as true. The Priests of Isis were the only true initiates, and their occult teachings were still more veiled than those of the Chaldeans. There was the true doctrine of the Hierophants of the inner Temple; then the half-veiled Hieratic tenets of the Priest of the outer Temple; and, finally, the vulgar popular religion of the great body of the ignorant, who were allowed to reverence animals as divine. As shown correctly by Sir Gardner Wilkinson, the initiated priests taught that “dissolution is only the cause of reproduction . . . . nothing perishes which has once existed, but things which appear to be destroyed only change their natures and pass into another form.” To the present case, however, the Egyptian doctrine of atoms coincides with our own occult teachings. In the above remarks the words, “The life-atoms of the Jiva,” are taken in a strictly literal sense. Without any doubt Jiva, or Prana is quite distinct from the atoms it animates. The latter belong to the lowest or grossest state of matter—the objectively conditioned; the former, to a higher state—that state which the uninitiated, ignorant of its nature, would call the “objectively finite,” but which, to avoid any future misunderstanding, we may, perhaps, be permitted to call the subjectively eternal, though, at the same time and in one sense, the subsistent existence, however paradoxical and unscientific the term may appear.1 Life, the occultist says, is the eternal uncreated energy, and it alone represents in the infinite universe, that which the physicists have agreed to name the principle, or the law of continuity, though they apply it only to the endless development of the conditioned. But since modern science admits, through her most learned professors, that “energy has as much claim to be regarded as an objective reality as matter itself2 and as life, according to the occult doctrine, is the one energy acting, Proteus-like, under the most varied forms, the occultists have a certain right to use such phraseology. Life is ever present in the atom or matter, whether organic or inorganic—a difference that the occultists do not accept. Their doctrine is that life is as much present in the inorganic as in the organic matter: when life-energy is active in the atom, that atom is organic; when dormant or latent, then the atom is inorganic. Therefore, the expression “life-atom,” though apt in one sense to mislead the reader, is not incorrect after all, since occultists do not recognize that anything in Nature can be inorganic, and know of no “dead atoms,” whatever meaning science may give to the adjective. The law of biogenesis, as ordinarily understood, is the result of the ignorance of the man of science of occult physics. it is accepted because the man of science is unable to find the necessary means to awaken into activity the dormant life inherent in what he terms an inorganic atom; hence the fallacy that a living thing can only be produced from a living thing, as though there ever was such a thing as dead matter in Nature! At this rate, and to be consistent, a mule ought to be also classed with inorganic matter, since it is unable to reproduce itself and generate life. We dwell so much upon the above as it meets at once all future opposition to the idea that a mummy, several thousand years old, can be throwing off atoms. Nevertheless, the sentence would perhaps have gained in clearness if we had said, instead of the “life-atoms of Jiva,” the atoms “animated by dormant Jiva or life-energy.” Again, the definition of Jiva quoted above, though quite correct on the whole, might be more fully, if not more clearly, expressed. The “Jiva,” or life, principle, which animates man, beast, plant, and even a mineral, certainly is “a form of force indestructible,’’ since this force is the one life, or anima mundi, the universal living soul, and that the various modes in which objective things appear to us in Nature in their atomic aggregations, such as minerals, plants, animals, etc., are all the different forms or states in which this force manifests itself. Were it to become—we will not say absent, for this is impossible, since it is omnipresent—but for one single instant inactive, say in a stone, the particles of the latter would lose instantly their cohesive property, and disintegrate as suddenly, though the force would still remain in each of its particles, but in a dormant state. Then the continuation of the definition, which states that when this indestructible force is “disconnected with one set of atoms, it becomes attracted immediately by others,” does not imply that it abandons entirely the first set, but only that it transfers its vis viva, or living power—the energy of motion—to another set. But because it manifests itself in the next set as what is called kinetic energy, it does not follow that the first set is deprived of it altogether; for it is still in it, as potential energy, or life latent.3 This is a cardinal and basic truth of occultism, on the perfect knowledge of which depends the production of every phenomenon. Unless we admit this point, we should have to give up all the other truths of occultism. Thus what is “meant by the life-atom going through endless transmigration” is simply this: we regard and call, in our occult phraseology, those atoms that are moved by kinetic energy as “life-atoms,” while those that are for the time being passive, containing but imperceptible potential energy, we call “sleeping atoms;” regarding, at the same time, these two forms of energy as produced by one and the same force or life.

Now to the Hindu doctrine of Metempsychosis. It has a basis of truth; and, in fact, it is an axiomatic truth, but only in reference to human atoms and emanations, and that not only after a man’s death, but during the whole period of his life. The esoteric meaning of the Laws of Manu (sec. XII. 3, and XII. 54 and 55), of the verses asserting that “every act, either mental, verbal or corporeal, bears good or evil fruit (Karma),” that “the various transmigrations of men (not souls) through the highest, middle and lowest stages, are produced by their actions,” and again that “a Brahman-killer enters the body of a dog, bear, ass, camel, goat, sheep, bird, etc.,” bears no reference to the human Ego, but only to the atoms of his body, his lower triad and his fluidic emanations. It is all very well for the Brahmans to distort, in their own interest, the real meaning contained in these laws, but the words as quoted never meant what they were made to yield later on. The Brahmans applied them selfishly to themselves, whereas by “Brahman,” man’s seventh principle, his immortal monad and the essence of the personal Ego were allegorically meant. He who kills or extinguishes in himself the light of Parabrahm—i.e., severs his personal Ego from the Atman, and thus kills the future Devachanee, becomes a “Brahman-killer.” Instead of facilitating, through a virtuous life and spiritual aspirations, the union of the Buddhi and the Manas, he condemns, by his own evil acts, every atom of his lower principles to become attracted and drawn in virtue of the magnetic affinity, thus created by his passions, into the bodies of lower animals. This is the real meaning of the doctrine of Metempsychosis. It is not that such amalgamation of human particles with animal or even vegetable atoms can carry in it any idea of personal punishment per se, for of course it does not. But it is a cause, the effects of which may manifest themselves throughout succeeding re-births, unless the personality is annihilated. Otherwise, from cause to effect, every effect becoming in its turn a cause, they will run along the cycle of re-births, the once given impulse expending itself only at the threshold of Pralaya. But of this anon. Notwithstanding their esoteric meaning, even the words of the grandest and noblest of all the adepts, Gautama Buddha, are misunderstood distorted and ridiculed in the same way. The Hina-yana, the lowest form of transmigration of the Buddhist, is as little comprehended as the Maha-yana, its highest form; and, because Sakya Muni is shown to have once remarked to his Bhikkhus, while pointing out to them a broom, that “it had formerly been a novice who neglected to sweep out” the Council-room, hence was re-born as a broom (!), therefore, the wisest of all the world’s sages stands accused of idiotic superstition. Why not try and find out, before condemning, the true meaning of the figurative statement? Why should we scoff before we understand? Is or is not that which is called magnetic effluvium a something, a stuff, or a substance, invisible, and imponderable though it be? If the learned authors of “The Unseen Universe” object to light, heat and electricity being regarded merely as imponderables, and show that each of these phenomena has as much claim to be recognized as an objective reality as matter itself, our right to regard the mesmeric or magnetic fluid which emanates from man to man, or even from man to what is termed an inanimate object, is far greater. It is not enough to say that this fluid is a species of molecular energy like heat, for instance, though of much greater potency. Heat is produced whenever kinetic energy is transformed into molecular energy, we are told, and it may he thrown out by any material composed of sleeping atoms, or inorganic matter as it is called; whereas the magnetic fluid projected by a living human body is life itself. Indeed it is “life-atoms” that a man in a blind passion throws off unconsciously, though he does it quite as effectively as a mesmeriser who transfers them from himself to any object consciously and under the guidance of his will. Let any man give way to any intense feeling, such as anger, grief, etc., under or near a tree, or in direct contact with a stone, and after many thousands of years any tolerable psychometer will see the man, and perceive his feelings from one single fragment of that tree or stone that he had touched. Hold any object in your hand, and it will become impregnated with your life-atoms, indrawn and outdrawn, changed and transferred in us at every instant of our lives. Animal heat is but so many life atoms in molecular motion. It requires no adept knowledge, but simply the natural gift of a good clairvoyant subject to see them passing to and fro, from man to objects and vice versa like a bluish lambent flame. Why, then, should not a broom, made of a shrub, which grew most likely in the vicinity of the building where the lazy novice lived, a shrub, perhaps, repeatedly touched by him while in a state of anger provoked by his laziness and distaste for his duty—why should not a quantity of his life-atoms have passed into the materials of the future besom, and therein have been recognized by Buddha, owing to his superhuman (not supernatural) powers? The processes of Nature are acts of incessant borrowing and giving back. The materialistic sceptic, however, will not take anything in any other way than in a literal, dead-letter sense.

