The notice published last month, that questions might be asked, addressed to"Zadok," has elicited several queries, from which we select the following. Hereafter "Zadok" will continue his answers, but they will be given through the Path's columns, except where their private nature may call for personal correspondence.
From C.-(I) Is celibacy necessary to the highest spiritual life and attainment? Is this your idea of true occultism?
The result of celibacy is that the student works by intellect alone. It is necessary for true occult work that the heart be used also. One of the greater of the "mysteries" can never be learned by the celibate, for he never stands as hand in hand with God a controller of a creative force.
(2) Is a purely vegetable diet indispensable to a high and serene spiritual life?
From T. - (I) Am I the result of a series of existences or a series of co-existences?
(2) May one walk for any distance along the Path without being able to see into the Astral Light, or without recognizing anything extraordinary?
One may journey a long distance and not see, for all do not work in the same manner. Some may hear "ages before they see," or may feel a long time before either seeing or hearing. The tool most efficient at a certain period is the one used.
We may journey the entire way without recognizing anything extraordinary or encountering phenomena. The most extraordinary things are found in the most ordinary, and are overlooked because of their seeming familiarity. When the understanding is directed to the natural, one finds the supra-natural or supra-human things.
All questions are vital so long as they remain unsolved but all will be answered. It requires patience in ourselves, for many times the answers do not come until years after the question has been propounded. If I can be of further use to you please consider me at your service.
From J.V. - "There are two ways to ascend and descend, the direct and indirect." Tea Table, Oct. Path. (I) What are these ways?
The indirect way is that of the thistle down; the Astral going out when the body is asleep, does so in a diffused condition - a passive state - with no adequate force to control it or master unseen forces. It floats at the mercy of every current in the Astral, gleaning here and there as a butterfly but taking the good and bad indiscriminately. It may reach high spheres, but is more likely to remain in those nearest to the physical. This way is travelled by all when asleep, and there dreams are made. It is the passive state where desire is the ruler, and sometimes travelled in the waking conscious state, but is uncontrollable and unreliable.
The direct way is that of the arrow from the bow. The Astral speeds directly to the sphere which holds the knowledge it is to receive. It does so in obedience to an irresistible force - the Will: Will in accordance with divine law. It is concrete going and returning in obedience to this force, bringing little with it from intermediate spheres other than that for which it is seeking. This occurs in dreamless slumber and the knowledge acquired is not communicated in a dream. This way is travelled in the conscious state for it is the way of the student of the Occult. Unless the man's thought and motive are pure, he is incapable of using the true will, and his Astral goes where other wills or forces drive it. It pauses when other forces interfere - learns from the place it happens to be in, and brings back a horrible jumble sometimes.
(2) Where do these ways lead?
The other to consideration of self - ordinary living with its erroneous conceptions - as an Occult way, to love of phenomena and spiritism.
They lead to spheres within the astral, for the astral body passes not beyond astral limits. Only when the soul is freed from the astral and material bodies does it pass to higher spheres. These ways also led to planets, stars, and other worlds, for all these may be within the astral of this globe.
From C.H.V. - Apollonius is said to have worn a mantle of wool to aid in insulating himself from the astral currents. Has wool in itself any such property as is seemingly ascribed to it? The question has the value, perhaps, whether the occult laws which govern the merely physical regulation of the toiler toward adept-ship, may not be of great value from a sanitary point of view and form, if properly understood, a useful medical creed.
From J.C.V. - What is true Will? Is it a faculty of the soul? How is it one with the Divine Will and how may we make our will at one with the Divine? Is it something which now we know not, or may we perceive its germ in our own Will, or is it an instinctive movement of the soul?
(2) It is more that a faculty of the soul, for it is the soul at work. The spirit is unmanifest except through the soul. The soul manifesting the spirit is the true will. The human will is the lowest form of this manifestation.
(3) As the true will is the manifestation of the spirit through the soul, it must be at one with the divine, inasmuch as the spirit is the divine in man. It is the God in man, a portion of the all-pervading. Asserting itself through the soul, the true will is brought forth and in truth we say, "It is the will of God." We may make our finite wills at one with the divine by elevating our aim, using it for good or in the search for God, in striving to find how to use it in harmony with the laws of God. By proper use in the right direction the human will becomes purified, elevated, and being exerted only in conformity with our highest ideal, eventually becomes at one with the highest in man.
In our ordinary material state we know only the human will. Through the human will we reach the divine will. We become aware of the true will through the ordinary will just as we become aware of the soul through the body. It is not instinctive of the soul. The soul is father of the human will - the spirit is father of the true will.
