William Q. Judge published Subjects for Discussion on key themes he considered useful for study by individuals and Lodges.
They are presented below and are well recommended for planning meetings or a course of study.
[The pamphlet’s historical Introduction on p.1 has been moved to the end.]
p.2 ………. W. Q. Judge included in every issue of the Theosophical Forum the following statement that preceded the topics for discussion:
“In articles and addresses never use Sanskrit or foreign terms without also giving the English meaning; use English terms preferably.”
THE FOURFOLD LOWER MAN
Is called the Quaternary. Composed of
(2) vital principle or jiva;
(3) astral body, ethereal double, linga sarira;
(4) desires and passions, kama rupa, kama manas or mind ensnared in and tinctured by desires and passions.
Body is a limitation and not a cause. Is the physical instrument needed for this plane? All bodies belong on this plane, our instrument therefore is wholly animal. Its particles constantly changing as admitted by scientific observers.
Vital principle, Jiva, Life. It is universal; pervades every point of space; is derived from the supreme jiva and hence universal; exchanged among all living beings.
Astral body; the ethereal double; Linga Sarira. Its functions and powers; the form or matrix on which the physical is built; it partakes of the nature of the astral matter; describe the latter. Is the seat of the purely personal, but there is reflex automatic action on it from the body as a person. New astral body general rule for each birth, but some carried over from prior birth.
Desires and passions, Kama, and Kama Manas. The turning point; shared with animals, except that they have but little if any manas. This battlefield for man, resembling the Earth itself. Reincarnation; the wheel of rebirth due to the action and reaction of desire and passion.
REBIRTH AND PREEXISTENCE
History and prevalence of the doctrines. Taught by early Christian Fathers, especially Origen. Anciently taught in the East and continued to this day. Prevails over most minds, countries and religions. As taught by Jesus in
St. Matthew, xi, xvi, xvii, regarding John the Baptist; if he was the reincarnation of Elias this must have been under a law of nature. Evolution of soul and character require the doctrines. Something cannot come from nothing; and thus force and variety of character must be accounted for. Rebirth explains many problems. Opportunities offered for growth and discipline. As applied to nations in rise, decline, fall and disappearance. In respect to great geniuses such as Mozart, Bach, Napoleon, and others. Also applied to exceptional cases such as Blind Tom, musical prodigies, and many mathematical geniuses. Without the doctrine the miseries of life, the differences in character and opportunity, the handicaps of birth are not explicable.
THEOSOPHY APPLIED TO LIFE
The Theosophist should apply his theories to practice. Intellectual Theosophy is not of any use to the individual though it may be to others. It leads to hypocrisy. The spiritual or heart doctrine must be learned. The personal element must be understood and conquered. Folly of running after psychic or occult powers. Necessity for virtue, impersonality, charity, etc., in one who evokes any psychic powers. Hence need for performance of every duty in life. Meaning of duty. Our duty to others and to the race. Application of fable of the hare and tortoise to this subject.
KARMA OR COMPENSATION
The law of Justice; of action and reaction. The doctrine in different religions such as Buddhism, Brahmanism and Christianity; responsibility of each man; responsibility of races. Does Karma govern the constant rebirth into one race until full compensation is made and similarity in race tendencies exhausted? Is Karma fate? What kind of fate is it?
THE THREE OBJECTS OF THE SOCIETY
(1) Universal Brotherhood without any distinctions whatever. Why no distinctions? Brotherhood in all kingdoms of nature. The true meaning of caste. Relation of West to East. Relation of man to animals, and animals to man. Difference between Christian and Theosophical ideas of Brotherhood. One Universal Spirit underlying all manifestations. Theosophy works to change man’s inner nature rather than to arrange for socialistic communities or to give him food and clothing. The latter work, however, necessary also to help those thrown down by Karma.
(2) Study of ancient and modern religions, philosophies and sciences; demonstration of the importance of such study. How best to study these. Ancient religions are the remnants of ancient occult bodies. The Aryan philosophy. Has the Theosophical Movement begun with the Theosophical Society? Proper conception of God. Modern Science tending to reflect the teachings of ancient Wisdom. The East the storehouse of wisdom. India has much of it, but the Hindus do not understand their own philosophy. Vedas the oldest books of the Aryan race. Why should Theosophists understand and study Buddhism? Necessity and importance of investigating the origin of Christianity so as to destroy priestcraft, error and superstition. Work of the Theosophical Society in this field.
(3) Investigation of the unexplained laws of nature and psychical powers latent in man. All signs and thought tending in this direction. The object of the Theosophical Society is to investigate, not to experiment. Only students of occultism can comprehend the laws of nature. All Theosophists not Occultists. Hypnotism, mental telepathy, mediumship and psychic feats to be avoided by the student who seek higher wisdom. Why is this? Necessity for the Theosophical Society to explain modern discoveries in this field by the ancient Occult Wisdom.
