TO THE EDITOR
OF THE "THEOSOPHIST"
I have lately been engaged in devoting a few evenings' study to
your admirable article, "FRAGMENTS OF OCCULT TRUTH," which
deserves far more attention than a mere casual reading. It is
therein stated that the translated Ego cannot span the
abyss separating its state from ours, or that it cannot descend
into our atmosphere and reach us; that it attracts but cannot
be attracted, or, in short, that no departed SPIRIT can visit us.
In Vol. I., page 67, of "Isis," I find it said that
many of the spirits, subjectively controlling mediums,
are human disembodied spirits, that their being benevolent
or wicked in quality largely depends upon the medium's private
morality, that "they cannot materialise, but only project
their ætherial reflections on the atmospheric waves."
On page 69: "Not every one can attract human spirits,
who likes. One of the most powerful attractions of our departed
ones is their strong affection for those whom they have left on
earth. It draws them irresistibly, by degrees, into the current
of the astral light vibrating between the person sympathetic to
them and the universal soul." On page 325: "Sometimes,
but rarely, the planetary spirits . . . produce them (subjective
manifestations); sometimes the spirits of our translated and
beloved friends, &c."
From the foregoing it would appear as if both teachings were not
uniform, but it may be that souls, instead of spirits,
are implied, or that I have misunderstood the meaning.
Such difficult subjects are rather puzzling to Western students,
especially to one who, like myself, is a mere tyro, though always
grateful to receive knowledge from those who are in a position
to impart such.
9th January, 1882
EDITOR'S NOTE. It is
to be feared that our valued Brother has both misunderstood our
meaning in "Isis" and that of the "Fragments of
Occult Truth." Read in their correct sense, the statements
in the latter do not offer the slightest discrepancy with the
passages quoted from "Isis," but both teachings are uniform.
Our "Caledonian" Brother believes that, because it is
stated in "Isis," that "many, among those who control
the medium subjectively, are human disembodied spirits,"
and in the "Fragments," in the words of our critic,
that "the Ego cannot span the abyss separating its state
from ours . . . cannot descend into our atmosphere, . . . or,
in short, that no departed SPIRIT can visit
us" there is a contradiction between the two teachings?
We answer "None at all." We reiterate both statements,
and will defend the proposition. Throughout "Isis" although
an attempt was made in the Introductory Chapter to show
the great difference that exists between the terms "soul"
and "spirit" one the reliqui of the personal
EGO, the other the pure essence of the
spiritual INDIVIDUALITY the term "spirit"
had to be often used in the sense given to it by the Spiritualists,
as well as other similar conventional terms, as, otherwise, a
still greater confusion would have been caused. Therefore, the
meaning of the three sentences, cited by our friend, should be
On page 67 wherein it is stated that many of the spirits,
subjectively controlling mediums, are human disembodied
spirits," &c., the word "controlling" must
not be understood in the sense of a "spirit" possessing
himself of the organism of a medium; nor that, in each case, it
is a "spirit"; for often it is but a shell in
its preliminary stage of dissolution, when most of the physical
intelligence and faculties are yet fresh and have not begun to
disintegrate, or fade out. A "spirit," or the
spiritual Ego, cannot descend to the medium, but
it can attract the spirit of the latter to itself, and
it can do this only during the two intervals before and after
its "gestation period." Interval the first is that period
between the physical death and the merging of the spiritual Ego
into that state which is known in the Arhat esoteric doctrine
as "Bar-do." We have translated this as the "gestation"
period, and it lasts from a few days to several years, according
to the evidence of the adepts. Interval the second lasts so long
as the merits of the old Ego entitle the being to reap
the fruit of its reward in its new regenerated Ego-ship. It occurs
after the gestation period is over, and the new spiritual Ego
is reborn like the fabled Phnix from its ashes from the
old one. The locality, which the former inhabits, is called by
the northern Buddhist Occultists "Deva-chan," the word
answering, perhaps, to Paradise or the Kingdom of Heaven of the
Christian elect. Having enjoyed a time of bliss, proportionate
to his deserts, the new personal Ego gets re-incarnated
into a personality when the remembrance of his previous
Egoship, of course, fades out, and he can "communicate"
no longer with his fellowmen on the planet he has left forever,
as the individual he was there known to be. After numberless re-incarnations,
and on numerous planets and in various spheres, a time will come,
at the end of the Maha-Yug or great cycle, when each individuality
will have become so spiritualised that, before its final absorption
into the One All, its series of past personal existences
will marshall themselves before him in a retrospective order like
the many days of some one period of a man's existence.
The words "their being benevolent or wicked in quality largely
depends upon the medium's private morality" which conclude
the first quoted sentence mean simply this: a pure medium's Ego
can be drawn to and made, for an instant, to unite in a magnetic
(?) relation with a real disembodied spirit, whereas the soul
of an impure medium can only confabulate with the astral
soul, or "shell," of the deceased. The former possibility
explains those extremely rare cases of direct writing in recognized
autographs, and of messages from the higher class of disembodied
intelligences. We should say then that the personal morality of
the medium would be a fair test of the genuineness of the manifestation.
As quoted by our friend, "affection to those whom they have
left on earth" is "one of the most powerful attractions"
between two loving spirits the embodied and the disembodied one.
Whence the idea, then, that the two teachings are "not uniform"?
We may well be taxed with too loose and careless a mode of expression,
with a misuse of the foreign language in which we write, with
leaving too much unsaid and depending unwarrantably upon the imperfectly
developed intuition of the reader. But there never was, nor can
there be, any radical discrepancy between the teachings in "Isis"
and those of this later period, as both proceed from one and the
same source the ADEPT BROTHERS.
Theosophist, June, 1882
H. P. Blavatsky