From E.L.T. - "A great deal depends on purity of thought and motive," Oct. Path, p. 220.
Is Sinnett's explanation of the origin and extinction of "Intermediate Forms," accepted as being clear and satisfactory by the majority of students who are beginning the study of Buddhism?
Sinnett claims that Kama Loka is (like earth) a condition of unsatisfied longings, progressive idealization. It might be the "ne plus ultra" at the time of entrance, but how after a period of years?
Do advanced students contemplate "Rupa Loka" and "Arupa Loka" as at present desirable conditions? If desirable then in what sense: absolutely or comparatively as regards earth life? Is Sinnett's statement of the entire satisfaction of the soul's longings, to be regarded as "Ex Catherdra," or is it only Sinnett's personal conception?
His statements are his personal interpretation of the teachings he has received. Read Nov. Path, p. 252.
Are we to understand that he "medium" who provokes a representation of phenomena from departed spirits is thereby riveting the chains by which the said "spirit" is held fast to low conditions?
Is Sinnett's use of the word "spirituality" to be used as synonymous with our word conscientiousness?
Does he not rather use it in the sense of imaginative or intuitional capacity?
How do Buddhists regard this faculty as compared with conscientiousness, self-sacrifice and integrity?
Do they not accord respect and honor to preponderance of intellect over purity of heart?
How can I cultivate thought reading? The impressions received are involuntary.
From M.E.C. - What steps must I take to open the heart so as to exercise the Will for governing the Astral body?
From Walter B. - (I) Is it well to cultivate the intellect at the expense of the heart? Do we not pay too much attention to intellectual progress, and in so doing allow the Heart-Mind to wander where it may?
(2) Do not the words and teachings of Jesus, taken in their esoteric sense, point one (the) way to the Theosophic Path?
From F.F. - Will the Devachanic period form an interruption to the work for humanity in the case of one devoted to this during earth life? Is Devachan then a rejuvenating, strengthening period necessary for us while in the bonds of flesh, and is the Elixir of Life the only escape from this egoistic period? May an answer be given to this?
From M.E.S - (I) Are the Astral and the lowest plane of mental life synonymous terms?
(2) Is the "rising above the Astral" in effect rising above the stings and probation of public opinion?
From M.J.G. - Whence come the visions seen just before dropping to sleep? They are uncontrollable - sometimes unpleasant, and have increased since childhood, and since beginning the study of Occultism.
From Adelphi - A most perplexed individual is writing to you. I have been for three years endeavoring to study Theosophy. I have heard lectures, have read an immense amount of literature devoted to that cult, from the sages of old down to the Sinnetts, Olcotts, and Blavatskys of the present day. I have conned the Yoga Philosophy and I read The Path. Light on the Path aids me not, nor does Bhagavad Gita, and why? Because I am yet without the first steps towards practice. (Surely Theosophy - like other sciences - must have something practical about it?) Guide me with your friendly hints. Imagine me alone in a room. How to commence? Show me the first step upon the practical ladder! All I have heard and read seemeth to me so elaborately unintelligible that I lay it aside and beg you to instruct me in my Theosophical A B C, Astral Light! Is it a figurative light, i.e. Revelation? or is it a light, as electricity - the Heavens - coal - gives light? If abstract (into insensibility) is necessary, can you instruct me upon Hypnotism (self mesmerism)? "A shining object" is advised to stare at! A mirror is a shining object, for instance. But of what avail to stare at a mirror and see reflected ugliness!
You say you have "conned the Yoga philosophy." This is not enough; merely to "con" it is not to know it. It is in fact a most practical system (if you refer to that of Patanjali), and one that will meet all requirements you have in the way of difficulty; for it is one of the most difficult. It is not possible for you to judge its merits without practice: and it gives full directions. If for three years you study and practice it - aye for one year -, you will find that you need no other. In these matters there is no child's play nor the usual English and American method of mere book-learning, - we must absorb and work into the practice and the theory laid down, for they are not written merely for the intellect, but for the whole spiritual nature. There must be within the man something which he already knows, that leaps up and out when he scans the books of wisdom; a thing already existing, which only takes an added life or confirmation from books. True Theosophy has all that is practical, but many forget this; there is no greater system of practice than that required by it.
Desire wisdom; love all men; do your duty; forget yourself; let each thought and act of your life have for its aim the finding of divine wisdom; strive to apply that wisdom for he good of other men. If you search in every direction, Light must come to you. Let the place in which you now are be the lonely room you speak of, and seek to find in everything the meaning. Strive to know what they are, and by what governed or caused. This the first step. Live your life with this ever before you. Purify your thought as well as your body. Reason all you can, feel all with your heart you may, and when intellect and heart fail you, seek for something higher. This is the A.B.C.; it is enough for the present.
