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Jun 18, 2006 08:52 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck



W.Q.J.?In the proem cited the author distinctly says under (a) that
give one way of symbolizing it? which is certainly not definition? proceeds
to state that that infinite Principle is the same as the ?unconscious? and
?unknowable? of European philosophy, in which, indeed, the FORUM editor
takes delight. 

She then says it is symbolized in the Secret Doctrine as absolute abstract
space, which one must conceive of as space distinct from all things existing
therein; we cannot exclude this, nor at the same time really conceive of it.
And in the same way, when we come to regard this omnipresent Principle from
the point of view of the root or consciousness, we postulate it as being? in
this aspect? absolute abstract motion, because consciousness has the quality
of motion in it and not the quality of space, since motion has to have space
in which to move. So then, having thus vaguely symbolized space, which is
not consciousness, we have to say that, on the other hand, [42] considering
it as apart from consciousness, it may be said to be ?bare subjectivity,?
although we have to use our consciousness in order to deal with it at all.
The editor?s question, ?Can any one conceive of abstract color?? seems
peculiar, since it is not foreign to all the schools of Western thought,
where many assert? as, indeed, it would appear they must? that apart from
any particular motion or color we can conceive of motion and color in the
abstract apart from particularization.

Q.:	Is it possible that our lower nature is composed of groups of
elementary beings (sub-human) which under the higher tutelage can be welded
into a force for good, rather than a something evil that has to be cast off?
if so, ought not the Higher Ego to be considered a trainer and teacher of
the Lower Manas rather than as a foe, even as a parent restrains his
children from wrong- doing, and would not this view make the conflict
between the animal and spiritual nature easier to most people?

W.Q.J.?The editor is right in saying the lower nature cannot be cast off,
but must be subjugated. We might as well say we can annihilate universal
mind as to say we can ?cast off? anything that is a part of nature and going
to make us what we are. 


The lower nature must be discovered in all its ramifications and carefully
subdued, as thus it is transformed and not cast off. But I cannot agree with
him in respect to ?sub-human elementals? composing us and which he calls
?fanciful.? They are not fanciful, even though the questioner views them in
the wrong light and the editor in no light at all. If there is any point
strongly made in occultism it is that we are a compound of lives, that every
part of us is so made, and hence it follows that our lower nature is made of
these lives. 

There is no vacuum in the universe void of a life. But while this is so,
these lives, in so far as they go to make up man, are not to be considered
as separate beings from himself whom he can ?educate,? as inferred in the
question, from a position as man which is apart from them. 

They exist in him, and as he lives and thinks so he impresses on them his
thoughts and acts, and as they are leaving him every moment of time it
follows that a stream of these lives of many grades and sorts is continually
being projected from him into space and forming his own karma. For they are
unintelligent and only act in their own way, just as water acts when it runs
down hill. If we regard them as beings that we are educating we will fall
into superstition, but if, on the other hand, [43] we say they do not exist
and have no place in us, as the editor infers, we will never come to right
knowledge of the universe as it is.

They are matter, in fact, and a certain quantity of it comes into the
charge, so to say, of every man, and every one is therefore responsible for
the impressions he gives to the atoms that make him up, and if he does not
live aright he will have to suffer the consequences sooner or later. For
these very elementals are the means whereby karma operates, for without
them? considering atoms as points of sensitiveness? there would be a break
and no way for karma to have effect, if they do not exist, then there is no
way to make the connection between matter and mind and thought and

The conflict between the higher and the lower can be made easy only by the
old rule ;  



Q.:	Is there any statement in the writings of Madame Blavatsky or of any
one else who might be supposed to know, to the effect that the Ego
incarnates alternately in the different sexes, or at all in the opposite

W.Q.J.?I do not remember reading anywhere in the writings of H.P.B. a
statement to the effect referred to, nor in the written remarks on various
subjects by the Adepts who sent her into the world can there be found, as
far as my recollection goes, a declaration to the effect that the Ego
incarnates alternately in male and female bodies. 

There may be found the doctrine that by this time in our evolution the egos
now in human bodies have been through every sort of experience and both
sexes, but that does not support the inference that such incarnation as to
sex is alternated regularly? nor does it refute. It simply has nothing
exactly to do with the question.

The question, it seems, is interesting to many, but I must confess an entire
lack of interest in it. If my next birth shall be in the body-female, it is
a matter of indifference. It is of record that an ego did very well in the
body called Helena P. Blavatsky; and, contrarywise, another did well in a
body-male called Sankara Acharia. It is said that one Maji? a woman? in
India is a great Yogi also. So, as I am perfectly indifferent, my remarks
may be concluded to be uncolored by the partisanship of sex, so clear to
[44] some and so often productive of clouds over vision.

