RE: Theosophy and Science == Part I Oculr Science
Feb 18, 2002 05:38 PM
Monday, February 18, 2002
Re Theosophy and Science -- Occult Science Part I
One of the great problems in studying science is the fact that it
confines itself largely to material observations and seeks to
derive hypothetical causes from observed effects.
Theosophy says that the real situation is a reversal of that.
it states that the physical is an effect of the interior
causative, astral, psychic, mental and spiritual actions and
The problem is of securing information about those hidden levels
of causative force.
Evidence for the astral is widely available, but is not to be
easily tapped using physical apparatus. For instance no physical
sight on an atom has been secured, but the effects of the forces
associated with atoms have been seen as they affect physical
substances nearby. No one "sees" the Sun. But the effect of the
inner POWER of that center of Cosmic energy registers as it
affects the materials surrounding it. We think it is fiery, but
Theosophy says it is electro-magnetic in nature.
WE speak of electricity. We do not know what it is in itself.
We are only able to perceive and use its EFFECTS -- as in ELECTRO
MAGNETISM, as in HEAT, etc... In other words as physical
scientists and users of these and other forces we use their
effect. We do not contact them directly.
Take our bodies. They are ultimately made up of vast quantities
of cells, molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic "particles," etc... to
the average person this means very little. Yet each of us has a
distinct concept of the form he lives in and uses. And so do
other people who identify him (or her) by their looks, their
voice, and other factors that distinguish them from others.
What is it that makes the cells go to the places where the body
needs them? How is it that they KNOW how to cooperate in forming
various organs or structures, such as bones, skin, veins, the
breathing apparatus and the digestive system ? We do not know
enough to control and guide them intelligently.
Medicine is a constantly growing and improving science as
observations are pile daily on other observations and gradually a
knowledge of many minds of interactions arise. Psychology and
mental and emotional functions are broadly described, but
individual variations are usually a puzzle and an area for
experiment and adjustment when something "goes wrong."
Now, if we desire to know something about the exoteric and the
secret sciences that are hinted in the very little we are told of
occultism, we have to enter a still more difficult area of
discipline and observation.
Theosophy in its composite philosophy that unites the physical to
the emotional and the mental and both of these to the Spiritual
nature in man and Nature is one of the gateways to this deeper
We question the validity of an ethical or a moral discipline
because we have been brought up to seek to evade the consequences
of wrong moral or ethical choices. We have not been brought up
to actually practice rigidly and all the time the VIRTUES. We
believe that if we are not seen and if we leave no evidence, we
can escape the justice that would demand retribution, publicly,
for any errors we deliberately or in moments of inattention do.
If we think of ourselves as "Christians," then of what value to
us are the injunctions of the SERMON ON THE MOUNT, if we and our
parents, friends, elders and family do not practice them?
Children astutely and quickly pick up the evasions of their
elders, and then believe that evasion is the skill to be learned
and practiced. Can we blame them for misdeeds when we, the
elders make ourselves living illustrations of deceit?
But these are questions and subjects we have to deal with, each
one of us in our own private thoughts ands reflections.
Occultism demands of us the practice at all time of all the
virtues. That is placed most simply and directly before us as a
sine qua non condition of being admitted to any true Spiritual or
Without trying to offer more than an introduction to this
subject, let me introduce here some of the words of H P B
(written in 1883 in the "Supplement" to the THEOSOPHIST Magazine,
and published "By order.":
On : CHELAS AND LAY CHELAS
As the word Chela [disciple, pupil] has, among others, been
introduced by Theosophy into the nomenclature of Western
metaphysics, ...it will be as well if some more definite
explanation ...is given with respect to the meaning of this term
and the rules of Chelaship, for the benefit of our ...members.
A "Chela" then, is one who has offered himself or herself as a
pupil to learn practically the "hidden mysteries of Nature and
the psychical powers latent in man." The spiritual teacher to
whom he proposes his candidature is called in India a Guru; and
the real Guru is always an Adept in the Occult Science. A man of
profound knowledge, exoteric and esoteric, especially the latter;
and one who has brought his carnal nature under subjection of the
WILL; who has developed in himself both the power (Siddhi) to
control the forces of nature, and the capacity to probe her
secrets by the help of the formerly latent but now active powers
of his being:--this is the real Guru.
