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botanical substances

Feb 09, 2002 01:34 PM
by adelasie

Dear Steve and/or Brigitte,

Last week I asked for references to support a statement made by Steve 
to the effect that HPB said that she and the Masters used "botanical 
substances." I find the following quote to be the only thing offered 
of HPB's writings with page numbers, to allow one to look it up, and 
thanks for that.

"This way of obtaining oracles was practiced in the
highest antiquity. In India, this sublime lethargy is
called 'the sacred sleep of ***' It is an oblivion
into which the subject is thrown by certain magical
processes, supplemented by draughts of the juice of
the soma. The body of the sleeper remains for several
days in a condition resembling death, and by the power
of the adept is purified of its earthliness and made
fit to become the temporary receptacle of the
brightness of the immortal Augoeides. ... The sleeper
takes no note of the lapse of time, but upon
awakening, after four or five days of trance, imagines
he has slept but a few moments." (Isis 1.357-8)

The paragraph continues:

"What his lips utter he will never know; but as it is the spirit 
which directs them they can pronounce nothing but divine truth. For 
the time being the poor helpless clod is made the shrine of the 
sacred presence, and converted into an oracle a thousand times more 
infallible than the asphyxiated Pythoness of Delphi; and, unlike her 
mantic frenzy, which was exhibited before the multitude, this holy 
sleep is witnessed only within the sacred precinct by those few of 
the adepts who are worthy to stand in the presence of the ADONAI."

This is an account of a practice which obtained in ancient times in 
India, in which a person is purified and made ready to accept the 
spirit of the god for the purposes of speaking divine truth to those 
who have the right to hear. 

How does this passage support the statement that was made, to the 
effect that HPB and the Masters used "botanical substances?" It would 
seem that the work of the founders of theosophy in the 19th century 
was very different from what is described here.

I am interested to understand what connection you see.


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