PSYCHIC LAWS, FORCES, AND PHENOMENA
from the writings of H. P. Blavatsky & William Q Judge.
“THERE IS NO RELIGION HIGHER THAN TRUTH”
is the motto of the Maharaja of Benares and was adopted
by the Theosophical Movement in 19th century.
It is as applicable now as it was then.
This forms a series of articles and collations on well-being.
For further advice go to “On psychic and mental well-being” which directs to this & other pages.
The Key to Theosophy
Q. What is the purpose of this chapter in the book?
A. To acquaint Theosophical students with the explanation and real facts behind commonly known phenomena, and to warn against accepting wrong ideas in regard to them. Every student, either in the life when he first begins the study of this true philosophy, or in a succeeding life, is bound to come in contact with the denizens of the various inner psychic states, and if he has in his mind an understanding of them—a knowledge of their dangers—he is able to pass through them without harm.
In “The Voice of the Silence,” the astral plane is spoken of as the Hall of Learning, of dire probations, where under every flower a serpent lies coiled. All sincere students who know the dangers of the astral plane will never endeavor to break into it by any kind of practice. They will naturally come in contact with the dangers existing there in various directions, but warned, and also protected by their firm desire to benefit others—to learn for the purpose of helping others.
Knowledge will spring up spontaneously within the man who proceeds rightly from a sound basis of philosophy. He will have no need to try to break into any plane. Nor would a true teacher ever spur him on to the acquisition of psychic powers.
The Key to Theosophy, Chapter XVI
Compare this friendly, compassionate and wise advice with what is unfortunately being promoted in some circles today, where encouragement is given to acquire mental or psychic power for personal and too often low ends, such as attracting money or partners etc etc.
The real path is simple and begins with the beautiful ethics outlined above, the “firm desire to benefit others” which acts as a shield and a true guide.
But as William Judge says at the end of this page
“The true road is plain and easy to find, it is so easy that very many would-be students miss it because they cannot believe it to be so simple.”
It has been said that Theosophy may seem like a child’s school, but it takes a strong man or woman to go through it. It is claimed – not without some justification if the time is taken to investigate the Lineage of the Movement – that this Ancient School offers the beginning, middle and the end of the path to the highest evolution that humanity aspires to.
Entities That Reside in Kama Loka — the Elementals etc
Existing in the sphere of kama loka, as, indeed, also in all parts of the globe and the solar system, are the elementals or nature forces. They are innumerable, and their divisions are almost infinite, as they are, in a sense, the nerves of nature. Each class has its own work just as has every natural element or thing. As fire burns and as water runs down and not up under their general law, so the elementals act under law, but being higher in the scale than gross fire or water their action seems guided by mind. Some of them have a special relation to mental operations and to the action of the astral organs, whether these be joined to a body or not. When a medium forms the channel, and also from other natural coordination, these elementals make an artificial connection with the shell of a deceased person, aided by the nervous fluid of the medium and others near, and then the shell is galvanized into an artificial life. Through the medium connection is made with the physical and psychical forces of all present. The old impressions on the astral body give up their images to the mind of the medium, the old passions are set on fire. Various messages and reports are then obtained from it, but not one of them is original, not one is from the spirit. By their strangeness, and in consequence of the ignorance of those who dabble in it, this is mistaken for the work of spirit, but it is all from the living when it is not the mere picking out from the astral light of the images of what has been in the past. In certain cases to be noted there is an intelligence at work that is wholly and intensely bad, to which every medium is subject, and which will explain why so many of them have succumbed to evil, as they have confessed.
A rough classification of these shells that visit mediums would be as follows:
(1) Those of the recently deceased whose place of burial is not far away. This class will be quite coherent in accordance with the life and thought of the former owner. An unmaterial, good, and spiritualized person leaves a shell that will soon disintegrate. A gross, mean, selfish, material person’s shell will be heavy, consistent, and long lived: and so on with all varieties.
(2) Those of persons who had died far away from the place where the medium is. Lapse of time permits such to escape from the vicinity of their old bodies, and at the same time brings on a greater degree of disintegration which corresponds on the astral plane to putrefaction on the physical. These are vague, shadowy, incoherent; respond but briefly to the psychic stimulus, and are whirled off by any magnetic current. They are galvanized for a moment by the astral currents of the medium and of those persons present who were related to the deceased.