To offer oneself as a candidate for Chelaship is easy enough, to
develop into an Adept the most difficult task any man could
possibly undertake. There are scores of "natural-born" poets,
mathematicians, mechanics, statesmen, etc., but a natural-born
Adept is something practically impossible. For, though we do hear
at very rare intervals of one who has an extraordinary innate
capacity for the acquisition of occult knowledge and power, yet
even he has to pass the self-same tests and probations, and go
through the same self-training as any less endowed fellow
aspirant. In this matter it is most true that there is no royal
road by which favorites may travel.
For centuries the selection of Chelas--outside the hereditary
group within the gon-pa (temple)--has been made by the Himalayan
Mahatmas themselves from among the class--in Tibet, a
considerable one as to number--of natural mystics. The only
exceptions have been in the cases of Western men like Fludd,
Thomas Vaughan, Paracelsus, Pico di Mirandola, Count St. Germain,
etc., whose temperamental affinity to this celestial science more
or less forced the distant Adepts to come into personal relations
with them, and enabled them to get such small (or large)
proportion of the whole truth as was possible under their social
>From Book IV of Kiu-te, Chapter on "the Laws of Upasanas," we
learn that the qualifications expected in a Chela were:--
1. Perfect physical health;
2. Absolute mental and physical purity;
3. Unselfishness of purpose; universal charity; pity for all
4. Truthfulness and unswerving faith in the law of Karma,
independent of any power in nature that could interfere: a law
whose course is not to be obstructed by any agency, not to be
caused to deviate by prayer or propitiatory exoteric ceremonies;
5. A courage undaunted in every emergency, even by peril to life;
6. An intuitional perception of one's being the vehicle of the
manifested Avalokitesvara or Divine Atman (Spirit);
7. Calm indifference for, but a just appreciation of everything
that constitutes the objective and transitory world, in its
relation with, and to, the invisible regions.
Such, at the least, must have been the recommendations of one
aspiring to perfect Chelaship. With the sole exception of the
1st, which in rare and exceptional cases might have been
modified, each one of these points has been invariably insisted
upon, and all must have been more or less developed in the inner
nature by the Chela's UNHELPED EXERTIONS, before he could be
actually put to the test.
When the self-evolving ascetic--whether in, or outside the active
world--had placed himself, according to his natural capacity,
above, hence made himself master of, his
and is ready to become one with his Manas--mind;
Buddhi--intellection, or spiritual intelligence; and
Atma--highest soul, i.e., spirit. When he is ready for this, and,
further, to recognize in Atma the highest ruler in the world of
perceptions, and in the will, the highest executive energy
(power), then may he, under the time-honoured rules, be taken in
hand by one of the Initiates.
He may then be shown the mysterious path at whose thither end the
Chela is taught the unerring discernment of Phala, or the fruits
of causes produced, and given the means of reaching,
Apavarga--emancipation, from the misery of repeated births (in
whose determination the ignorant has no hand), and thus of
But since the advent of the Theosophical Society, one of whose
arduous tasks it was to re-awaken in the Aryan mind the dormant
memory of the existence of this science and of those transcendent
human capabilities, the rules of Chela selection have become
slightly relaxed in one respect.
Many members of the Society becoming convinced by practical proof
upon the above points, and rightly enough thinking that if other
men had hitherto reached the goal, they too if inherently fitted,
might reach it by following the same path, pressed to be taken as
candidates. And as it would be an interference with Karma to deny
them the chance of at least beginning--since they were so
importunate, they were given it.
The results have been far from encouraging so far, and it is to
show these unfortunates the cause of their failure as much as to
warn others against rushing heedlessly upon a similar fate, that
the writing of the present article has been ordered. The
candidates in question, though plainly warned against it in
advance, began wrong by selfishly looking to the future and
losing sight of the past.
They forgot that they had done nothing to deserve the rare honour
of selection, nothing which warranted their expecting such a
privilege; that they could boast of none of the above enumerated
merits. As men of the selfish, sensual world, whether married or
single, merchants, civilian or military employees, or members of
the learned professions, they had been to a school most
calculated to assimilate them to the animal nature, least so to
develop their spiritual potentialities.
Yet each and all had vanity enough to suppose that their case
would be made an exception to the law of countless centuries'
establishment as though, indeed, in their person had been born to
the world a new Avatar! All expected to have hidden things
taught, extraordinary powers given them because--well, because
they had joined the Theosophical Society. Some had sincerely
resolved to amend their lives, and give up their evil courses; we
must do them that justice, at all events.
All were refused at first, Col. Olcott, the President, himself,
to begin with; and as to the latter gentleman there is now no
harm in saying that he was not formally accepted as a Chela until
he had proved by more than a year's devoted labours and by a
determination which brooked no denial, that he might safely be
Then from all sides came complaints--from Hindus, who ought to
have known better, as well as from Europeans who, of course, were
not in a condition to know anything at all about the rules. The
cry was that unless at least a few Theosophists were given the
chance to try, the Society could not endure.
