M.C. Great confusion exists in the minds of
people about the various kinds of apparitions, wraiths, ghosts
or spirits. Ought we not to explain once for all the meaning of
these terms? You say there are various kinds of "doubles" what
H.P.B. Our occult philosophy teaches us that there are three kinds
of "doubles," to use the word in its widest sense. (I)
Man has his "double" or shadow, properly so called,
around which the physical body of the ftus the future
man is built. The imagination of the mother, or an accident which
affects the child, will affect also the astral body. The astral
and the physical both exist before the mind is developed into
action, and before the Atma awakes. This occurs when the child
is seven years old, and with it comes the responsibility attaching
to a conscious sentient being. This "double" is born
with man, dies with him and can never separate itself far from
the body during life, and though surviving him, it disintegrates, pari passu, with the corpse. It is this which is sometimes
seen over the graves like a luminous figure of the man that was,
during certain atmospheric conditions. From its physical aspect
it is, during life, man's vital double, and after death,
only the gases given off from the decaying body. But, as regards
its origin and essence, it is something more. This "double"
is what we have agreed to call lingasarira, but which I
would propose to call, for greater convenience, "Protean"
or "Plastic Body."
M.C. Why Protean or Plastic?
H.P.B. Protean, because it can assume all forms; e.g. the
"shepherd magicians" whom popular rumor accuses, perhaps
not without some reason, of being "were-wolves," and
"mediums in cabinets," whose own "Plastic Bodies"
play the part of materialized grandmothers and "John Kings."
Otherwise, why the invariable custom of the "gear departed
angels" to come out but little further than arm's length
from the medium, whether entranced or not? Mind, I do not at all
deny foreign influences in this kind of phenomena. But I do affirm
that foreign interference is rare, and that the materialized form
is always that of the medium's "Astral" or Protean
M.C. But how is this astral body created?
H.P.B. It is not created; it grows, as I told you, with the man
and exists in the rudimentary condition even before the child
M.C. And what about the second?
H.P.B. The second is the "Thought" body, or Dream body,
rather; known among Occultists as the Mayavi-rupa, or "Illusion-body."
During life this image is the vehicle both of thought and of the
animal passions and desires, drawing at one and the same time
from the lowest terrestrial manas (mind) and Kama, the element
of desire. It is dual in its potentiality, and after death
forms what is called in the East, Bhoot, or Kama-rupa, but which is better known to theosophists as the "Spook."
M.C. And the third?
H.P.B. The third is the true Ego, called in the East by
a name meaning "causal body" but which in the trans-Himalayan
schools is always called the "Karmic body," which is
the same. For Karma or action is the cause which produces incessant
rebirths or "reincarnations." It is not the Monad, nor is it Manas proper; but is, in a way, indissolubly
connected with, and a compound of the Monad and Manas in Devachan.
M.C. Then there are three doubles?
H.P.B. If you can call the Christian and other Trinities "three
Gods," then there are three doubles. But in truth there is
only one under three aspects or phases: the most material portion
disappearing with the body; the middle one, surviving both
as an independent, but temporary entity in the land of shadows;
the third, immortal, throughout the manvantara unless Nirvana
puts an end to it before.
M.C. But shall not we be asked what difference there is between
the Mayavi and Kama rupa, or as you propose to call them the "Dream
body" and the "Spook"?
H.P.B. Most likely, and we shall answer, in addition to what has
been said, that the "thought power" or aspect of the
Mayavi or "Illusion body," merges after death entirely
into the causal body or the conscious, thinking EGO.
The animal elements, or power of desire of the "Dream body,"
absorbing after death that which it has collected (through
its insatiable desire to live) during life; i.e., all
the astral vitality as well as all the impressions of its material acts and thoughts while it lived in possession of the body,
forms the "Spook" or Kama rupa. Our Theosophists
know well enough that after death the higher Manas unites
with the Monad and passes into Devachan, while the dregs
of the lower rnanas or animal mind go to form this Spook.
This has life in it, but hardly any consciousness, except, as
it were by proxy, when it is drawn into the current of a medium.
M.C. Is it all that can be said upon the subject?
H.P.B. For the present this is enough metaphysics, I guess. Let
us hold to the "Double" in its earthly phase. What would
M.C. Every country in the world believes more or less in the "double"
or doppelganger. The simplest form of this is the appearance of
a man's phantom, the moment after his death, or at the instant
of death, to his dearest friend. Is this appearance the mayavi
H.P.B. It is; because produced by the thought of the dying man.
M.C. Is it unconscious?
H.P.B. It is unconscious to the extent that the dying man does
not generally do it knowingly; nor is he aware that he so appears.