THE SPIRITUAL MAN
Three principles; Atma, Buddhi, Manas. Called the Higher Triad: the Monad.
Atma. the Spirit; the Higher Self. Meaning of the word. Is part of man, yet universal. Can you say “mine” or “thine” of it? Basis of all manifested nature. The Higher Self cannot manifest without Buddhi, its vehicle. It is to man as Brahma is to the universe.
Buddhi. Atma-Buddhi, the monad not self-conscious. Atma-Buddhi in minerals, plants and animals, as well as man. Buddhi called the spiritual soul. Cannot exist without Atma. It is the vehicle or first veil of Atma. Atma-Buddhi passes through all kingdoms of nature and only when it succeeds in evolving the man stage, becomes self-conscious or manasic. The most mystical of all the principles. Buddhi, the spiritual Will.
Manas. Two phases, higher and lower. Higher, Manas linked with Buddhi. Lower, Manas linked with Kama. Buddhi-Manas and Kama-Manas. Self-conscious in man. Lower Manas the lower self. Lower Manas joined to Kama and the astral body, the personality. How can the lower Manas be united with the higher? Lower Manas a ray of the higher Manas. Called the Father and Son. Have animals Manas? How did Manas originate in the human kingdom? Secret Doctrine teachings concerning the Pitris (Fathers).
State the relation of Atma-Buddhi-Manas to the fourfold lower man.
Meaning of term. Difference between the occult arts and true occultism. Chelaship and adeptship. Necessity for understanding the true meaning of occultism so as to avoid foolish ideas about this. Occultists in all ages; mentioned in Bible and other sacred books. True occultism consists in understanding the inner workings of mind and soul and not in psychic experiments. Occult schools in the East. The West the future of occult science. Great school of Occultism forming in America. No initiates in India, as
Mme. Blavatsky taught. No value in running after personalities; the student must find his spiritual teacher in himself. Difference between modern Christian teaching and the ancient occultism of the followers of Christos. Necessity for purity and aspiration and meditation in order to achieve any occult knowledge. Theosophical Society an occult movement. One must understand the philosophy of Theosophy before he can advance.
SPIRITUALISM AND THEOSOPHY
Difference between the two. The elementaries of the séance rooms not the souls of the dead. Spiritualists the great materializers of spiritual things. “Spirits” an improper term; only one Spirit. What is the cause of the manifestations? Philosophy of this. No student of occult ism will attend séance rooms on account of astral currents and evil influences. The “worship of the dead.” The medium is the opposite end of the pole of development to the occultist. The occultist controls, the medium is controlled. All religions legislated against the raising of the dead. Called sorcery. Mediumship the main tendency to be conquered by western occult students. Summerland, a wrong and pernicious philosophy. Explain why. Difference between the calm of yoga and the excitement arising from communications from the dead. Evils resulting from spiritualism.
English equivalent—union. Signifies the linking of the personal self to the universal Self. “Concentration,” its greatest feature. Concentration best achieved by getting rid of those elements in the nature which prevent its accomplishment. Patanjali’s system. Different kinds of yoga. Raja Yoga the highest—white magic. Tantra Yoga the lowest—black magic. Hatha Yoga sometimes called grey magic; the worst of all, because most delusive. Thousands of Yogis in India. Most of them students of Hatha Yoga; following mere forms and ceremonies, posturings, breathing
exercises and the like. A true yogi can as well be in “communion” at an office desk as in a cave. To be “in the world but not of the world;” the position rightly to be attained by the real anchorite.
A comprehension of the causes of death and of its fundamental nature requires an understanding of the whole theosophical philosophy. Its physical cause the separation of the astral body from the material body. Death often takes place years before the mere physical body ceases to act: e.g. second childhood, where the soul has fled. Brain the last organ active; often active after the heart has ceased to beat or the body to breathe. States after Death. Is it possible to communicate with the dead? What are elementary shells? One cannot live forever; the body will be destroyed when its time comes. Occult meaning of the elixir of Life. Wrong to disturb the dead and draw the souls away from Devachan; this interferes with future incarnations. Philosophy of the separation of the principles; the four lower dividing up, Atma-Buddhi-Manas drawing the lower Manas to the condition of Devachan.
THE ASTRAL LIGHT
The “soul of the world.” The vortex of physical life. The lowest differentiation of akasa or fine substance. The sphere of occult currents and the odic force. Two aspects, the spiritual and the material. Mediums see upside down and from below. The Initiate sees from above in the astral light. Astral light the abode of elementaries, nature spirits, and human elementals. The active residence of black magicians. Weak persons pass into this sphere unconsciously during sleep. Etheric waves and life currents in astral light. Philosophy of the Lotus; roots in the earth (physical world), stalk in the water (astral light), flower in the atmosphere (the spiritual world).