Every other noble and unselfish feature of our programme was
ignored--a man's duty to his neighbour, to his country, his duty
to help, enlighten, encourage and elevate those weaker and less
favoured than he; all were trampled out of sight in the insane
rush for adeptship.
The call for phenomena, phenomena, phenomena, resounded in every
quarter, and the Founders were impeded in their real work and
teased importunately to intercede with the Mahatmas, against whom
the real grievance lay, though their poor agents had to take all
At last, the word came from the higher authorities that a few of
the most urgent candidates should be taken at their word. The
result of the experiment would perhaps show better than any
amount of preaching what Chelaship meant, and what are the
consequences of selfishness and temerity.
Each candidate was warned that he must wait for years in any
event, before his fitness could be proven, and that he must pass
through a series of tests that would bring out all there was in
him, whether bad or good. They were nearly all married men and
hence were designated "Lay Chelas"--a term new in English, but
having long had its equivalent in Asiatic tongues. A Lay Chela is
but a man of the world who affirms his desire to become wise in
Virtually, every member of the Theosophical Society who
subscribes to the second of our three "Declared Objects" is such;
for though not of the number of true Chelas, he has yet the
possibility of becoming one, for he has stepped across the
boundary-line which separated him from the Mahatmas, and has
brought himself, as it were, under their notice. In joining the
Society and binding himself to help along its work, he has
pledged himself to act in some degree in concert with those
Mahatmas, at whose behest the Society was organized, and under
whose conditional protection it remains.
The joining is then, the introduction; all the rest depends
entirely upon the member himself, and he need never expect the
most distant approach to the "favor" of one of our Mahatmas, or
any other Mahatmas in the world--should the latter consent to
become known--that has not been fully earned by personal merit.
The Mahatmas are the servants, not the arbiters of the Law of
LAY-CHELASHIP CONFERS NO PRIVILEGE UPON ANY ONE EXCEPT THAT OF
WORKING FOR MERIT UNDER THE OBSERVATION OF A MASTER. And whether
that Master be or be not seen by the Chela makes no difference
whatever as to the result: his good thoughts, words and deeds
will bear their fruits, his evil ones, theirs.
To boast of Lay Chelaship or make a parade of it, is the surest
way to reduce the relationship with the Guru to a mere empty
name, for it would be primâ facie evidence of vanity and
unfitness for farther progress. And for years we have been
teaching everywhere the maxim "First deserve, then desire"
intimacy with the Mahatmas.
Now there is a terrible law operative in nature, one which cannot
be altered, and whose operation clears up the apparent mystery of
the selection of certain "Chelas" who have turned out sorry
specimens of morality, these few years past. Does the reader
recall the old proverb, "Let sleeping dogs lie"? There is a world
of occult meaning in it. No man or woman knows his or her moral
strength until it is tried. Thousands go through life very
respectably, because they were never put to the pinch. This is a
truism doubtless, but it is most pertinent to the present case.
One who undertakes to try for Chelaship by that very act rouses
and lashes to desperation every sleeping passion of his animal
nature. For this is the commencement of a struggle for the
mastery in which quarter is neither to be given nor taken. It is,
once for all, "To be, or Not to be"; to conquer, means ADEPTSHIP;
to fail, an ignoble Martyrdom: for to fall victim to lust, pride,
avarice, vanity, selfishness, cowardice, or any other of the
lower propensities, is indeed ignoble, if measured by the
standard of true manhood.
The Chela is not only called to face all the latent evil
propensities of his nature, but, in addition, the whole volume of
maleficent power accumulated by the community and nation to which
he belongs. For he is an integral part of those aggregates, and
what affects either the individual man, or the group (town or
nation) reacts upon the other. And in this instance his struggle
for goodness jars upon the whole body of badness in his
environment, and draws its fury upon him. If he is content to go
along with his neighbours and be almost as they are--perhaps a
little better or somewhat worse than the average--no one may give
him a thought. But let it be known that he has been able to
detect the hollow mockery of social life, its hypocrisy,
selfishness, sensuality, cupidity and other bad features, and has
determined to lift himself up to a higher level, at once he is
hated, and every bad, or bigoted, or malicious nature sends at
him a current of opposing will power.