To conclude our too long answer, the “lower principles” mentioned before are the first, second and the third. They cannot include the Kama rupa, for this “rupa” belongs to the middle, not the lower principles. And, to our correspondent’s further query, “Do the atoms of these (the fourth and the fifth) also re-form, after going through various transmigrations, to constitute over again the fourth and the lower fifth of the next incarnation?” we answer, “They do.” The reason why we have tried to explain the doctrine of the “life-atoms” at such length, is precisely in connection with this last question, and with the object of throwing out one more fertile hint. We do not feel at liberty at present, however, to give any further details.


“Om” and its Practical Significance

I shall begin with a definition of Om, as given by the late Professor Theodore Goldstücker:

Om is a Sanskrit word which, on account of the mystical notions that even at an early date of Hindu civilization were connected with it, acquired much importance in the development of Hindu religion. Its original sense is that of emphatic or solemn affirmation or assent. Thus, when in the White Yajur Veda the sacrificer invites the gods to rejoice in his sacrifice, the goddess Savitri assents to his summons by saying, ‘Om’ (i.e., be it so); proceed!”

Or, when in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Prajápati, the father of gods, men and demons, asks the gods whether they have understood his instructions, he expresses his satisfaction with their affirmative reply in these words, “Om, you have fully comprehended it;” and in the same Upanishad, Pravahana answers the question of Swetaketu, as to whether his father has instructed him, by uttering the word “Om”i.e., “forsooth (I am).”

A portion of the Rig Veda called the Aitareya Brahmana, where, describing a religious ceremony at which verses from the Rig Veda, as well as songs called Gathas, were recited by the priest called Hotri, and responses given by another priest, the Adhwaryu, says: Om is the response of the Adhwaryu to the Rig Veda verses (recited by the Hotri), and likewise thatá (i.e., thus) his response to the Gathas, for Om is (the term of assent) used by the gods, whereas thatá is (the term of assent) used by men (the Rig Veda verses being, to the orthodox Hindu, of divine and the Gathas of human authorship).

In this, the original sense of the word, it is little doubtful that Om is but an older and contracted form of the common Sanskrit word evam (“thus”), which, coming from the pronominal base “a,” in some derivations changed to “e,” may have at one time occurred in the form avam, when, by the elision of the vowel following v, for which there are numerous analogies in Sanskrit, vum would become aum, and hence, according to the ordinary phonetic laws of the language, Om. This etymology of the word, however, seems to have been lost even at an early period of Sanskrit literature; for another is met with in the ancient grammarians, enabling us to account for the mysticism which many religious and theological works of ancient and mediæval India suppose to inhere in it. According to this latter etymology, Om would come from a radical av; by means of an affix man, when Om would be a curtailed form of avman or oman, and as av implies the notion of “protect, preserve, save,” Om would be a term implying “protection or salvation,” its mystical properties and its sanctity being inferred from its occurrence in the Vedic writings and in connection with sacrificial acts, such as are alluded to before.

Hence Om became the auspicious word with which the spiritual teacher had to begin and the pupil to end each lesson of his reading of the Veda. “Let this syllable,” the existing Prati-sakhya, or a grammar of the Rig Veda, enjoins, “be the head of the reading of the Veda; for alike to the teacher and the pupil it is the supreme Brahman, the gate of heaven.” And Manu ordains: “A Brahman at the beginning and end (of a lesson on the Veda) must always pronounce the syllable Om; for unless Om precede, his learning will slip away from him; and unless it follows, nothing will be long retained.”

At the time when another class of writings (the Purânas) were added to the inspired code of Hinduism, for a similar reason Om is their introductory word.

That the mysterious power which, as the foregoing quotation from the law-book of Manu shows, was attributed to this word must have been the subject of early speculation, is obvious enough. A reason assigned for it is given by Manu himself. “Brahma,” he says, “extracted from the three Vedas the letter a, the letter u, and the letter m (which combined result in Om), together with the (mysterious) words Bhuh (earth), Bhuva (sky), and Swah (heaven);” and in another verse: “These three great immutable words, preceded by the syllable Om, and (the sacred Rig Veda verse called) Gayatri, consisting of three lines, must be considered as the mouth (or entrance) of Brahman (the Veda),” or, as the commentators observe, the means of attaining final emancipation; and “The syllable Om is the supreme Brahman. (Three) regulated breathings, accompanied with the mental recitation of Om, the three mysterious words Bhuh, Bhuvah, Swah and the Gáyatri, are the highest devotion.”