It is not Theosophy that is a science, but its application. It is not a "cult," for it covers and includes all.
The Astral Light is an actuality. It is not revelation, but a means through which that which causes revelation acts. Electricity, the heavens, all lower fires, are but the shadows of the Astral Light, just as the Astral Light is but the darkness of the Ineffable Light.
Abstraction into insensibility is not intended. If it had been so intended it would be unnecessary for us to be in these bodies. If you can forget yourself sufficiently - forget that you exist as a human body, you will not need to stare at a mirror; but so long as you realize, when staring into a glass, whether you be pretty or ugly, you can not reach Celestial sensibility or terrestrial insensibility.
Hypnotism is the controlling of other personalities. Under this you would be but a puppet for the thought of another. Your outer self had better become a puppet for you own thought.
We seek to make the body alive, not to kill it.
To Zadok - Suppose persons have reason to believe they have found the beginning of the Way, and then find they do not care to investigate the mysteries of Occultism; that they are content to remain without knowledge on these subjects, though they found Truth through Theosophy, and that they are happy because they feel that whatever God orders in their lives must be right, whether it is pleasure or pain.
Suppose also that such persons, though having put themselves in a spiritually receptive condition, feel no weight of Karma, though willing to suffer to whatever extent is needed from it. Do you not think such persons may be deceiving themselves in thinking they are Theosophists, when they have lived many weeks in this condition? Do you think it harder for women to attain spirituality than men? and if so, still should they not strive all the more to obtain it? I know we should not avoid anything merely because it is irksome or uninteresting.
Do not Theosophists allow themselves to feel happy if happiness comes to them without their desiring it? Also why do Theosophists wish to avoid feeling pain or pleasure, if God orders the circumstances which produce them, after we have subjected our will to His?
Please answer in your next issue of The Path. L.
(2) It is as hard for man as for woman to enter the mysteries. Man works through the intellect, woman through the emotions or heart. Both are equally useless after a time, and of the two the heart is the better tool. But woman becomes engrossed or overwhelmed by her emotions, and passes no farther. The greatest Teachers have been those who have had most of the womanly in their natures. It is more difficult to master the body as a woman than as a man. This can be answered only partial in print.
(3) The True Theosophist allows himself, or is taught to feel, both pain and pleasure, happiness and sorrow, for he knows them all to be wise. Men long for and desire; they fight for happiness and do not find it. We have given to us peace, which is far beyond happiness. Happiness is of this world and is a mockery of the True; yet as all other men we feel it, for we feel all things, for in all these things lie the lessons to be learned as men. I dare not speak for other men, but were I to wish to avoid either pleasure or pain, knowing them to be God"s will, then would I utterly fail. Once having subjected my will - my human will - to His, then I avoid nothing that is His will.
To Zadok - (I) Why, since the Deity chose of His own divine will to make the descent into matter, or - as some put it - by this process alone came to Him a realizing sense of His being, in the manifestation through and by matter, why should this be considered a "fall," or, indeed, an evil at all, since, being the work and choice of the Deity, it must necessarily have been both wisdom and goodness which dictated the "descent"; and, as Theosophy teaches the inner Light and in dwelling Emanuel (God with us) to be ever present in all forms of life, wherein consisted the evil of this divine descent, and why must this experience be necessarily associated with evil at all?
(2) I met an F.T.S. the other day who believes he has arrived at "Saintship" and cannot therefore err. He cannot bear the slightest contradiction , believing that he has arrived at such a state of "enlightenment" that he is infallible, whereas we less gifted mortals feel that he often makes grave mistakes. Of course this assumption is untenable in this case, but are sainthood and consequent infallibility likely to result from the humdrum every-day life of an ordinary nineteenth century man?
(2) How do your know that he makes grave mistakes? I may not say that anyone errs or makes mistakes, other than my own self. Neither you nor I may say another is saint or devil from our own standpoint of what makes either. Both you and I have been taught, however, that one who has arrived at the state of "Saintship" never lays claim to it or to "enlightenment."
Saintship and a certain measure of infallibility will result from humdrum ever-day life in the nineteenth century, and in no other way, if rightly comprehended. Otherwise one would not be here at all, or would have lived in some other time, before time was. To become a saint one must know what sinners are and what sin is. The best way to arrive at this knowledge is through the nineteenth century or the time in which we live, through life and all it tells us. Believing that one cannot err and in one's infallibility is however not characteristic of saintship.