Well, then, I do not adhere to the alternating theory. It is too
cut-and-dried at the very first impression. Further it appears to violate,
with the appearance of a personal director behind it, the natural conclusion
to be drawn from human life and character? our only guide in such matters. 

If we assume an anthropomorphic God, who made it a law that every ego should
now have male and next female form for living in, no matter how the laws of
tendency of attraction and repulsion work in other directions, there might
be some probability of sustaining the position that regular alternation of
sex is the rule. But the universe is governed by law, not by caprice. Let
us, then, look for a moment at one or two points.


Karma? from other lives? determines where, how, and when we shall be born.
But in the matter under debate, one of the ramifications of the law of Karma
which must have most to do with this is tendency. In other words, the
tendency set up in a prior life will determine the tendency toward a
particular family next birth. And we must look also at the question of male
and female character essentially, and not as a mere question of appearance
or function. If we discover what is the essential distinguishing
characteristic of the female character as opposed for comparison to the
male, then we can perhaps arrive at a probable conclusion? though, as I
above remarked, a very uninteresting and useless one in any event.


Now to my limited vision the female character is per se concrete; that is,
its tendency in thought, speech, and act is toward the concrete; while the
male character seems to me to be per se the opposite. 

The Kabalists and the ancients of all lands may not stand as authority for
my readers, but they support this view. And the existence of exceptions in
both sexes does not contradict the opinion, but rather goes to sustain it,
forasmuch as we so easily recognize a woman who has a man?s character or a
man who has a woman?s. The difference was not invented by tyrannical men,
but seems actually to exist in the race. For no matter where you go, or how
civilized or barbarous, modern or ancient, your examples are, they ever show
the same differences and characteristics.

And whether you admit or deny the particular description by concreteness and
abstractness, it still remains true that the essential female character?
whatever be the distinguishing mark? is totally different from the
essentially male one.

45	Now, then, if Ego (A) has evolved with infinite pain and many lives
the female character, is it likely that that tendency will exhaust itself at
once? Or if it has been set up by one life, is it likely to exhaust at death
so as to permit the next incarnation to be in the opposite sex? I think not.
It might be that the Ego could, as man in prior life, incarnate next as
woman, but that would mean that he had set up a tendency to whatever is the
essential character of the female? in my opinion, concreteness of thought in
the depths of his nature? or for other of many reasons. It is not wise to
set down such fixed and iron rules. 

Nature does not thus work. She is always about to break some rule we have
foolishly thought to be of eternal duration. So I conclude on this that the
Ego will go on as woman or man just so long as its deeper nature is of the
same cut, fashion, and tendency as the particular sex in general in which it
incarnates. For my poor judgment, the regular alternation theory is wholly
without foundation. But, after all, it is a question none of us can decide.
The Christian Apostles decided female incarnation to be lower in scale than
male when they said women are saved only by marriage, but even some
Christian Theosophists may reject the Apostles on this.


Q.:	What is Imagination, and what are its limits? Often, I see mental
pictures of myself and others, acting, talking, etc. Sometimes these
pictures are realized, sometimes not. Where is one to draw the line?

W.Q.J.?In my opinion imagination is exactly what it imports on its face,
that is, the image-making power possessed surely by man, and inferred in
brute creation. It was so defined by the ancient occultists and by the
hermetic philosophers. But nowadays it is given a low place generally, yet
has been raised to slightly greater eminence by the Metaphysical Healers who
have stumbled unknowingly on a great law. 

That which is often called imagination is, in fact, only fancy, or the idle
creation of images whose tenure of life is short. But conscious exercise of
this power raised to its highest degree is one of the necessities of occult
art, for no occult feat can be performed without it. 

Experiments in mesmerism for a century, and lately those in hypnotism, show
that each person has the power to create an image about himself which is
perfectly objective to the inner senses of the seer. This creation is done
by the use of imagination solely. If the image be indefinite, owing to the
imagination not working strongly, the seer or subject will only see
indefiniteness, because the subjective picture was badly constructed. [46] 

But the constructor, poor or good, was the imagination. The Indian fakir
makes you see the snake or other object? though you have all your senses?
because through centuries of heredity and years of training his imagination
has been put into such order that it sees before it the form so vividly that
you perceive, as you suppose, an objective reality when none in fact exists.

And turning to the letters from Adepts to Mr. Sinnett, we find them saying
that in order to precipitate a note they must see (in imagination) each and
every letter complete and unwavering before they can precipitate the
material elements through that matrix upon the paper. So not only have we
the testimony of all the mystics, but also that of those Adepts who in later
days have shown those things to some.