“All rites ordained in the Veda, such as burnt and other sacrifices, pass away, but the syllable Om must be considered as imperishable; for it is (a symbol of) Brahman (the supreme spirit) himself, the Lord of Creation.” In these speculations Manu bears out, and is borne out by, several Upanishads. In the Katha Upanishad for instance, Yama, the god of death, in replying to a question of Nachiketas, says: “The word which all the Vedas record, which all the modes of penance proclaim, desirous of which religious students perform their duties, this word I will briefly tell thee—it is Om. This syllable means the (inferior) Brahman and the supreme (Brahman). Whoever knows this syllable obtains whatever he wishes.” And in the Praśna- Upanishad the saint Pippaláda says to Satyakâma; “The supreme and the inferior Brahman are both the word Om; hence the wise follow by this support the one or the other of the two. If he meditates upon its one letter (a) only, he is quickly born on the earth; is carried by the verses of the Rig Veda to the world of man; and, if he is devoted there to austerity, the duties of a religious student and faith, he enjoys greatness. But if he meditates in his mind on its two letters (a and u), he is elevated by the verses of the Yajur Veda to the intermediate region; comes to the world of the moon and, having enjoyed there power, returns again (to the world of man). If, however, he meditates on the supreme spirit by means of its three letters (a, u, and m) he is produced in light in the sun; as the snake is liberated from its skin, so is he liberated from sin.” According to the Mándûkya-Upanishad the nature of the soul is summarized in the three letters a, u, and m in their isolated and combined form—a being Vaiswanara, or that form of Brahman which represents the soul in its waking condition; u, Taijasa, or that form of Brahman which represents it in its dreaming state; and m, Prâjna, or that form of Brahman which represents it in its state of profound sleep (or that state in which it is temporarily united with the supreme spirit); while a, u, m combined (i.e., Om), represent the fourth or highest condition of Brahman, “which is unaccountable, in which all manifestations have ceased, which is blissful and without duality. Om therefore, is soul, and by this soul, he who knows it, enters into (the supreme) soul.” Passages like these may be considered as the key to the more enigmatic expressions used; for instance, by the author of the Yoga philosophy where, in three short sentences, he says his (the supreme lord’s) name is Pranava (i.e., Om); its muttering (should be made) and reflection on its signification; thence comes the knowledge of the transcendental spirit and the absence of the obstacles” (such as sickness, languor, doubt, etc., which obstruct the mind of an ascetic). But they indicate, at the same time, the further course which superstition took in enlarging upon the mysticism of the doctrine of the Upanishads. For, as soon as every letter of which the word Om consists was fancied to embody a separate idea, it is intelligible that other sectarian explanations were grafted on them to serve special purposes Thus, while Sankara, the great theologian and commentator on the Upanishads, is still contented with an etymological punning by means of which he transforms â into an abbreviation of âpti (pervading), since speech is pervaded by Vaiswanara; u into an abbreviation of utkartha (superiority), since Taijasa is superior to Vaiswanara; and m into an abbreviation of miti (destruction), Vaiswanara and Taijasa, at the destruction and regeneration of the world, being, as it were, absorbed into Prâjna—the Puranas make of a, a name of Vishnu; of u, a name of his consort “Sri;” and of m, a designation of their joint worshipper; or they see in a, u, m, the Triad—Brahm, Vishnu, and Siva; the first being represented by a, the second by u, and the third by m—each sect, of course, identifying the combination of these letters, or Om with their supreme deity. Thus, also, in the Bhagavad-gita, which is devoted to the worship of Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna, though it is essentially a poem of philosophical tendencies based on the doctrine of the Yoga, Krishna in one passage says of himself that he is Om; while in another passage he qualifies the latter as the supreme spirit. A common designation of the word Om—for instance, in the last-named passages of the Bhagavad-gita—is the word Pranava, which comes from a so-called radical nu, “praise,” with the prefix pra amongst other meanings implying emphasis, and, therefore, literally means “eulogium, emphatic praise.” Although Om, in its original sense as a word of solemn or emphatic assent, is, properly speaking, restricted to the Vedic literature, it deserves notice that it is now-a-days often used by the natives of India in the sense of “yes,” without, of course, any allusion to the mystic properties which are ascribed to it in the religious works. Monier Williams gives the following account of the mystic syllable Om:

“When by means of repeating the syllable Om, which originally seems to have meant ‘that’ or ‘yes,’ they had arrived at a certain degree of mental tranquillity, the question arose what was meant by this Om, and to this various answers were given according as the mind was to be led up to higher and higher objects. Thus, in one passage, we are told at first that Om is the beginning of the Veda, or as we have to deal with an Upanishad of the Shama Veda, the beginning of the Shama Veda; so that he who meditates on Om may be supposed to be meditating on the whole of the Shama Veda.

Om is the essence of the Shama Veda which, being almost entirely taken from the Rig Veda, may itself be called the essence of the Rig Veda. The Rig Veda stands for all speech, the Shama Veda for all breath or life; so that Om may be conceived again as the symbol of all speech and all life. Om thus becomes the name not only of all our mental and physical powers, but is especially that of the living principle of the pran or spirit. This is explained by the parable in the second chapter, while in the third chapter that spirit within us is identified with the spirit in the sun.

“He, therefore, who meditates on Om, meditates on the spirit in man as identical with the spirit in Nature or in the sun, and thus the lesson that is meant to be taught in the beginning of the Khandogya Upanishad is really this: that none of the Vedas, with their sacrifices and ceremonies, could ever secure the salvation of the worshippers. That is, the sacred works performed, according to the rules of the Vedas, are of no avail in the end, but meditation on Om, or that knowledge of what is meant by Om, alone can procure true salvation or true immortality.

“Thus the pupil is led on step by step to what is the highest object of the Upanishads—namely, the recognition of the self in man as identical of the highest soul.

“The lessons which are to lead up to that highest conception of the universe, both subjective and objective, are, no doubt, mixed up with much that is superstitious and absurd. Still the main object is never lost sight of. Thus, when we come to the eighth chapter, the discussion, though it begins with Om ends with the question of the origin of the world, and the final answer—namely, that Om means Akása, ether, and that ether is the origin of all things.”

Dr. Lake considers electricity as the akas, or the fifth element of the Hindus.

I shall now give my own opinion on the mystic syllable Om.

Breath consists of an inspiration termed puraka, an interval termed kumbhaka, and an expiration called rechaka. When the respiration is carried on by the right nostril, it is called the pingala; when it is carried on by the two nostrils, it is named the susumna; and when it is carried on by the left nostril, it is called ida.

The right respiration is called the solar respiration, from its heating nature; while the left respiration is termed the lunar respiration, from its cooling character. The susumna respiration is called the shambhu-nadi. During the intermediate respiration the human mind should be engaged in the contemplation of the supreme soul.

The breath takes its origin from the “indiscreet” or unreflecting form, and the mind from the breath. The organs of sense and action are under the control of the mind. The Yogis restrain their mind by the suspension of breath. Breath is the origin of all speech. The word soham is pronounced by a deep inspiration followed by expiration carried on by the nostrils. . . . . This word means, “God is in us.” There is another word called hangsha. This is pronounced by a deep expiration followed by inspiration. Its meaning is “I am in God.”

The inspiration is sakti, or strength. The expiration is siva, or death. The internal or Kumbhaka is a promoter of longevity. When the expiration is not followed by inspiration death ensues. A forcible expiration is always the sure and certain sign of approaching dissolution or death. Both these words soham and hangsha cause the waste of the animal economy, as they permit the oxygen of the inspired air to enter the lungs where the pulmonary changes of the blood occur.

According to Lavoissier, an adult Frenchman inhales daily 15,661 grains of oxygen from the atmosphere, at the rate of 10.87 grains nearly per minute.

The word Om is pronounced by the inspiration of air through the mouth and the expiration of the same by the nostrils.

When a man inspires through the mouth and expires through the nostrils, the oxygen of the inspired air does not enter the lungs where the pulmonary changes of the blood take place. The monosyllable Om thus acts as a substitute for the suspension of the breath.

The waste of the body is proportionate to the quantity of oxygen taken into the system by the respiration. The waste of a man who breathes quickly is greater than that of one who breathes slowly. While tranquillity of mind produces slow breathing, and causes the retardation of the bodily waste, the tranquil respiration has a tendency to produce calmness of mind. The Yogis attain to Nirvana by suspending or holding the breath. The Vedantists obtain moksha, or emancipation of the soul, by holding the mind (mental abstraction). Thus Om is the process of separating the soul from the body. It is the product of the gasping breath which precedes the dissolution of our body. The ancient Hindus utilized the gasping breath of the dying man by discovering the syllable Om.

The syllable Om protects man from premature decay and death, preserves him from worldly temptations, and saves him from re-birth. It causes the union of the human soul to the supreme soul. Om has the property of shortening the length of respiration.

Siva is made to say in a work on “Sharodaya” (an excellent treatise on respiration) that the normal length of the expiration is 9 inches. During meals and speaking the length of the expiration becomes 13.5 inches. In ordinary walking the expiration is lengthened to 18 inches. Running lengthens the expiration to 25.5 inches.