MASTERS AND CHELAS
True Master the higher Self. Initiates always the guiding teachers of those souls not yet progressed. Masters in contact with the Higher Egos. Chelas the disciples of all Masters at first; not until near the end of probation do they come under the direct guidance of individual teachers. Chelas do not see their spiritual teachers until after initiation. Seven years probation, the fixed law of growth. Seven years chelaship necessary because of the change of atoms and astral connections. Masters under the same spiritual rays as their chelas. Nirmanakayas the helpers of men. Many degrees of teachers. Masters in America and other countries.
A state—not a place. The heaven of the lower self united to its spiritual half after death. Corresponds with the Christian idea of Heaven. Spiritualist conception of the “Summerland” an erroneous idea. Length of its duration variable. Normal length for men of this humanity, from 1000 to 1500 years. Soul only enters it after throwing off the connection with the earth-life. A state in which the memory of the spiritual side of the previous lives is awakened. Earth-bound souls, i.e., those who die with powerful ambitions and desires, debarred from entrance there into. Communication with those on earth possible through the medium of the higher Manas.
Part of the great Hindu poem, the Mahabharata. One of the most metaphysical treatises extant. Consists of eighteen discourses, eighteen being the number of this yuga or age. Arjuna the lower ego, Krishna the higher ego. The conversation between these two signifying the thought which every man induces who is thinking about his own nature. Effort of the treatise is to show how to obtain Nirvana or Yoga—union with the spirit. First six chapters
describe the nature of the individual soul, the second six describe the nature of the universal Spirit, and the third signify the condition of him whose soul is united with the Deity. Each chapter has a special meaning in connection with the growth of the soul. Students should understand that there are many interpretations according to the stage of advancement of the reader. The various names in the book refer as much to conditions of the mind as to actual persons and places. What is meaning of action and inaction? The hostile armies meeting on the plain of the Kurus are the two collections of faculties tending to raise up and draw down the human soul.
Modern exhibition of black magic or sorcery. Increasing year by year. The Theosophical philosophy opposed to it. Not understood by science; nor can it be understood with out a knowledge of Occultism. Consists in the injection of auric or odic fluid of one person into the system of another, thus upsetting the vibrations of the atoms of the other’s body. The name “hypnotism” a misnomer, for all subjects do not sleep. Difference between hypnotism and mesmerism explained by article, Lucifer, December 1890 [“Hypnotism,” H.P.B. Articles II, 477].
Theosophists above all, should not practice it, for it destroys the stability of the mind. Diseases cured by hypnotism liable to be transferred to the hypnotist. Hypnotism of all degrees the one thing which the world is striving to rid itself of. A dangerous practice because interfering with the soul development of both the hypnotist and the hypnotized. Theory of vibrations in connection with it. A great deal of it the result of “suggestions” and what used to be called “fascination.” The student of Occultism should above all things prevent his mind being controlled by another. To give himself up to hypnotic suggestion is to throw back his possibilities of advance many years, if not
for a whole lifetime. The errors of hypnotism lie fundamentally in the interference with the free-will of the soul, and secondarily in the upsetting of the psychic currents of the body.
Literal meaning “with the center,” i.e., balance. To hold the mind on any object without thinking of anything but it. One of the practices of occultism. Does not consist in staring at a spot on the wall or anything in particular, but in keeping the mind free from thoughts and desires that draw it away from that upon which it should be placed. Difficulty of concentration in the West, owing to thought indulgences, and want of strength of character. Concentration results from ability to keep the mind fixed upon what ever duty it has to perform. To think of results is to destroy the concentrative power. Hence duty without desire for reward is one phase of it. It differs from meditation, in as much as the latter consists in revolving a matter in the mind in order to understand it, whereas concentration is merely the holding of the mind on the object. Concentration however is a necessary adjunct to meditation. Vanity, egotism, individual affections and preferences, personality of all kinds, the desire for position and wealth, hate, jealousy, fear, are all destroyers of the concentrative faculty. Hence they are to be avoided by the student. Through concentration lies the power of raising the Kundalini or spiritual force. When the mind can hold itself upon its karmic duties without any tendency to flee therefrom to other objects, then it will discover how to unite itself with the spirit.