From G.M. - (I) During sleep I have a feeling that I can fly by an intense act of will. I then do float in dream over the ground, my body seeming rigid. The force exhausts, then I have to descend. What is your explanation of this?
(2) In Theosophical books I find occult or magical phenomena referred to. I am disposed to reject these and consider their publication of a very questionable character in light of matter for the improvement of intelligent seekers after truth. Still I do not deny them, and hold myself open for conviction in any direction.
We also know that the Masters who are behind the Theosophical Society have, in writing, condemned the thirst for phenomena made so often degrading, and stated that the Society ought to progress through its moral worth. One phenomenon can be seen by but a limited number of people, some of whom even will always doubt, and each one hearing of it afterwards will want a repetition for himself. Further than that, it would be certain to bring on a thirst for mere sight-seeing, resulting in a total forgetfulness of spirit. But, on the other hand, there are laws that cannot be guessed at without phenomena. And in each human being is a complete universe in which daily occur phenomena that should be studied. This is the proper realm for each student to investigate, for therein - and nowhere else - is placed the gate through which each one must advance.
From G.B. - Why does the Baron in Mr. Sinnett's "Karma" advise Mrs. Lakesby not to communicate with the "astral specters" she saw about the Professor?
This answer opens fire at once upon the whole "philosophy" of spiritualism, and contains a challenge of the ignorance of most seers and nearly every student of psychical laws. The ordinary spiritualist sees complete proof for the returning of deceased friends in the phenomena of the séroom, and nearly every seer is fascinated with his or her own pictures in the astral light and the absolute truth of what is seen.
Mrs. Lakesby did not see the spirit of any person, but only the reliquae. The spirit is never seen, and the soul is engaged in experiencing a certain portion of its deserts in other states. These states are unnameable and incomprehensible to English speaking people. But for a period there is a magnetic connection between that soul and the reliquae seen at séand by seers. By means of that connection the soul is prevented - against its will, except when it is extremely wicked - from passing through its purification preparatory to entering into devachan. This purification, or preparatory state anterior to devachan, has not been explained by theosophical writers. It is, nevertheless, a fact of the highest importance.
The second portion of the Baron's reply is also valuable. When a seer or medium perceives these shades of the departed and desires to communicate with them, a crowd of nature spirits, of no moral character but solely moved by magnetic impulse, rush into the shade of the deceased and give it a temporary life. They too are then able, on their part, to see the seer or medium, and may and do often transfer themselves from the shade to the medium, whose lower, baser nature they occupy and vivify. By thus incorporating themselves with the relilquae of dead persons, these elementals stop the process of disintegration of the atoms of matter composing the shade, which would have gone on to completion if left to nature. As soon as this disintegrating process is inhibited, the soul itself is held, so to say, in a vise which it is powerless to open, and unaware as well from whence comes the disturbance. Thus, then, these who run after their deceased friends" shades or reappearances are each day condemning their loved ones to a longer and more painful stay in a state that closely corresponds to the Christian hell.
I know my words will sweep unheeded over the forest in which our spiritualistic friends are wandering, but some sincere students will believe me.
From M.C.D. - I am told that an Adept has said "that one can help or cure another if his Karma does not prevent it." Am I to understand that when suffering is before me I am not to relieve it if in my power to do so, on the ground that the suffering person's Karma has brought him there and I must not interfere? Some Theosophists have enunciated this rule.
It would be wiser for all students to seek to do their duty and to act as true brothers on every occasion than to run about endeavoring to imitate Sages and Adepts.
From B.J. - What can your tell me about the Mind Cure and Christian Science? Are they true, are they theosophical? Ought I to study them so as to be mens sana in corpore sano, as it were?
A change of circumstances having made it necessary for Zadok to remove to another sphere of action, no more answers to queries will appear from his pen. Queries, however, will be answered to the best of the ability of one or two others who have agreed to undertake the work, and they may be addressed to the Path as usual.
From F.N.W. - (I) What is the difference between the Esoteric Society of Boston and the Theosophic Society, and is that difference very serious?
William Q. Judge
(2) Do members of the T.S. practice the method of regeneration propounded by Hiram E. Butler?
(3) Do members of the T.S. accept "Solar Biology" as a real science?
From L.C. - What are the "peace" and the "voice of the silence" spoken of in the Light on the Path? Are they easy to attain to?
A.C.R. asks if a long definition of Karma given in the letter is in harmony with the Asiatic definition.