In sexual intercourse the extent of respiration becomes 48.75 inches. During sleep the respiration becomes 75 inches long. As sleep causes a great waste of the body and invites disease, premature decay and death, the Yogi tries to abstain from it. He lives upon the following dietary:—rice, 6 ounces troy; milk, 12 ounces troy. He consumes daily: carbon, 156.2 grains; nitrogen, 63.8 grains.

Under this diet he is ever watchful, and spends his time in the contemplation of Om. From the small quantity of nitrogen contained in his diet he is free from anger. The Yogi next subdues his carnal desire or sexual appetite. He diminishes day by day his food until it reaches the minimum quantity on which existence is maintained. He passes his life in prayer and meditation. He seeks retirement. He lives in his little cell; his couch is the skin of tiger or stag; he regards gold, silver, and all precious stones as rubbish. He abstains from flesh, fish, and wine. He never touches salt, and lives entirely on fruits and roots. I saw a female mendicant who lived upon a seer of potatoes and a small quantity of tamarind pulp daily. This woman reduced herself to a skeleton. She led a pure, chaste life, and spent her time in the mental recitation of Om. One seer of potatoes contains 3,600 grains of solid residue, which is exactly 7-½ ounces troy.

The solid residue of one seer of potatoes consists of the following ultimate ingredients:

Carbon           .           .           .           .           . 1587.6 grains
Hydrogen       .           .           .           .           . 208.8       ”
Nitrogen         .           .           .           .           . 43.2       ”
Oxygen            .           .           .           .           . 1580.4       ”
Salts      .           .           .           .           .           . 180.0       ”

I saw a Brahman (Brahmachari) who consumed daily one seer of milk, and took no other food.

Analysis of One Seer of Cow’s Milk by Boussingault.

Water           .           .           .           .           . 12539.520 grains
Carbon         .           .           .           .           . 1,005.408       ”
Hydrogen     .           .           .           .           . 164.736       ”
Nitrogen       .           .           .           .           . 74.880       ”
Oxygen          .           .           .           .           . 525.456       ”
Salts    .           .           .           .           .           . 90.000      ”

Now, one seer of cow’s milk requires for combustion within the animal economy 3278.88 grains of oxygen. The Brahmachari inhaled 2.27 grains of oxygen per minute. This Brahmachari spent his life in the contemplation of Om, and led a life of continence. The French adult, who is a fair specimen of well-developed sensuality, inhaled from the atmosphere 10.87 grains of oxygen every minute of his existence.

A retired, abstemious, and austere life is essentially necessary for the pronunciation of Om, which promotes the love of rigid virtue and a contempt of impermanent sensuality. Siva says “He who is free from lust, anger, covetousness and ignorance is qualified to obtain salvation, or moksha,” or the Nirvana of the Buddhists. The solid residue of one seer of cow’s milk is 1860.48 grains. “In 1784 a student of physic at Edinburgh confined himself for a long space of time to a pint of milk and half a pound of white bread.”

The diet of this student contained 1487.5 grains of carbon and 80.1875 grains of nitrogen. This food required 4,305 grains of oxygen for the complete combustion of its elements. He inspired 2.92 grains of oxygen per minute. In this instance the intense mental culture diminished the quantity of oxygen inspired from the atmosphere. The early Christian hermits, with a view to extinguish carnal desire and overcome sleep, lived upon a daily allowance of 12 ounces of bread and water. They daily consumed 4063.084 grains of oxygen. They inhaled oxygen at the rate of 2.8215 grains per minute.

According to M. Andral, the great French physiologist, a French boy 10 years old, before the sexual appetite is developed, exhales 1852.8 grains of carbon in the twenty-four hours. He who wishes to curb his lust should consume 1852.8 grains of carbon in his daily diet.

Now, 6,500 grains of household bread contain 1852 grains of carbon, according to Dr. Edward Smith. This quantity of bread is equal to 14 ounces avoirdupois and 375 grains, but the early Christian hermits who lived upon 12 oz. of bread (avoirdupois consumed daily 1496.25 grains of carbon. This quantity of carbon was less than that which the French boy consumed daily by 356.55 grains. The French boy consumed 1852.8 grains of carbon in his diet, but the Hindu female mendicant, who led a life of continence, consumed in her daily ration of potatoes 1587.6 grains of carbon. Hence it is evident that the French boy consumed 265.2 grains of carbon more than what was consumed by the female Hindu Yogi. There lived in Brindavana a Sannyasi, who died at the age of 109 years, and who subsisted for forty years upon the daily diet of four chuttacks of penda and four chuttacks of milk. His diet contained 1,980 grains of carbon and 90.72 grains of nitrogen. Abstemiousness shortens the length of respiration, diminishes the waste of the body, promotes longevity, and engenders purity of heart. Abstemiousness cures vertigo, cephalalgia, tendency to apoplexy, dyspuœa, gout, old ulcers, impetigo, scrofula, herpes, and various other maladies.

Cornaro, an Italian nobleman, who was given up by all his physicians, regained health by living upon 12 ounces of bread and 15 ounces of water, and lived to a great age.

He consumed less than an ounce of flesh-formers in his diet. According to Edward Smith 5401.2 grains of bread contain 1 ounce of flesh-formers.

He who wishes to lead a life of chastity, honesty, meekness, and mercy, should consume daily one ounce of flesh-formers in his diet. As an ounce of nitrogenous matter contains 70 grains of nitrogen, one should take such food as yields only 70 grains of azote.

Murder, theft, robbery, cruelty, covetousness, lust, slander, anger, voluptuousness, revenge, lying, prostitution, and envy are sins which arise from a consumption of a large quantity of aliments containing a higher percentage of azote.

He who intends to be free from every earthly thought, desire and passion should abstain from fish, flesh, woman, and wine, and live upon the most innocent food.

The following table shows approximately the quantities of various aliments furnishing 70 grains of nitrogen:

Wheat dried in vacuo    .           .           . 3181.80 grains
Oats           .           .           .           .           . 3181.81       ”
Barley        .           .           .           .           . 3465.34       ”
Indian corn          .           .           .           . 3500       ”
Rye dried              .           .           .           . 4117.64       ”
Rice dried            .           .           .           . 5036       ”
Milk dried            .           .           .           . 1750       ”
Peas dried             .           .           .           . 1666.6       ”
White haricots dried      .           .           . 1627.67       ”
Horse beans dried           .           .           . 1272.72       ”
Cabbage dried     .           .           .           . 1891.89       ”
Carrots dried       .           .           .           . 2916.66       ”
Jerusalem artichokes      .           .           . 4375       ”
Turnips dried       .           .           .           . 3181.81       ”
Bread         .           .           .           .           . 5401.2       ”
Locust beans        .           .           .           . 6110       ”
Figs            .           .           .           .           . 7172.13       ”
Cow’s milk fresh             .           .           . 1346.2       ”

Abstemiousness begets suspension of breath. From the suspension of breath originates tranquillity of mind, which engenders supersensuous knowledge. From supersensuous knowledge originates ecstasy which is the Samadhi of the ancient Hindu sages.

Instead of walking and running, which lengthen the respiration, the devotees of Om should practise the two tranquil postures termed the padmasana and siddhasana, described in my mystic tract called “The Yoga Philosophy.” According to Siva the normal length of expiration is 9 inches. He says that one can subdue his lust and desire by shortening his expiration to 8.25 inches, whether by the inaudible pronunciation of Om or by the suspension of breath (Pranayama); that one can enjoy ecstasy by diminishing the length of his expiration to 7.50 inches.