THE HEART DOCTRINE
Misunderstood by many members of the Society. Not the doctrine of sentiment or emotion. Should be studied as taught by the Voice of the Silence. The real basis of all religious teaching. The only road to progress. The doctrine of true understanding as differing from mere intellectual perception. Differs from “feelings” because unassociated
with personality. The Secret Wisdom. Mind was needed to “embrace the universe,” not to dwarf it; hence needed to verify and to interpret intuition, the resulting experience being the true doctrine of the heart. So it is “doctrine of experience” as witnessed from the heart. Relation of heart and head. Intellect by itself fails. The Higher Manas the true inspirer. Theosophists should be careful not to imagine the heart doctrine as inspiring mere personal preference and affections. True “love” includes all—friends and enemies alike. Great difficulty for the ordinary man to decide between the love which springs from personal magnetism and emotion, and that which arises from the heart. So called enemies often our best friends because they develop us the most quickly. To the occultist there is neither friend nor enemy nor distinction of persons nor personal antagonism; and this is not because of the mere emotion of a day, but as a result of the true heart doctrine which embraces all things in nature, and studies and learns from all.
THE FUNDAMENTAL PROPOSITIONS OF “SECRET DOCTRINE”
Their metaphysical basis. To be found indirectly in all great religions and philosophies. Their universal application.
(a) Necessary to postulate fundamental unity. Religion, science and philosophies concur. Study of unity under three aspects of consciousness, life (spirit or force) and matter. This applies to man, atom and universe. These three aspects are interchangeable, for ethics can be stated in terms of force and science in terms of consciousness. Events, doctrines and humanity should be considered from each standpoint. Impersonality helped in this way, for man is seen as a center through which the One manifests as any of the above universal principles.
(b) On this the doctrines of reincarnation, Karma, cyclic law, etc., are based. General theory of cyclic law: that of expansion and contraction, of periodicity and vibration. As applied to
universe, to earth, races, man, daily life. The cause of birth and death. Habits. The connection of the “pairs of opposites” with this law.
(c) The dependence of this proposition on the two preceding. A deduction drawn from them. The pilgrimage of the monad; and of the Ego. The difference between these. The three streams of evolution: that of monad, of Thinker, of matter. Their meeting in man. The superiority of this to materialistic view. Are souls separate from each other? When will the “pilgrimage” cease?
THE ASTRAL LIGHT
The ether of occult science. Lowest plane of the Hindu akasa. The World-Soul, that out of which all visible manifested nature proceeds. Akasa is the fine substance out of which is spun and constructed every visible form and invisible being. The action of the Purusha or spirit in the akasa produces the manifested universe. The astral light is the sphere of akasa nearest our physical earth. Therefore, the playground of unseen forces producing all the growths and movements and evolution of the vegetable and other kingdoms. Efficient comprehension of the astral light and its properties enables the seer to understand all the workings of nature. Dangerous because also the receptacle of mind forces and conscious and subconscious thoughts. Mediums influenced by its forces liable to lose mental grip. True occultist will never allow any astral power to over come his intelligence. Clairvoyants and psychics, not possessed of occult power or union with the Supreme, utterly untrustworthy. Astral light has two phases; looked at from above, seen aright; looked at from below, all powers and elemental beings and sights inverted. Theosophists inclined to dabble in mediumship and desiring sight-seeing, should remember the statement of H.P.B. that some of the highest occultists never look into the astral light at all; they would not degrade themselves by passing into that region. The sphere of evil thoughts and desires. The abode of elementals and nature spirits. The sphere of disintegrating
“shells,” elementaries, spooks, earth bound souls; looked at from the physical sphere of ordinary human life, the degrader of intelligence and the soul. Aim of the student to get rid of its influence. All men, save occultists, influenced by it more or less. One aim of Theosophy to instruct men in coming age of psychism to avoid astral influences. This is done by giving the real philosophy of Astral Light. Hence Theosophists should study carefully the doctrine, but not experiment in these regions.
DESIRES AND PASSIONS – KAMA
Different classes of desire. Those related to physical existence; bodily appetites and tendencies. Those of the mind, such as pride, ambition, etc. Higher desires for spiritual progress. How all these are often intermixed. From what does desire arise?
Is it from polarity or what? Desire expressed in animal and other kingdoms. Correspondence or likeness between chemical affinity and desire. The difference between the two. The position and relation of desire to and among the other human principles. Compare this with the view of modern psychology. Relation between will and desire. What is weak will? Is there absolutely such a thing, or is the “weak willed” one who has many desires pulling in various ways?
A comprehensive law of nature. To be found without exception in the growth of all beings. A key to the future. Vibration the basis of it. Originates in the ever-seeking of the two poles of nature to unify. The separation of spirit and matter at the commencement of existence causes a tendency of the one to pass to the other and vice versa. From this results vibration. To be found in all departments of nature; day and night, summer and winter, heat and cold, waking and sleeping, light and darkness, life and death; a perpetual series. Hence reincarnation the necessary conclusion. Application of the law to racial development, to wars, to famines, etc.;
also to the growth and fall of civilizations. Men, races, planets, universes, cosmos ruled by this absolute, immutable law.