What happens is this. If he thinks very intently at the moment
of death of the person he either is very anxious to see, or loves
best, he may appear to that person. The thought becomes objective;
the double, or shadow of a man, being nothing but the faithful
reproduction of him, like a reflection in a mirror, that which
the man does, even in thought, that the double repeats. This is
why the phantoms are often seen in such cases in the clothes they
wear at the particular moment, and the image reproduces even the
expression on the dying man's face. If the double of a man bathing
were seen it would seem to be immersed in water; so when a man
who has been drowned appears to his friend, the image will be
seen to be dripping with water. The cause for the apparition may
be also reversed; i.e., the dying man may or may not be
thinking at all of the particular person his image appears to,
but it is that person who is sensitive. Or perhaps his sympathy
or his hatred for the individual whose wraith is thus evoked is
very intense physically or psychically; and in this case the apparition
is created by, and depends upon, the intensity of the thought.
What then happens is this. Let us call the dying man A, and him
who sees the double B. The latter, owing to love, hate, or fear,
has the image of A so deeply impressed on his psychic memory,
that actual magnetic attraction and repulsion are established
between the two, whether one knows of it and feels it, or not.
When A dies, the sixth sense or psychic spiritual intelligence
of the inner man in B becomes cognizant of the change in
A, and forthwith apprises the physical senses of the man, by projecting
before his eye the form of A, as it is at the instant of the great
change. The same when the dying man longs to see some one; his thought telegraphs to his friend, consciously or unconsciously
along the wire of sympathy, and becomes objective. This is what
the "Spookical" Research Society would pompously, but
none the less muddily, call telepathic impact.
M.C. This applies to the simplest form of the appearance of the
double. What about cases in which the double does that which is
contrary to the feeling and wish of the man?
H.P.B. This is impossible. The "Double" cannot act,
unless the keynote of this action was struck in the brain of the
man to whom the "Double" belongs, be that man just dead,
or alive, in good or in bad health. If he paused on the thought
a second, long enough to give it form, before he passed
on to other mental pictures, this one second is as sufficient
for the objectivizations of his personality on the astral
waves, as for your face to impress itself on the sensitized plate
of a photographic apparatus. Nothing prevents your form, then,
being seized upon by the surrounding Forces as a dry leaf fallen
from a tree is taken up and carried away by the wind being made
to caricature or distort your thought.
M.C. Supposing the double expresses in actual words a thought
uncongenial to the man, and expresses it let us say to a friend
far away, perhaps on another continent? I have known instances
of this occurring.
H.P.B. Because it then so happens that the created image is taken
up and used by a "Shell." Just as in seance-rooms when
"images" of the dead which may perhaps be lingering
unconsciously in the memory or even the auras of those present are
seized upon by the Elemental or Elemental Shadows and made objective
to the audience, and even caused to act at the bidding of the
strongest of the many different wills in the room. In your case,
moreover, there must exist a connecting link a telegraph wire between
the two persons, a point of psychic sympathy, and on this the
thought travels instantly. Of course there must be, in every case,
some strong reason why that particular thought takes that direction;
it must be connected in some way with the other person. Otherwise
such apparitions would be of common and daily occurrence.
M.C. This seems very simple; why then does it only occur with
H.P.B. Because the plastic power of the imagination is much stronger
in some persons than in others. The mind is dual in its potentiality:
it is physical and metaphysical. The higher part of the mind is
connected with the spiritual soul or Buddhi, the lower with the
animal soul, the Kama principle. There are persons who never think
with the higher faculties of their mind at all; those who do so
are the minority and are thus, in a way, beyond, if not
above, the average of human kind. These will think even upon ordinary
matters on that higher plane. The idiosyncrasy of the person
determines in which "principle" of the mind the thinking
is done, as also the faculties of a preceding life, and sometimes
the heredity of the physical. This is why it is so very difficult
for a materialist the metaphysical portion of whose brain is
almost atrophied to raise himself, or for one who is naturally
spiritually minded, to descend to the level
of the matter-of-fact vulgar thought. Optimism and pessimism depend
on it also in a large measure.
M.C. But the habit of thinking in the higher mind can be developed else
there would be no hope for persons who wish to alter their lives
and raise themselves? And that this is possible must be true,
or there would be no hope for the world.
H.P.B. Certainly it can be developed, but only with great difficulty,
a firm determination, and through much self-sacrifice. But it
is comparatively easy for those who are born with the gift. Why
is it that one person sees poetry in a cabbage or a pig with her
little ones, while another will perceive in the loftiest things
only their lowest and most material aspect, will laugh at the
"music of the spheres," and ridicule the most sublime
conceptions and philosophies? This difference depends simply on
the innate power of the mind to think on the higher or on the
lower plane, with the astral (in the sense given to the
word by St. Martin), or with the physical brain. Great intellectual
powers are often no proof of, but are impediments to spiritual
and right conceptions; witness most of the great men of science.