One acquires the power of writing poetry by reducing his expiration to 6.75 inches.

When one can reduce his expiration to 6 inches long he acquires the power of foretelling future events. When one reduces the length of his expiration to 5.25 inches he is blessed with the divine eye. He sees what is occurring in the distant worlds.

When the inaudible pronunciation of Om reduces the length of the expiration to 4.50 inches it enables its votary to travel to aerial regions. When the length of expiration becomes 3.75 inches, the votary of Om travels in the twinkling of an eye through the whole world.

When by the inaudible muttering of Om a man reduces his expiration to 3 inches, he acquires ashta Siddhis or consummations (or superhuman powers). When the expiration is reduced to 2.25 inches, the votary of Om can acquire the nine precious jewels of the world (Nava nidhi). Such a man can attract the wealth of the world to him.1 When the expiration becomes 1.50 inches long from the above practice, he sees the celestial sphere where the Supreme Soul resides. When the inaudible pronunciation of Om reduces the length of expiration to .75 inch, the votary becomes deified and casts no shadow.

Om Amitaya! measure not with words
The immeasurable; nor sink the string of thought
Into the Fathomless! Who asks doth err;
Who answers errs. Say nought!”

0m mani padma hum. Om the jewel in the lotus.”

By the muttering of the above formula the Great Buddha freed himself from selfishness, false faith, doubt, hatred, lust, self-praise, error, pride, and attained to Nirvana.

“And how man hath no fate except past deeds,
No Hell but what he makes, no Heaven too high
For those to reach whose passions sleeps subdued.”

According to Siva a man acquires Nirvana when his breathing becomes internal and does not come out of the nostrils. When the breathing becomes internal—that is, when it is contained within the nostrils, the Yogi is free from fainting, hunger, thirst, languor, disease and death. He becomes a divine being, he feels not when he is brought into contact with fire; no air can dry him, no water can putrefy him, no poisonous serpent can inflict a mortal wound. His body exhales fragrant odours, and can bear the abstinence from air, food, and drink.

When the breathing becomes internal, the Yogi is incapable of committing any sin in deed, thought, and speech, and thereby inherits the Kingdom of Heaven, which is open to sinless souls.



The “Elixir of Life”

1. A Chela is the pupil and disciple of an initiated Guru or Master.—ED.

2. This is not to be taken as meaning that such persons are thoroughly destitute of some one or several of the seven principles; a man born without an arm has still its ethereal counterpart; but that they are so latent that they cannot be developed, and consequently are to be considered as non-existing.—ED. Theos.

3. Dhatu—the seven principal substances of the human body—chyle, flesh, blood, fat, bones, marrow, semen.

4. Col. Olcott has epigrammatically explained the creative or rather the re-creative power of the Will, in his “Buddhist Catechism.” He there shows—of course, speaking on behalf of the Southern Buddhists—that this Will to live, if not extinguished in the present life, leaps over the chasm of bodily death, and recombines the Skandhas, or groups of qualities that made up the individual into a new personality. Man is, therefore, reborn as the result of his own unsatisfied yearning for objective existence. Col. Olcott puts it in this way:

Q. 123. . . . What is that, in man, which gives him the impression of having a permanent individuality?
A. Tanha, or the unsatisfied desire for existence. The being having done that for which he must be rewarded or punished in future, and having Tanha, will have a rebirth through the influence of Karma.
Q. 124. What is it that is reborn?
A. A new aggregation of Skandhas, or individuality, caused by the last yearning of the dying person.
Q. 128. To what cause must we attribute the differences in the combination of the Five Skandhas has which makes every individual different from every other individual?
A. To the Karma of the individual in the next preceding birth.
Q. 129. What is the force or energy that is at work, under the guidance of Karma, to produce the new being?
A. Tanha—the “Will to Live.”

5. On page 151 of Mr. Sinnett’s “Occult World,” the author’s much abused, and still more doubted correspondent assures him that none yet of his “degree are like the stern hero of Bulwer’s” Zanoni . . . “the heartless morally dried up mummies some would fancy us to be” . . . and adds that few of them “would care to play the part in life of a desiccated pansy between the leaves of a volume of solemn poetry.” But our adept omits saying that one or two degrees higher, and he will have to submit for a period of years to such a mummifying process unless, indeed, he would voluntarily give up a life-long labour and—Die.—ED.

6. In other words, the thought tends to provoke the deed.—G.M.

7. We use the word in the plural, reminding the reader that, according to our doctrine, man is septenary.—G. M.

8. Col. Olcott clearly and succinctly explains the Buddhistic doctrine of Merit or Karma, in his “Buddhist Catechism” (Question 83).—G.M.

9. The stern prohibition to the Jews to serve “their gods upon the high mountains and upon the hills” is traced back to the unwillingness of their ancient elders to allow people in most cases unfit for adeptship to choose a life of celibacy and asceticism, or in other words, to pursue adeptship. This prohibition had an esoteric meaning before it became the prohibition, incomprehensible in its dead-letter sense: for it is not India alone whose sons accorded divine honours to the Wise Ones, but all nations regarded their adepts and initiates as divine.—G.M.

10. He is in a state similar to the physical state of a fœtus before birth into the world.—G. M.

11. In this connection we may as well show what modern science, and especially physiology has to say as to the power of the human will. “The force of will is a potent element in determining longevity. This single point must he granted without argument, that of two men every way alike and similarly circumstanced, the one who has the greater courage and grit will be longer-lived. One does not need to practise medicine long to learn that men die who might just as well live if they resolved to live, and that myriads who are invalids could become strong if they had the native or acquired will to vow they would do so. Those who have no other quality favourable to life, whose bodily organs are nearly all diseased, to whom each day is a day of pain, who are beset by life-shortening influences, yet do live by will alone.”—Dr George M. Beard.

Ancient Opinions Upon Psychic Bodies

1. “I am afraid,” says Thomas Taylor in his Introduction to the Phædo, “there are scarcely any at the present day who know that it is one thing for the soul to be separated from the body, and another for the body to be separated from the soul, and that the former is by no means a necessary consequence of the latter.”

2. The allusion here is to those beings of the several kingdoms of the elements which we Theosophists, following after the Kabalists, have called the “Elementals.” They never become men.—ED. Theos.

3. This is the Hindu theory of nearly every one of the Aryan philosophies.—ED. Theos.

Shamanism and Witchcraft Amongst the Kolarian Tribes

1Tiklis is a circular piece of gilt paper which is stuck on between the eyebrows of the women of the Province as ornament.

2. This is the process by which the bhagat mesmerizes himself.

The Brahmanical Thread

1Danda and Sanyama are synonymous terms—A. S.

The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac

1. Virgo-Scorpio, when none but the initiates knew there were twelve signs. Virgo-Scorpio was then followed for the profane by Sagittarius. At the middle or junction-point where now stands Libra and at the sign now called Virgo, two mystical signs were inserted which remained unintelligible to the profane.—ED. Theos.

2. This constellation was never called Crocodile by the ancient Western astronomers, who described it as a horned goat and called it so—Capricornus.—ED. Theos.

3. Works on Incantation and Magic.

4. Example, “Rishabhasya—Chandasam Rishabhasya Pradhanasya Pranavasya.

5. In its lowest or most material state, as the life-principle which animates the material bodies of the animal and vegetable worlds, etc.—ED. Theos.