NATURE’S FINER FORCES
Intelligent appreciation of the finer forces of nature necessary. Science takes no account of the action of these forces, it merely observes their effects. The growth of trees and animals resultant from action of intelligent energy. Ancient Aryans taught that there were seven different forces corresponding to the seven senses—two of which are not now known to the ordinary man—called the mahabhutas or tatwas by the Hindus. The action of Purusha or Spirit in Prakriti or Matter throws it into seven different conditions and causes it to generate in seven different ways. On our planet this produces the seven kingdoms, i.e., the three elemental, mineral, vegetable, animal and human. In the Cosmos it produces the seven hierarchies of spiritual beings and planets. All nature an outbreathing and inbreathing. Man only lives by such action. The finer currents of nature also subject to the same law, hence positive and negative. Astral light the field for play of grosser forces exercising in this sphere; hence not recognized by ordinary men. Many finer currents in the body than those passing through the veins, arteries and nerves. Hypnotism indicates the existence of some of these; clairvoyant sight, that of others. The mind the great controller and exciter of these currents. By controlling the mind the body can be overcome, and through that the whole of nature; placing all under the dominance of spiritual perception.
Two phases, higher and lower. In theosophical terminology differs from the Higher Self. Key to Theosophy should be carefully studied for such definition. The ego commonly called manas or human mind or soul. Lower ego the personality with its desires. The higher ego that phase of
the human soul united to the spirit. Object of attainment to unite the higher and lower egos. This is accomplished after death by most persons. The aim should be to complete the union before death. Initiation.
Necessity for the study of this. Nature’s productions all symbols of an underlying intelligence. Symbolism of the Hindus and Egyptians, Serpent symbolical of wisdom; square, of matter; triangle, of spirit; crux ansata, of life. Meaning of interlaced triangles, of svastica, of pentagon, of caduceus. Seal of the T.S.A. Symbolism of cross and circle. Christianity full of uninterpreted symbols. Reasons for the power attaching to certain forms, such as five-pointed star.
Known to the ancients. Modern science has merely revivified it. Cannot be properly understood unless the soul is considered as a factor also. The Secret Doctrine teaches three kinds of evolution—body, soul, spirit. Meaning of “the stone becomes a plant, plant an animal, animal a man, man a god.” Links between the kingdoms not found by science. Exists on other planets and globes. To understand evolution properly the inner spheres or heavens must be studied. Man’s progenitors, astral and spiritual. Evolution of the mind and soul. Relation to Karma.
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
Theosophy in all ages and religions. The present T.S. only one manifestation of the movement. Occultism in connection with it. Historical evidences of its existence in the past. Revivification of the movement once every hundred years or thereabout.
Duties of workers and members towards the movement. Non-attachment to forms and mere organizations as such. Similarities existing between Masonic bodies and the present movement. Many societies, autonomous,
with but one philosophy and aim—all parts of one whole. What is the real effort of the movement? How far is it possible to form the nucleus of Universal Brotherhood?
Doctrine of soulless beings. Important to know that one’s immortality is conditional. Meaning of the phrase “loss of the soul”; bad term because not fully expressing what is intended. It is entire separation of the higher manas from the lower manas and consequent absence of all that is spiritual in lower man. Lower manas is the only part of the lower man incarnated in the body and associated with earth that can achieve immortality. And this is only done by its uniting itself with its other half, the higher manas. Life in Devachan only results from this. But strictly by immortality is meant the eternal life of the self, the human personal being. This will live throughout the ages if fully absorbed into its higher nature. Meaning of the phrase in Isis Unveiled, “We elbow soulless men and women in every walk of life.” Such beings after death, not being united to their spiritual egos, live but a short while in some of the various inner regions. The spiritual ego creates a new lower manas or vehicle and commences again a new incarnation. This is the new personality and is frequently attacked by the dying remnant of the past. This produces all those unaccounted for desires and impressions in everybody. It has been said that a single pure aspiration during one incarnation will insure the immortality of the lower ego and spiritual possibilities in the future.
The link between the higher and lower manas. Important for study as being the one approach to spirituality in the mind of man. Only acts when the consciousness is nor mal. During sleep it has no existence. A mode of consciousness, not a principle. Higher manas and lower manas separated during the period of incarnation, save in
the case of an Initiate. Antaskarana, the link between them, is a projection of the lower manas toward the higher. All persons project this condition of soul into spiritual regions. The link increases in power if the energy which produced it is steadily maintained. Liable to be temporarily cut off however if not energized perpetually. Antaskarana the “battlefield” of the personality, spoken of in the Voice of the Silence. Battlefield disappears when the term of struggle ends. Through Antaskarana come all the higher impulsions during any life. Music, art, poetry, if truly spiritual, come from this source as much as philosophy. Careful distinction to be made between sentimentality and true inspiration. Antaskarana may be so strengthened as eventually to awaken the full nature of the human being, and a link thus formed between higher and lower manas cannot be readily broken. If once accomplished it is always possible for the lower manas to unite itself with its “father” again at any moment.