We must rather pity than blame them.
M.C. But how is it that the person who thinks on the higher plane
produces more perfect and more potential images and objective
forms by his thought?
H.P.B. Not necessarily that "person" alone, but all
those who are generally sensitive. The person who is endowed with
this faculty of thinking about even the most trifling things from
the higher plane of thought has, by virtue of that gift which
he possesses, a plastic power of formation, so to say, in his
very imagination. Whatever such a person may think about,
his thought wi11 be so far more intense than the thought of an
ordinary person, that by this very intensity it obtains the power
of creation. Science has established the fact that thought is
an energy. This energy in its action disturbs the atoms of the
astral atmosphere around us. I already told you; the rays of thought
have the same potentiality for producing forms in the astral atmosphere
as the sun-rays have with regard to a lens. Every thought so evolved
with energy from the brain, creates nolens volens a shape.
M.C. Is that shape absolutely unconscious?
H.P.B. Perfectly unconscious unless it is the creation of an adept,
who has a pre-conceived object in giving it consciousness, or
rather in sending along with it enough of his will and intelligence
to cause it to appear conscious. This ought to make us more cautious
about our thoughts.
But the wide distinction that obtains between the adept in this
matter and the ordinary man must be borne in mind. The adept may
at his will use his Mayavi rupa, but the ordinary man does
not, except in very rare cases. It is called Mayavi rupa because
it is a form of illusion created for use in the particular instance,
and it has quite enough of the adept's mind in it to accomplish
its purpose. The ordinary man merely creates a thought-image,
whose properties and powers are at the time wholly unknown to
M.C. Then one may say that the form of an adept appearing at a
distance from his body, as for instance Ram Lal in Mr. Isaacs,
is simply an image?
H.P.B. Exactly. It is a walking thought.
M.C. In which case an adept can appear in several places almost
H.P.B. He can. Just as Apollonius of Tyana, who was seen in two
places at once, while his body was at Rome. But it must be understood
that not all of even the astral adept is present
in each appearance.
M.C. Then it is very necessary for a person of any amount of imagination
and psychic powers to attend to his thoughts?
H.P.B. Certainly, for each thought has a shape which borrows the
appearance of the man engaged in the action of which he thought.
Otherwise how can clairvoyants see in your aura your past
and present? What they see is a passing panorama of yourself represented
in successive actions by your thoughts. You asked me if we are
punished for our thoughts. Not for all, for some are still-born;
but for others, those which we call "silent" but potential
thoughts yes. Take an extreme case, such as that of a person
who is so wicked as to wish the death of another. Unless the evil-wisher
is a Dugpa, a high adept in black magic, in which case
Karma is delayed, such a wish only comes back to roost.
M.C. But supposing the evil-wisher to have a very strong will,
without being a dugpa, could the death of the other be
H.P.B. Only if the malicious person has the evil eye, which simply
means possessing enormous plastic power of imagination working
involuntarily, and thus turned unconsciously to bad uses. For
what is the power of the "evil eye"? Simply a great
plastic power of thought, so great as to produce a current impregnated
with the potentiality of every kind of misfortune and accident,
which inoculates, or attaches itself to any person who comes within
it. A jettatore (one with the evil eye) need not be even
imaginative, or have evil intentions or wishes. He may be simply
a person who is naturally fond of witnessing or reading about
sensational scenes, such as murder, executions, accidents, etc.,
etc. He may be not even thinking of any of these at the moment
his eye meets his future victim. But the currents have been produced
and exist in his visual ray ready to spring into activity the
instant they find suitable soil, like a seed fallen by the way
and ready to sprout at the first opportunity.
M.C. But how about the thoughts you call "silent"? Do
such wishes or thoughts come home to roost?
H.P.B. They do; just as a ball which fails to penetrate an object
rebounds upon the thrower. This happens even to some dugpas or sorcerers who are not strong enough, or do not comply with
the rules for even they have rules they have to abide
by but not with those who are regular, fully developed "black
magicians"; for such have the power to accomplish what they
M.C. When you speak of rules it makes me want to wind up this
talk by asking you what everybody wants to know who takes any
interest in occultism. What is a principal or important suggestion
for those who have these powers and wish to control them rightly in
fact to enter occultism?
H.P.B. The first and most important step in occultism is to learn
how to adapt your thoughts and ideas to your plastic potency.
M.C. Why is this so important?
H.P.B. Because otherwise you are creating things by which you
may be making bad Karma. No one should go into occultism or even
touch it before he is perfectly acquainted with his own powers,
and that he knows how to commensurate it with his actions. And
this he can do only by deeply studying the philosophy of
Occultism before entering upon the practical training.
Otherwise, as sure as fate HE WILL FALL INTO BLACK
Lucifer, December, 1888