6. Nevertheless it is a true one. The Jiv-atma in the Microcosm (man) is the same spiritual essence which animates the Macrocosm (universe), the differentiation, or specific difference between the two Jivatmas presenting itself but in the two states or conditions of the same and one Force. Hence, “this son of Paramátma” is an eternal correlation of the Father-Cause. Purusha manifesting himself as Brahmá of the “golden egg” and becoming Viradja—the universe. We are “all born of Aditi from the water” (Hymns of the Maruts, X. 63, 2), and “Being was born from not-being” (Rig-Veda, Mandala I, Sukta 166).—ED. Theos.

7Parásakti:—Literally the great or supreme force or power. It means and includes the powers of light and heat.

Gnánasakti:—Literally the power of intellect or the power of real wisdom or knowledge. It has two aspects.

I. The following are some of its manifestations when placed under the influence or control of material conditions.

(a) The power of the mind in interpreting our sensations. (b) Its power in recalling past ideas (memory) and raising future expectation. (c) Its power as exhibited in what are called by modern psychologists “the laws of association,” which enables it to form persisting connections between various groups of sensations and possibilities of sensations, and thus generate the notion or idea of an external object. (d) Its power in connecting our ideas together by the mysterious link of memory, and thus generating the notion of self or individuality.

II. The following are some of its manifestations when liberated from the bonds of matter:

(a) Clairvoyance. (b) Pyschometry.

Itchásakti:—Literally the power of the will. Its most ordinary manifestation is the generation of certain nerve currents which set in motion such muscles as are required for the accomplishment of the desired object.

Kriyásakti:—The mysterious power of thought which enables it to produce external, perceptible, phenomenal results by its own inherent energy. The ancients held that any idea will manifest itself externally if one’s attention is deeply concentrated upon it. Similarly an intense volition will be followed by the desired result.

A Yogi generally performs his wonders by means of Itchásakti and Kriyásakti.

Kundalinisakti:—Literally the power or force which moves in a serpentine or curved path. It is the universal life-principle which everywhere manifests itself in Nature. This force includes in itself the two great forces of attraction and repulsion. Electricity and magnetism are but manifestations of it. This is the power or force which brings about that “continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations” which is the essence of life according to Herbert Spencer, and that “continuous adjustment of external relations to internal relations” which is the basis of transmigration of souls or punarjanmam (re-birth) according to the doctrines of the ancient Hindu philosophers.

A Yogi must thoroughly subjugate this power or force before he can attain moksham. This force is, in fact, the great serpent of the Bible.

Matrikásakti:—Literally the force or power of letters or speech or music. The whole of the ancient Mantra Shastra has this force or power in all its manifestations for its subject-matter. The power of The Word which Jesus Christ speaks of is a manifestation of this Sakti. The influence of its music is one of its ordinary manifestations. The power of the mirific ineffable name is the crown of this Sakti.

Modern science has but partly investigated the first, second and fifth of the forces or powers above named, but it is altogether in the dark as regards the remaining powers.

8. Even the very name of Kanya (Virgin) shows how all the ancient esoteric systems agreed in all their fundamental doctrines. The Kabalists and the Hermetic philosophers call the Astral Light the “heavenly or celestial Virgin.” The Astral Light in its unity is the 7th. Hence the seven principles diffused in every unity or the 6 and one—two triangles and a crown.—ED. Theos.

9. As the Infinite differs from the Finite and the Unconditioned from the Conditioned.—ED. Theos.

10. 36 is three times 12, or 9 Tetraktis, or 12 Triads, the most sacred number in the Kabalistic and Pythagorean numerals.— ED. Theos.

11. The five-pointed star or pentagram represented the five limbs of man.— ED. Theos.

12. The nine Kabalistic Sephiroths emanated from Sephira the 10th and the head Sephiroth are identical. Three trinities or triads with their emanative principle form the Pythagorean mystic Decad, the sum of all which represents the whole Kosmos.—ED. Theos.

The Sishal and Bhukailas Yogis

1. The above particulars of this holy man have been obtained on unexceptionable testimony.—ED. T. B. P.

True and False Personality

1. Of the higher religious teachings of Mohammedanism I know next to nothing, and therefore cannot say if it should be excepted from the statement.

2. The “great work,” so often mentioned by the Hermetic philosophers, and which is exactly typified by the operation of alchemy, the conversion of the base metals to gold, is now well understood to refer to the analogous spiritual conversion. There is also good reason to believe that the material process was a real one.

3. A person may have won his immortal life, and remained the same inner self he was on earth, through eternity; but this does not imply necessarily that he must either remain the Mr. Smith or Brown he was on earth, or lose his individuality.”—Isis Unveiled, vol. 1. p. 316.

Zoroastrianism on the Septenary Constitution of Man

1. Modern science also teaches that certain characteristics of features indicate the possession of certain qualities in a man. The whole science of physiognomy is founded on it. One can predict the disposition of a man from his features,—i.e., the features develop in accordance with the idiosyncrasies, qualities and vices, knowledge or the ignorance of man.

2. Our Brother has but to look into the oldest sacred hooks of China—namely, the YI KING, or Book of Changes (translated by James Legge) written 1,200 B.C., to find that same Septenary division of man mentioned in that system of Divination. Zhing, which is translated correctly enough “essence,” is the more subtle and pure part of matter—the grosser form of the elementary ether; Khi, or “spirit,” is the breath, still material but purer than the zhing, and is made of’ the finer and more active form of ether. In the hwun, or soul (animus) the Khi predominates and the zhing (or zing) in the pho or animal soul. At death the hwun (or spiritual soul) wanders away, ascending, and the pho (the root of the Tibetan word Pho-hat) descends and is changed into a ghostly shade (the shell). Dr. Medhurst thinks that “the Kwei Shans” (see “Theology of the Chinese,” pp. 10-12) are “the expanding and contracting principles of human life!” The Kwei Shans are brought about by the dissolution of the human frame—and consist of the expanding and ascending Shan which rambles about in space, and of the contracted and shrivelled Kwei, which reverts to earth and nonentity. Therefore, the Kwei is the physical body; the Shan is the vital principle the Kwei Shan the linga-sariram, or the vital soul; Zhing the fourth principle or Kama Rupa, the essence of will; pho, the animal soul; Khi, the spiritual soul; and Hwun the pure spirit—the seven principles of our occult doctrine!—ED. Theos.

Brahmanism on the Sevenfold Principle in Man

1. The very title of the present chief of the esoteric Himalayan Brotherhood.—ED. Theos.

2. A kind of demons—devil.

3. And so would the Christian padris. But they would never admit that their “fallen angels” were borrowed from the Rakshasas; that their “devil” is the illegitimate son of Dewel, the Sinhalese female demon; or that the “war in heaven” of the Apocalypse—the foundation of the Christian dogma of the “Fallen Angels” was copied from the Hindu story about Siva hurling the Tarakásura who rebelled against the gods into Andhahkára, the abode of Darkness, according to Brahmanical, Shastras.

4. Not necessarily. (See Appendix, Note II.) It is generally held by Occultists that Sanskrit has been spoken in Java and adjacent islands from remote antiquity—ED. Theos.

5. A locality which is spoken of to this day by the Tibetans, and called by them “Scham-bha-la,” the Happy Land. (See Appendix, Note III.)

6. To comprehend this passage fully, the reader must turn to vol. 1. pp. 589-594 of “Isis Unveiled.”

7. Very true. But who would be allowed to give out the “real esoteric one”?—ED. Theos.

8. The astral body, so called.

9. The Tibetan esoteric Buddhist doctrine teaches that Prakriti is cosmic matter, out of which all visible forms are produced; and Akasa, that same cosmic matter, but still more subjective—its spirit, as it were. Prakriti being the body or substance, and Akasi Sakti its soul or energy.