(3) Purely shadowy remains which can hardly be given a place. There is no English to describe them, though they are facts in this sphere. They might be said to be the mere mold or impress left in the astral substance by the once coherent shell long since disintegrated. They are therefore so near being fictitious as to almost deserve the designation. As such shadowy photographs they are enlarged, decorated, and given an imaginary life by the thoughts, desires, hopes, and imaginings of medium and sitters at the seance.
(4) Definite, coherent entities, human souls bereft of the spiritual tie, now tending down to the worst state of all, avitchi, where annihilation of the personality is the end. They are known as black magicians. Having centered the consciousness in the principle of kama, preserved intellect, divorced themselves from spirit, they are the only damned beings we know. In life they had human bodies and reached their awful state by persistent lives of evil for its own sake; some of such already doomed to become what I have described, are among us on earth today. These are not ordinary shells, for they have centered all their force in kama, thrown out every spark of good thought or aspiration, and have a complete mastery of the astral sphere. I put them in the classification of shells because they are such in the sense that they are doomed to disintegration consciously as the others are to the same end mechanically only. They may and do last for many centuries, gratifying their lusts through any sensitive they can lay hold of where bad thought gives them an opening. They preside at nearly all seances, assuming high names and taking the direction so as to keep the control and continue the delusion of the medium, thus enabling themselves to have a convenient channel for their own evil purposes. Indeed, with the shells of suicides, of those poor wretches who die at the hand of the law, of drunkards and gluttons, these black magicians living in the astral world hold the field of physical mediumship and are liable to invade the sphere of any medium no matter how good. The door once open, it is open to all. This class of shell has lost higher manas, but in the struggle not only after death but as well in life the lower portion of manas which should have been raised up to godlike excellence was torn away from its lord and now gives this entity intelligence which is devoid of spirit but power to suffer as it will when its final day shall come.
In the state of Kama Loka suicides and those who are suddenly shot out of life by accident or murder, legal or illegal, pass a term almost equal to the length life would have been but for the sudden termination. These are not really dead. To bring on a normal death, a factor not recognized by medical science must be present. That is, the principles of the being as described in other chapters have their own term of cohesion, at the natural end of which they separate from each other under their own laws. This involves the great subject of the cohesive forces of the human subject, requiring a book in itself. I must be content therefore with the assertion that this law of cohesion obtains among the human principles. Before that natural end the principles are unable to separate. Obviously the normal destruction of the cohesive force cannot be brought about by mechanical processes except in respect to the physical body. Hence a suicide, or person killed by accident or murdered by man or by order of human law, has not come to the natural termination of the cohesion among the other constituents, and is hurled into the kama loka state only partly dead.
There the remaining principles have to wait until the actual natural life term is reached, whether it be one month or sixty years.
But the degrees of kama loka provide for the many varieties of the last-mentioned shells. Some pass the period in great suffering, others in a dreamy sort of sleep, each according to the moral responsibility. But executed criminals are in general thrown out of life full of hate and revenge, smarting under a penalty they do not admit the justice of. They are ever rehearsing in kama loka their crime, their trial, their execution, and their revenge. And whenever they can gain touch with a sensitive living person, medium or not, they attempt to inject thoughts of murder and other crime into the brain of such unfortunate. And that they succeed in such attempts the deeper students of Theosophy full well know.
The Ocean of Theosophy, end of Ch. 12
Dangers of the Astral Light
THERE is such a thing as being intoxicated in the course of an unwise pursuit of what we erroneously imagine is spirituality. In the Christian Bible it is very wisely directed to “prove all” and to hold only to that which is good; this advice is just as important to the student of occultism who thinks that he has separated himself from those “inferior” people engaged either in following a dogma or in tipping tables for messages from deceased relatives – or enemies – as it is to spiritists who believe in the “summerland” and “returning spirits.”
The placid surface of the sea of spirit is the only mirror in which can be caught undisturbed the reflections of spiritual things. When a student starts upon the path and begins to see spots of light flash out now and then, or balls of golden fire roll past him, it does not mean that he is beginning to see the real Self – pure spirit.