Space full of them. Nearly all persons more or less affected by them, though unseen. Study of them and their actions, the work of many great minds of the past. Elementals—the individualized nature’s forces. Elementaries—the shells of the dead. Effort of the student to prevent psychic influences. Dangers resulting from attending spiritualistic seances. Real souls of the dead not in the astral light. Its denizens largely the effect of the action of thought on the part of human beings. Four kinds of “nature’s spirits,” called by the Rosicrucians those of earth, water, air and fire. This refers to the intelligences behind all things, and the true science of the spirit of the different conditions of nature. Those four “elements” of the ancients were not really elements as the term is now understood, but states of matter—physical, liquid, gaseous, and etheric or fiery. The laws governing these states are the expression of the intelligences behind the astral entities. Ether, part of the astral light. Materializations, spirit rappings, independent
voice, mediumship, obsession, possession all explained in Theosophical literature. Students should fully comprehend the explanations given so as to have intelligent knowledge of the subject.
Action of the ego in a material vehicle. Different kinds of thought, spiritual, intellectual, and animal. The last is little more than desire. Presence of the lower manas in the human animal causes the passions of the latter to be mixed with the mind and to become vices. Difficulty of preventing the mind so mixing with the ordinary animal nature. Should control it and not be controlled by it. The mind discolored by whatever it focuses itself upon. This is the so-called thought of most persons. Difficulty of discovering a pure thought. Influences coming from the presence of other people, from our training and education, and from our desires to be avoided. The only correct thought is that which comes from the spiritual being, the higher ego. Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms necessary for study. Few Theosophists, any more than other people, consider the necessity for going into their natures and discovering the true causes of their various actions, endeavors and aspirations. Thought the most fleeting and uncontrolled action of all. To hold it steady upon one object, and that a spiritual one, the one in accord with the destiny of the man, should be the endeavor.
STUDY OF THE “SECRET DOCTRINE”
Contains general information directing thought of the world to spiritual nature, sufficient for centuries. Volumes should be first studied so as to discover general laws: all nature alive; evolution; no death in the universe; cycles; astral, psychic and spiritual spheres; progression of planets, continents, races and men. Each volume divided into three parts:
(a) the philosophy,
(b) proofs by religion,
(c) proofs by science.
In studying to grasp the teachings and
science effort should be made to get at the spirit rather than to learn all the statements and Sanskrit names. Secret Doctrine not the last word.
Statement of H.P.B. that she only started the thought of the world in this direction. The work intended to awaken the intuitions more than the analytical mind. Apparent contradictions in it stand out as such only to those who read with preconceived notions. Students should try to get to the center of standpoint from which the work was written. Secret Doctrine can only be fully understood by those who can reach to the same development as the writer of it. Effort to be made to reach to that plane.
Phase of the mind important to understand as an aspect of the imagination. Its relation to psychism. A cause of rebirth. Fatal to concentration or living in the present. Difference however between observing the past and living in the past. Its relation to future selfish hopes. The cause of desires. Teaching of all sages summed up in “look not behind or thou art lost” Distinction between reminiscence, recollection and memory. Why do most people not remember past lives? Memory of events to be distinguished from memory of experience. Memory one great cause of the sorrows of the world. Uselessness of remorse. Students should practice to prevent the mind turning over and over again the past. Difficulty of this. Past, present and future unknown to the seer; all absorbed in the Eternal. Memory may be defined as a getting into the old astral currents. Dangers of this. Daydreaming and vacancy of mind an effect. To the extent one lives over his past mentally does he tend to act it over again externally; hence, memory the great cause of habits. Memory not only confined to the mind, but also exists in the bodily organs and atoms. Hence great difficulty of purifying the body. Seven years often necessary. Relation of memory to knowledge.