10. Or, in other words, “Prakriti, Swabhavat, or Akasa, is SPACE, as the Tibetans have it; Space filled with whatsoever substance or no substance at all—i.e., with substance so imperceptible as to be only metaphysically conceivable. Brahman, then, would be the germ thrown into the soil of that field, and Sakti, that mysterious energy or force which develops it, and which is called by the Buddhist Arahat of Tibet, FO HAT. That which we call form (rupa) is not different from that which we call space (sunyata). . . . . Space is not different from form. Form is the same as space; space is the same as form. And so with the other skandhas, whether vedana, or sanjna, or sanskara, or vijnana, they are each the same as their opposite.” . . . . (Book of Sin-king, or the “Heart Sutra.” Chinese translation of the “Maha-Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya-Sutra,” chapter on the “Avalokiteshwara,” or the manifested Buddha.) So that the Aryan and Tibetan or Arhat doctrines agree perfectly in substance, differing but in names given and the way of putting it.

11. True—from the standpoint of Aryan Exotericism and the Upanishads, not quite so in the case of the Arahat or Tibetan esoteric doctrine; and it is only on this one solitary point that the two teachings disagree, as far as we know. The difference is very trifling, though, resting as it does solely upon the two various methods of viewing the one and the same thing from two different aspects. (See Appendix, Note IV.)

12. This is also sound Buddhist philosophy, the transformation in question being known as the change of the skandhas.—ED. Theos.

13. In the Aryan doctrine, which blends Brahmam, Sakti, and Prakriti in one, it is the fourth principle; then, in the Buddhist esotericisms the second in combination with the first.

14. According to the Buddhists, in Akasa lies that eternal, potential energy whose function it is to evolve all visible things out of itself — ED. Theos.

15. It was never so considered, as we have shown it. But as the “Fragments” are written in English, a language lacking such an abundance of metaphysical terms to express ever minute change of form, substance and state as are found in the Sanskrit, it was deemed useless to confuse the Western reader, untrained in the methods of Eastern expression, more than is necessary, with a too nice distinctions of proper technical terms. As “Prakriti in its primary state is Akasa,” and Sakti “is an attribute AKASA,” it becomes evident that for the uninitiated it is all one. Indeed, to speak of the “union of Brahmam and Prakriti” instead of “Brahmam and Sakti” is no worse than for a theist to write that that “man has come into existence by the combination of spirit and matter,” whereas, his word, framed in an orthodox shape, ought to read “man as a living soul was created by the power (or breath) of God over matter.”

16. That is to say, the Aryan Akasa is another word for Buddhist SPACE (in its metaphysical meaning).—ED. Theos.

17. The highest adept.

18. In the words of Agatha in the “Maha-pari-Nirvana Sutra,”

We reach a condition of rest
Beyond the limit of any human knowledge”—ED. Theos.

19. It is especially on this point that the Aryan and Arahat doctrines quite agree. The teaching and argument that follow are in every respect those of the Buddhist Himalayan Brotherhood.— ED. Theos.

20. We share entirely in this idea.—ED. Theos.

The Septenary Principle in Esotericism

1. The fact that Manu himself is made to declare that he was created by Viraj and then produced the ten Prajapatis, who again produced seven Manus, who in their turn gave birth to seven other Manus (Manu, 1. 33-36), relates to other still earlier mysteries, and is at the same time a blind with regard to the doctrine of the Septenary chain.

2. See “Babylonia,” by George Smith, p. 36. Here again, as with the Manus and 10 Prajapatis and the 10 Sephiroths in the Book of Numbersthey dwindle down to seven!

3Upa-ni-shad means, according to Brahminical authority, “to conquer ignorance by revealing the secret spiritual knowledge.” According to Monier Williams, the title is derived from the root sad with the prepositions upa and ni, and implies “something mystical that underlies or is beneath the surface.”

4. This Karana-sarira is often mistaken by the uninitiated for Linga-sarira, and since it is described as the inner rudimentary or latent embryo of the body, confounded with it. But the Occultists regard it as the life (body) or Jiv, which disappears at death is withdrawn—leaving the 1st and 3rd principles to disintegrate and return to their elements.

Personal and Impersonal God

1. See Tyndall’s Belfast Address.—S. R.

2. The power or the capacity that gives rise to perception.

Prakriti and Purusha


2Jagrata—waking state, or a condition of external perception.

3Swapna—dreamy state, or a condition of clairvoyance in the astral plane.

4Sushupti—a state of extasis; and Avastas—states or conditions of Pragna.

5Vyswanara—the magnetic fire that pervades the manifested solar system—the roost objective aspect of the ONE LIFE.

6Hiranyagarbha—the one life as manifested in the plane of astral Light.

7. Sutratma—the Eternal germ of the manifested universe existing in the field of Mulaprakriti.

8Adishtatha—that which inheres in another principle—the active agent working in Prakriti.

9. Everything in the universe is Brahma.

Some Inquiries Suggested by Mr. Sinnett’s “Esoteric Buddhism”

1. Needless to remind AN ENGLISH F. T. S. that what is said here, applies only to secrets the nature of which when revealed will not be turned into a weapon against humanity in general, or its units—men. Secrets of such class could not be given to any one but a regular chela of many years’ standing and during his successive initiations; mankind as a whole has first to come of age, to reach its majority, which will happen but toward the beginning of its sixth race—before such mysteries can be safely revealed to it. The vril is not altogether a fiction, as some chelas and even “lay” chelas know.

2. The figures are given from the mathematical calculations of exoteric Western astronomy. Esoteric astronomy may prove them false some day.

3. There is an interesting story in the Puranas relating to this subject. The Devas, it would appear, asked the great Rishi Vasishta to bring the sun into Satya Loka. The Rishi requested the Sun-god to do so. The Sun-god replied that all the worlds would be destroyed if he were to leave his place. The Rishi then offered to place his red-coloured cloth (Kashay Vastram) in the place of the sun’s disk, and did so. The visible body of the sun is this robe of Vasishta, it would seem.

4. If the “English F. T. S.” would take the trouble of consulting p. 11 of the “Magia Adamica” of Eugenius Philalethes, his learned compatriot, he would find therein the difference between a visible and an invisible planet its clearly hinted at as it was safe to do at a time when the iron claw of orthodoxy had the power as well as disposition to tear the flesh from heretic bones. “The earth is invisible,” says he and which is more, the eye of man never saw the earth, nor can it be seen without art. To make this element visible is the greatest secret its magic. . . . As for this feculent, gross body upon which we walk, it is a compost, and no earth but it hath earth in it . . . in a word, all the elements are visible but one, namely, the earth: and when thou hast attained to so much perfection as to know why God hath placed the earth in abscondito, thou hast an excellent figure whereby to know God himself, and how he is visible, how invisible.” The italics are the author’s, it being the custom of the Alchemists to emphasize those words which had a double meaning in their code. Here “God himself” visible and invisible, relates to their lapis philosophorum—Nature’s seventh principle.

5. Verily, “alsolute accuracy in the solution of this problem (of distances between the heavenly bodies and the earth) is simply out of the question.”

6. The above diagram represents a logical section of the scheme of evolution, and not the evolutionary history of a unit of consciousness.

7. This is not to be construed to mean that 12,000 years hence there will be yet any man of the 6th Race, or that the 5th will be submerged. The figures are given simply for the sake of a better comparison with the present objection in the case of the Greeks and Atlantis.