A moment of deepest peace or wonderful revealings given to the student, is not the awful moment when one is about to see his spiritual guide*, much less his own soul. Nor are psychical splashes of blue flame, nor visions of things that afterwards come to pass, nor sights of small sections of the astral light with its wonderful photographs of past or future, nor the sudden ringing of distant fairy-like bells, any proof that you are cultivating spirituality.
These things, and still more curious things, will occur when you have passed a little distance on the way, but they are only the mere outposts of a new land which is itself wholly material, and only one remove from the plane of gross physical consciousness.
The liability to be carried off and intoxicated by these phenomena is to be guarded against. We should watch, note and discriminate in all these cases; place them down for future reference, to be related to some law, or for comparison with other circumstances of a like sort.
The power that Nature has of deluding us is endless, and if we stop at these matters she will let us go no further. It is not that any person or power in nature has declared that if we do so and so we must stop, but when one is carried off by what Boehme calls “God’s wonders,” the result is an intoxication that produces confusion of the intellect.
Were one, for instance, to regard every picture seen in the astral light as a spiritual experience, he might truly after a while brook no contradiction upon the subject, but that would be merely because he was drunk with this kind of wine.
While he proceeded with his indulgence and neglected his true progress, which is always dependent upon his purity of motive and conquest of his known or ascertain-able defects, nature went on accumulating the store of illusory appearances with which he satiated himself.
It is certain that any student who devotes himself to these astral happenings will see them increase. But were our whole life devoted to and rewarded by an enormous succession of phenomena, it is also equally certain that the casting off of the body would be the end of all that sort of experience, without our having added really anything to our stock of true knowledge.
The astral plane, which is the same as that of our psychic senses, is as full of strange sights and sounds as an untrodden South American forest, and has to be well understood before the student can stay there long without danger.
While we can overcome the dangers of a forest by the use of human inventions, whose entire object is the physical destruction of the noxious things encountered there, we have no such aids when treading the astral labyrinth. We may be physically brave and say that no fear can enter into us, but no untrained or merely curious seeker is able to say just what effect will result to his outer senses from the attack or influence encountered by the psychical senses.
And the person who revolves selfishly around himself as a center is in greater danger of delusion than any one else, for he has not the assistance that comes from being united in thought with all other sincere seekers.
One may stand in a dark house where none of the objects can be distinguished and quite plainly see all that is illuminated outside; in the same way we can see from out of the blackness of our own house our hearts – the objects now and then illuminated outside by the astral light; but we gain nothing. We must first dispel the inner darkness before trying to see into the darkness without; we must know ourselves before knowing things extraneous to ourselves.
This is not the road that seems easiest to students. Most of them find it far pleasanter and, as they think, faster work, to look on all these outside allurements, and to cultivate all psychic senses, to the exclusion of real spiritual work.
The true road is plain and easy to find, it is so easy that very many would-be students miss it because they cannot believe it to be so simple.
“The way lies through the heart”;
Ask there and wander not;
Knock loud, nor hesitate
Because at first the sounds
Reverberating, seem to mock thee.
Nor, when the door swings wide,
Revealing shadows black as night,
Must thou recoil.
Within, the Master’s messengers
Have waited patiently:
That Master is Thyself!
Path, October, 1887, William Q. Judge
The simple meaning of this beautiful poem is that our spiritual nature is omnipotent – all powerful – when we learn to turn to it, depend on it, do not doubt it and find our refuge in it; it is the Jesu-Christ of the Christian and the Krishna of the Hindu devotee. When our faith is strong it may truly move a mountain. Editors, 2020.
* A spiritual guide is ones Guru, in whom one has full confidence and trust. A ‘spirit guide’ is quite different, often a mayavic astral entity masquerading as a purely spiritual friend, whose appearances are very deceptive: they are elementals or elementaries looking for vicarious ‘pleasures’ through anyone who will let them in.
This footnote by William Q Judge summarizes much of the problem in so many cases heard of. Take heed and do read these lines carefully and often.
To continue reading the well-being series go to the page “On psychic and mental well-being.“