Theosophy is not Buddhism, which is one of the great exoteric world-religions. Founded by Gautama Buddha, once prince of Kapilavastu, who was born about the year 621 B.C. Maya, his mother, commonly believed by Buddhists to have been a virgin, like the mother of nearly every “Savior,” but the Buddhist Scriptures do not state this. He performed many “miracles,” but never claimed to be more than all men might in time become, stating he had reached enlightenment through his own exertions. Belonged to the Kshattriya or warrior caste, the old teachers of the Brahmans. Did not found a new religion, but was a reformer of priest-ridden Hinduism, substituting for it the old trans Himalayan and Kshattriya doctrines. He taught that only a knower of Brahma was a true Brahman and that birth in the Brahman caste did not confer any moral privilege. Incurred the hatred of the orthodox. Had an exoteric and esoteric doctrine, the latter (Theosophy) the same as the esoteric side of every true religion. This fact denied by Max Muller and other Orientalists, but is clearly stated in the Saddharma-Pundarika, chapter V, verses 1-4, and elsewhere. The Southern Buddhism of today the outcome of Buddha’s exoteric teaching. It is materialistic compared to Northern Buddhism, which is the outcome of Buddha’s esotericism, though corrupt and overgrown with Indian and Bhon exotericism. Buddhism the only bloodless religion. Never persecuted others, but its followers were persecuted by Brahmans. Buddha, like Jesus, left no writings known to the world. The “Triple Basket,” or Buddhist canon, arranged at the first council after Buddha’s death. The Vinaya-pitaka, or discipline; the Sutta-pitaka, or discourses of Buddha; the Abhidamma-pitaka, or metaphysics (not yet translated). These teach Karma, Reincarnation, the purest ethics. Are pessimistic in regard to earth life. Buddhism followed today by over one-third of the human race.
Definition of the term. A spiritualistic one, meaning the characteristic of one who gives himself up to psychic influences and becomes the medium for their play. Medium is controlled by astral forces. Many with psychic power not however mediums. Mediumship more common than suspected. Does not always consist of seeing clairvoyantly or being psychically controlled, but often manifests in other ways. Drunkards, and those unable to control their passions, probably mediumistic. Persons uncontrolled generally, come under the title. Mediumship overcome by creating positivity of character, and particularly by pre venting the mind from wandering and from general passivity of disposition. Spiritualistic mediums and those “sitting” for control, become disorganized nervously and physically in a very short time. Astral body is separated from the physical body and given up to the mercy of the shells of the dead. Practice demoralizing in every aspect. External forces rush in and the brain becomes affected. Hence lying, and falsifying generally, often goes hand in hand with the more complete phases. Part of the work of the Theosophical movement to cure the world of mediumship in all phases. United States a “hot-bed” of psychism, and philosophy alone can cure the condition. Warning against being misled by mediumistic communications instead of by interior intuition.
THE THIRD OBJECT OF THE SOCIETY
“To study and investigate the psychic and other powers latent in man.” Generally misunderstood. Taken as applying only to astral powers, which are of the least importance. Psyche means soul or breath, and “psychic powers” here mean soul powers. The power of mind over matter. The power of the soul over the mind and kamic nature, of self-restraint. The power of concentration. The power of the will and of the imagination to create forms on all planes of form. The power of the mind generally to generate force.
Thought as a power. The power to understand one’s real motives. The power to trace a thought to its source. The power to discriminate between the real and the unreal; between right and wrong. The power to “hear from within” by making the mind receptive to higher impressions. The great power of keeping silent in speech and thought. The last is rarely cultivated; yet it is of the first importance. Of much more value than astral clairvoyance or clairaudience. And these are not usually “powers,” since they are spasmodic and entirely beyond control as a rule. The best way to cultivate any of these real powers is in the small affairs of life. The highest powers that are used by the Adept are latent in ordinary man, who uses many of them unconsciously, for the higher is present in the lower though not fully expressed or understood. The powers all men exercise in dream; in daily instances of mental telepathy. “Brain-waves.” These powers should be studied and investigated. The importance of observing one’s daily experience. Too many people learn nothing from it because they are in too great a hurry and because they have not realized that the things and events nearest to them are often the most mysterious. No need to go to seances or to some other part of the world to study occult powers. They are within us. They surround us. The laws governing them should be discovered. So every member who studies and properly investigates himself is following the third object of the Society.
THE PHYSICAL BODY
Built onto and into its prototype, the astral body. No hard and fast division between these two “sheaths The nervous system closest in touch with the astral body. The brain and nervous system one form of the Ashwattha growing “with its roots above and its branches below.” Body composed of millions of “lives,” of which the microbes of science are one form. These “lives” compose all things in nature, from a tree to an elephant. Their ceaseless motion.
They arrange themselves as cells. Cells are ideal forms. The body the most illusionary of the principles; momentary changes in its composition. On the death of the body, these “lives,” no longer correlated, run riot as destructive agents, having become separative. Every “life” has a consciousness of its own, with certain tendencies and desires. Selective action of the cells, taking from the blood what they need, rejecting the rest, proves this. The healing of a wound by these “lives;” without the conscious participation of the human mind. Every cell has a centralized or specialized consciousness. In combination these produce a further centralization of consciousness in the organs, each with its “presiding deity.” All these with habits and desires of their own. One meaning of the Hindu “crores of gods.” The heart the particular organ of manas; the liver and spleen the organs of kama. Many desires and tendencies of man arise from foolish identification of himself with these bodily desires. The effect of heredity, family and national, on the moral and physical character of the body. Possible to greatly extend the life of the body through knowledge of its occult properties and the laws governing it.