8. The position recently taken up by Mr. Gerald Massey in Light that the story of Atlantis is not a geological event but an ancient astronomical myth, is rather imprudent. Mr. Massey, notwithstanding his rare intuitional faculties and great learning, is one of those writers in whom the intensity of research bent into one direction has biassed his otherwise clear understanding. Because Hercules is now a constellation it does not follow that there never was a hero of this name. Because the Noachian Universal Deluge is now proved a fiction based upon geological and geographical ignorance, it does not, therefore, appear that there were not many local deluges in prehistoric ages. The ancients connected every terrestrial event with the celestial bodies. They traced the history of their great deified heroes and memorialized it in stellar configurations as often as they personified pure myths, anthropomorphizing objects in Nature. One has to learn the difference between the two modes before attempting to classify them under one nomenclature. An earthquake has just engulfed over 80,000 people (87,903) in Sunda Straits. These were mostly Malays, savages with whom but few had relations, and the dire event will be soon forgotten. Had a portion of Great Britain been thus swept away instead, the whole world would have been in commotion, and yet, a few thousand years hence, even such an event would have passed out of man’s memory; and a future Gerald Massey might be found speculating upon the astronomical character and signification of the Isles of Wight, Jersey, or Man, arguing, perhaps, that this latter island had not contained a real living race of men but “belonged to astronomical mythology,” was a “Man submerged in celestial waters.” If the legend of the lost Atlantis is only “like those of Airyana-Vaêjo and Jambu-dvipa,” it is terrestrial enough, and therefore “the mythological origin of the Deluge legend” is so far an open question. We claim that it is not “indubitably demonstrated,” however clever the theoretical demonstration.

9. Max Müller’s “History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature.”

10. And how one-sided and biassed most of the Western Orientalists are may be seen by reading carefully “The History of Indian Literature,” by Albrecht Weber—a Sanskrit scholiast classed with the highest authorities. The incessant harping upon the one special string of Christianity, and the ill-concealed efforts to pass it off as the key-note of all other religions, is painfully pre-eminent in his work. Christian influences are shown to have affected not only the growth of Buddhism and Krishna worship, but even that of the Siva-cult and its legends; it is openly stated that “it is not at all a far-fetched hypothesis that they have reference to scattered Christian missionaries!” The eminent Orientalist evidently forgets that, notwithstanding his efforts, none of the Vedic, Sutra or Buddhist periods can be possibly crammed into this Christian period—their universal tank of all ancient creeds, and of which some Orientalists would fain make a poor-house for all decayed archaic religions and philosophy. Even Tibet, in his opinion, has not escaped “Western influence.” Let us hope to the contrary. It can be proved that Buddhist missionaries were as numerous in Palestine, Alexandria, Persia, and even Greece, two centuries before the Christian era, as the Padris are now in Asia. That the Gnostic doctrines (as he is obliged to confess) are permeated with Buddhism. Basilides, Valentinian, Bardesanes, and especially Manes were simply heretical Buddhists, “the formula of abjuration of these doctrines in the case of the latter, specifying expressly Buddha (Bodda) by name.”

11. Properly speaking, these ought to be called “Geological Races,” so as to be easily distinguished from their subsequent evolutions—the root-races. The Occult doctrine has nothing to do with the Biblical division of Shem, Ham and Japhet, and admires, without accepting it, the latest Huxleyan physiological division of the human races into their quintuple groups of Australioids, Negroids, Mongoloids, Xanthechroics, and the fifth variety of Melanochroics. Yet it says that the triple division of the blundering Jews is closer to the truth, it knows but of three entirely distinct primeval races whose evolution, formation and development went pari passu and on parallel lines with the evolution, formation, and development of three geological strata; namely, the BLACK, the RED-YELLOW, and the BROWN-WHITE RACES.

12. Behold Moses saying that it requires earth and water to make a living man.

13. However, it will be shown elsewhere that General Cunningham’s latest conclusions about the date of Buddha’s death are not all supported by the inscriptions newly discovered.—T. SUBBA ROW.

14. “The History of Indian Literature,” Trübner’s Series, 1882, p. 202.

15. Op. cit., p. 203.

16. Dr. Weber is not probably aware of the fact that this distinguished astronomer’s name was simply Maya; the prefix “Asura” was often added to it by ancient Hindu writers to show that he was a Rakshasa. In the opinion of the Brahmans he was an “Atlantean” and one of the greatest astronomers and occultists of the lost Atlantis.

17. Further on, Prof. Weber indulges in the following piece of chronological sleight of hand. In his arduous endeavour “to determine accurately” the place in history of “the Romantic Legend of Sakya Buddha” (translation by Beale), he thinks “the special points of relation here found to Christian legends are very striking. The question which party was the borrower Deals properly leaves undetermined. Yet in all likelihood (! !) we have here simply a similar case to that of the appropriation of Christian legend by this worshippers of Krishna” (p. 300). Now it is this that every Hindu and Buddhist has the right to brand as “dishonesty,” whether conscious or unconscious. Legends originate earlier than history and die out upon being sifted. Neither of the fabulous events in connection with Buddha’s birth, taken exoterically, necessitated a great genius to narrate them, nor was the intellectual capacity of the Hindus ever proved so inferior to that of the Jewish and Greek mob that they should borrow from them even fables inspired by religion. How their fables, evolved between the second and third centuries after Buddha’s death, when the fever of proselytism and the adoration of his memory were at their height, could be borrowed and then appropriated from the Christian legends written during the first century of the Western era, can only be explained by a German Orientalist. Mr. T. W. Rhys Davids (Jataka Book) shows the contrary to have been true. It may be remarked in this connection that, while the first “miracles” of both Krishna and Christ are said to have happened at a Mathura, the latter city exists to this day in India—the antiquity of its name being fully proved—while the Mathura, or Matures in Egypt, of the “Gospel of Infancy,” where Jesus is alleged to have produced his first miracle, was sought to be identified, centuries ago, by the stump of an old tree in the desert, and is represented by an empty spot!

18. See Twelfth Book of Mahabhárata, Krishna’s fight with Kálayavana.

19. Of Hindu Lingams, rather.

Sakya Muni’s Place in History

1. Notwithstanding Prof. M. Müller’s regrettable efforts to invalidate every Buddhist evidence, he seems to have ill-succeeded in proving his case, if we can judge from the openly expressed opinion of his own German confrères. In the portion headed “Tradition as to Buddha’s Age” (pp. 283-288) in his “Hist. of Ind. Lit.,” Prof. Weber very aptly remarks, “Nothing like positive certainty, therefore, is for the present attainable. Nor have the subsequent discussions of this topic by Max Müller (1859) (“Hist. A. S. L.” p. 264 ff), by Westergaard (1860), “Ueber Buddha’s Todesjahr,” and by Kern “Over de Jaartelling der Zuidel Buddhisten” so far yielded any definite results.” Nor are they likely to.

2. No Philaryan would pretend for a moment on the strength of the Piyadasi inscriptions that Alexander of Macedonia, or either of the other sovereigns mentioned, was claimed as an actual “vassal” of Chandragupta. They did not even pay tribute, but only a kind of quit-rent annually for lands ceded in the north: as the grant-tablets could show. But the inscription, however misinterpreted, shows most clearly that Alexander was never the conqueror of India.

3. The reference to Chinahunah (Chinese and Huns) in the Vishma Parva of the Mahabhárata is evidently a later interpolation, as it does not occur in the old M