If he is innately strong he shakes it off, as the powerful
swimmer dashes through the current that would bear a weaker one
away. But in this moral battle, if the Chela has one single
hidden blemish--do what he may, it shall and will be brought to
The varnish of conventionalities which "civilization" overlays us
all with must come off to the last coat, and the Inner Self,
naked and without the slightest veil to conceal its reality, is
exposed. The habits of society which hold men to a certain degree
under moral restraint, and compel them to pay tribute to virtue
by seeming to be good whether they are so or not, these habits
are apt to be all forgotten, these restraints to be all broken
through under the strain of chelaship. He is now in an atmosphere
of illusions--Maya. Vice puts on its most alluring face, and the
tempting passions try to lure the inexperienced aspirant to the
depths of psychic debasement....For the strife is in this
instance between the Chela's Will and his carnal nature, and
Karma forbids that any angel or Guru should interfere until the
result is known.
With the vividness of poetic fancy Bulwer Lytton has idealized it
for us in his Zanoni, a work which will ever be prized by the
occultist; while in his Strange Story he has with equal power
shown the black side of occult research and its deadly perils.
Chelaship was defined, the other day, by a Mahatma as a "psychic
resolvent, which eats away all dross and leaves only the pure
gold behind." If the candidate has the latent lust for money, or
political chicanery, or materialistic scepticism, or vain
display, or false speaking, or cruelty, or sensual gratification
of any kind, the germ is almost sure to sprout; and so, on the
other hand, as regards the noble qualities of human nature. The
real man comes out.
Is it not the height of folly, then, for any one to leave the
smooth path of common-place life to scale the crags of chelaship
without some reasonable feeling of certainty that he has the
right stuff in him? Well says the Bible: "Let him that standeth
take heed lest he fall"--a text that would-be Chelas should
consider well before they rush headlong into the fray! It would
have been well for some of our Lay-Chelas it they had thought
twice before defying the tests....
In what precedes we have, of course, dealt but with the failures
among Lay-Chelas; there have been partial successes too, and
these are passing gradually through the first stages of their
probation. Some are making themselves useful to the Society and
to the world in general by good example and precept. If they
persist, well for them, well for us all: the odds are fearfully
against them, but still "there is no Impossibility to him who
WILLS." The difficulties in Chelaship will never be less until
human nature changes and a new sort is evolved. St. Paul (Rom.
vii, 18, 19) might have had a Chela in mind when he said "to will
is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find
not. For the good I would I do not; but the evil which I would
not, that I do."
And in the wise Kirátárjuniya of Bharávi it is written:--
The enemies which rise within the
Hard to be overcome--the evil passions--
Should manfully be fought; who conquers these
Is equal to the conqueror of worlds. (xi, 32.)
End of Part I PART II is posted separately
I hope this will show you some of the difficulties in
disentangling physical from occult sciences.
Another portion is posted separately,
From: adelasie [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2002 9:32 AM
Subject: Re: Theos-World Theosophy and Science
The danger you mention of esoteric information being used in the
wrong way is definitely a real one. And yet, it seems, given the
perfect justice of karma, that if a piece of information is
to humanity, to scientists, it must be true that humanity has
the right to use it as best it can. We can imagine that there
further information to be "discovered" at some later date, even
potentially powerful, but at this as at any given point in our
evolution, we have the opportunity to use what we know for the
benefit of all.
Modern technology provides us with many examples. Electronic
communication, for instance, allows us to send out our ideas to
more people than previously possible. How do we use this? Do we
deductive reasoning to promote our side of an issue, without
considering the opposite view? Do we try to reason inductively
present all sides of an issue so that our readers can make up
own minds? What about genetic engineering? Is it possible that
work being done in this area is potentially beneficial to
or is it the result of misuse of the laws of nature for personal
More important, to my mind, is the question, what role does the
theosophist play in this scenario? If we feel, as theosophy
that our duty is to contribute to the evolution of our race
universal consciousness of the unity of all life, how are we to
this? What effect can we have on the trends of scientific
Do we have any power to help direct the action of science, or of
anything, toward the goal of positive application?
On 17 Feb 2002 at 23:35, MKR wrote:
> Well put. Once we understand how the word *works*, then it is
> power in the hands of the person who knows it and it is very
> the power be used for selfish use - taking advantage of the
> for personal gains -- either now or hereafter.
> While we may get bits and pieces of the operation of nature, an
> intelligent person can pick them up and understand how to act
> actions generate welfare and fairness to everyone.
> As you stated, since we do not see the whole picture, our
> understanding and conclusions based on a piece of the puzzle is
> to be wrong for most of the time.
> My .02
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