On the subject of Karma the sect of Visishadwaitas of India say:
Karma even works in Swarga or heaven, for, as soon as the causes that take us there are exhausted, we are brought back to rebirth under the operation of Karma; thus it is seen to be stronger than the blissful state of Heaven. This going to and returning from Swarga goes on until salvation is obtained, - one who attains that state is called Jivanmukta. This condition is defined as "an entire separation of Jiva from all connection with matter, and complete destruction of Karma whether good or bad." The word Moksha literally means "release from bondage."
From L. - (I) What plan of life should a theosophist adopt? Take one who does not aspire to chelaship, but who is anxious to live rightly. Should he give up literature, or music, or art; and ought he to give up thoughts of marriage?
(2) Is Light on the Path written for chelas alone or for all?
(3) Why do so many warn against rashly attempting chelaship? If it is right, why not for all? Will it be easier in some future life, or will it be always a struggle? If the necessity for leaders makes it right for some to essay this, how is one to tell which is his duty, to try or not?
The road winds up hill all the way even to the very end; but in this life we may prepare ourselves to be ready to make a farther advance in our next reincarnation.
Any one who is to be a leader will easily find that out. We are not to try and discover that we are leaders, but to do our every duty; if they are performed, the Law of Karma will find those who are the real leaders, and all sham captains will disappear.
From "An Outsider" - in England - If I write to you sometimes anonymously, will you answer? There must be many like myself, lonely and ignorant, who need help and might find it in the Path. My health is poor; how can I regain it? I have not the "superb audacity" you speak of.
Maggie Crawford writes stating that she judges the truth of theosophic doctrine by the characters of those who promulgate it, and that she finds Mme. Blavatsky an objection to the truth of theosophy. Charges are brought against other prominent persons who are named by her A, B, and C; we cannot notice these, as they are anonymous, or rather straw defendants, But as to H.P. Blavatsky, we desire to say to the questioner that we have known her many, many years and think her character is not ungoverned nor uncontrolled; we also know her to be generous and just, as well as wise and farseeing. But truth must never be judged by any personal standard; and we advise our friend to pursue truth for its own sake, and not because any person says it is true.
Jasper Niemand, Wm. Brehon, Eusebio Urban
From Hadji - What is the meaning of newspaper references to Mme. Blavatsky thus: "Theosophy, too, despite the exposure of Mme. Blavatsky's impudent impostures is still flourishing."?
Path, May, 1889
From C. N. (I) Is there a "Parent" Theosophical Society?
(2) Is there an Esoteric Section of the Society in America different from that governed by H.P. Blavatsky?
Some misguided persons may have pretended to confer those degrees, but such a thing was improper on their part, and absolutely worthless to the recipient. These real degrees in occultism may not be trifled with, and yet they protect themselves because pretenders and triflers can make neither entry nor progress.
In 1875 H.P. Blavatsky directed a certain fellow of the Society to attend to the needs of all the members of the T.S., who were then called "entered apprentices" by her, and her letter of that date is still extant in which the present Esoteric Section was plainly referred to.
(3) Why has H.P. Blavatsky waited until now to so publicly proclaim the Esoteric Section?
But for the first 14 years of a theosophical effort - periodically made in every century - the work of such persons as H.P. Blavatsky is always directed to preparing the ground, and then more open invitation is extended. It is so done in the last 25 years of each century.
From R.L.R.- (I) What is a Nirmanakaya?
(2) Has a Nirmanakaya any sex?
From T.D. - If there be any defect in the Mind Cure system, what would you say it is?
ARE THERE NEW SOULS? WHY REINCARNATION?
M.E.A - We all know that the population of the earth is increasing yearly, and that in time this globe will not be able to support its population unless the future inhabitants can get along on air. Does Theosophy teach us that new souls are created? Each one of these future unfortunates must have a soul. Will the Path please explain?
Nor does it follow that the earth will not be able to support its population in time. A great many well-informed persons think exactly the opposite. Not very long ago several millions of people were destroyed in China, Japan, and elsewhere in a single week; this would leave a good deal of room for a population - in the United States for instance - to expand. Hence the question is narrowed down to the single one - "Does Theosophy teach us that new souls are created?" Mme. Blavatsky answers this in the Secret Doctrine by stating that from now until the end of this period of manifestation there will be no new Monads (which will answer to the word "souls" of the questioner), but the old ones will be reincarnated on this globe. If her view is the correct one, then the reincarnations from now onwards will be incarnations of Monads who have been here many times before. That is to say, we will all be worked over many times. This opinion of Mme. Blavatsky's is held by many Theosophists.
If we started as spirit and therefore perfect, why need we these reincarnations of suffering, only to finally attain what we started with?
Path, April, 1890