The continuous teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita. The ethical teaching of this book is scientific. “If thou wilt not perform the duty of thy calling and fight out the field, thou wilt abandon thy natural duty and thy honor, and be guilty of a crime.” One’s “natural duty” the result of Karma. This must be worked through. When worked through it falls off, as the old skin from a serpent. In the general economy of nature, to attempt the duty of another creates confusion. No action is perfectly pure, and one’s own natural duty, as the result of one’s own thoughts and acts in this life and in past lives, should be performed even though it be stained with faults. If performed as a duty, unselfishly and without attachment to results, good will ensue for oneself and for all men. For it is not sufficient to do one’s
own duty; it must be done as a duty owed to the supreme Self, with that motive in view. All this especially applies to thought, as every act originates in the mind.
Especially avoid the duty of another in thought. The homely saying, “To mind one’s own business,” should be taken as applying chiefly to the mind. The results of an action once performed cannot be altered; the law deals with results. Therefore the results should be mentally left to the law; or “offered to the Supreme.” The folly of worrying over results; of regrets, of fears and hopes in regard to them. Beyond our reach; why then waste time and force on such things if no practical object is to be gained? The difficulty of discovering one’s duty in many cases due to an attempt to do so before the necessity has arrived. When in doubt as to a duty one should stand still. The result of living according to these rules is a purification or clarification of the mind, which is the vehicle of the soul. Following this clarification comes illumination, from within outwards.
Wrongly called Fire-Worship, Mazdaism, Parseeism. Magism, and Sun-Worship. Founded by the first Zarathustra or Zoroaster, prehistorically. Thirteen Zoroasters are mentioned in the Dabistan, one of their sacred books. “Zoroaster” being a generic name like “Christ.” The last of them lived about 2000 B.C., but the date is very uncertain. The Bible is called the Zend-Avesta and is divided up into the Vendidad, the Yasna, the Gathas, etc., the last named being the oldest portion. Gathas written in Zend, probably a form of the Zensar, from which the Stanzas in the Secret Doctrine were translated. In the historical period Zoroastrianism was the religion of Bactria and Persia for many centuries, until the latter country was over-run by Mohamedans about 642 A.D. Many Parsis then emigrated to India, from that time gradually losing the original meaning of their scriptures. About 90,000 of them in India today. Zend-Avesta teaches that Unity is at the root of all things;
that this Unity manifests as a duality called Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu (modernized as Ormuzd and Ahriman), symbolizing the good and evil, positive and negative, and other opposite principles in nature. These are absorbed into the Unity at the close of the Manvantara. Reincarnation is taught and the Seven Principles of man.
Not to be confused with impulse, which is kamic. Impulse is always towards action. Intuition rarely so. May be tested in that way. It is synthetic and not analytic; will often instantaneously explain a series of events, ideas, actions. The action of Buddhi on this plane. Both reason and intuition necessary; reason to be used as interpreter and verifier.
In October, 1895, the sixth issue of the new Forum series, Mr. Judge inserted the following note:
Some members have taken the statements of these syllabuses as being didactic and authoritative teachings. They should not be so taken as they are merely analyses of theosophical subjects made by different persons and are intended simply as suggesting certain lines of thought, study, and work. They are an attempt to fill a long-felt need among the Branches and to give each center a good outline for discussion at its meetings; but nothing more is intended, and they should not be taken as authoritative.
IN May, 1895, Mr. Judge announced that The Theosophical Forum, (a small monthly pamphlet containing questions and answers on Theosophy) “enters upon a new life and era.” Henceforth, he said, “it will be issued from the office of the President and under his direction.” In other words, Mr. Judge, then the president of the Theosophical Society in America, took total responsibility for the Forum. He also said there would be changes:
Editorial treatment of topics by W.Q.J., C.F.W., and others who hold similar views, will also vary from the past; and as to this it can now be observed that if the treatment of several subjects shall seem inconsistent with what was said in the old series, the inconsistency will be due to a present more definite and rigorous application of theosophical theories to the questions in hand rather than the mechanical and narrow view formerly obtaining.
This is the primary reason why “Forum” Answers, published by the Theosophy Company in 1982, consists only of the answers made by Mr. Judge to questions sent to the Theosophical Forum from 1889 to February, 1896.
At the end of the first issue of the “new” Forum, Mr. Judge inaugurated a section titled “Subjects for Discussion;” consisting of condensed paragraphs on various subjects considered useful for discussion and study by individuals and Branches of the Society. In view of Mr. Judge’s statement that the Forum was under his direction, it may be assumed that he either wrote or approved of these items. Present-day students of Theosophy will find them of value.
They are reprinted here as they were presented in the Forum, from May 1895 through March 1896.