As to drawing the line for the questioner. That can hardly be done. For if
he is a clairvoyant partial or wholly, then he sometimes sees the pictures
of what we improperly call the future. For there is no future; it is all
now. In such seeing he does not use imagination. But where vain day- dreams
interpose, then he is either using his fancy, or is bringing forgotten
combinations of thought, or is being influenced for the moment by the
fleeting thoughts of another. Jno. Geo. Gichtel once saw come out from
heaven the hand of a widow who desired to marry him, and then a voice
saying, ?You must have her.? He knew then that his stray thought and
imagination had momentarily thrown a picture before his inner sense. That
had but little to do with his imagination.


Q.:	The Key to Theosophy, page 306, speaking of the attempt made by
Masters during the last quarter of every century to help on the spiritual
progress of humanity, says, ?Someone or more persons have appeared in the
world as their agents, and a greater or less amount of occult knowledge and
teaching has been given out. if you care to do so, you can trace these
movements back, century by century, so far as our detailed historical
records extend.? Have these movements ever been so traced out, century by
century, and, if so, can the FORUM give such as have been tabulated?

W.Q.J.?No one, to my knowledge, has so far taken the trouble to tabulate
these movements. One was in Anton Mesmer?s time. He founded a Society of
Harmony with objects like ours. In Europe there were Theosophical Societies.

In Dr. Buck?s library I have read an old book, of about two hundred years
ago, called ?Transactions of the Theosophical Society.? Without doubt very
careful research would give a complete record all through the [47] centuries
even to the time of Ammonius Saccas. The name adopted however, would not
necessarily be ?Theosophical? in each case. In Germany there were many
attempts, and the Baron Leibetsdorf and Count St. Martin were engaged in one
of those. Although the Encyclopædias call Cagliostro an impostor, he was
engaged in such an attempt and was no impostor. Count St. Germain is another
of the messengers.


W.Q.J.?The Ego does not enter the body at any time. 

The body is a grossly material instrument which is overshadowed or informed
by ?the Ego. We are accustomed to saying that our souls are caught in our
bodies because the ancients so spoke. But when they used that phrase there
was an additional explanation current about body, and it was believed that
the latter was more than merely physical, visible carcass. 

The body and its entanglements extend much further ?than is visible to our
eyes. In fact, what we see of our bodies is only the hard or visible part;
each person carries around at the same time the more intangible parts of
body, which, however, are very powerful in their action. Visible body is the
material nucleus, and the rest is the less material fringe or emanation. So
when ?the ancients spoke of the soul entangled in body, they included in the
word ?body? the above enlarged meaning. 

		ASTRAL BODY connects at conception

At ?the time of conception the astral body? or model form? is made and the
potentiality of an Ego being enmeshed by the person is created; 

		MANAS connects at 7

the connection of the Ego with the body? by means of the principle Manas? is
made, in general, at seven years of age, 

		KAMA  as an effective AGENT for KARMA

and from then on the Ego is involved or entangled in body. But before such
material entanglement it was first caught and involved in the passions and
desires? or in the principle kama? which is always the efficient or
producing cause for the embodiment of the Ego. 

This KAMA is known to form a part of the skandhas or aggregates, of which
material body is one.

I cannot see the force of the objection to reincarnation that it conflicts
with the power of the mother to influence the child. It does not, for she
gives it the body with all the tendencies thereof, and she gives it milk,
?thus increasing those tendencies. She certainly cannot directly touch ?the
Ego, and it is fortunate she cannot, because ?then she might actually thwart
its development. It is the karma of the past that brings ?the child to that
mother, and that [48] 
karma may be to have a good or a bad birth, to be influenced for benefit or
for injury by the mother.


Q.:	If the soul passes into Devachan during sleep, why are? not all
dreams agreeable?

W.Q.J.?It is not strictly accurate ?to say the soul passes into Devachan in
sleep, because Devachan is a word applied to a state after the death of the
body and ?the abandonment of the latter. The word to designate dreaming is
in the Sanscrit Swapna, and that state may be pleasant or unpleasant because
the body and Kama still affect the soul, whereas in Devachan all is blissful
and pleasant. 

The Soul does not pass into Devachan during sleep, but sometimes in dreaming
or Swapna state dreams are pleasant and often not. This being ?the fact, it
is a sufficient reply to the question as put.


Q.:	If the victims of accidental death, like suicides, do not enter
Devachan till the time when they would have died naturally, they must remain
in the earth- sphere as a whole and with all their faculties. Why, then,
should they not be able to communicate with the living, whether through
mediums or otherwise? Is not their case an exception to the usual law?

W.Q.J.?As I understand our philosophy, victims of accidental death and
suicides do not remain out of Devachan until the time they would have died
naturally shall have come. 

Kama loka, where these and all others go, has its grades in the same way as
human living states. The first statements of these doctrines were naturally
general, but elaborations have also appeared in which specific points have
been dealt with. 

Not all suicides are alike. Certainly a thoroughly insane person who kills
himself is not like one who, while sane and cowardly, does the deed, nor is
this last the same as he who from a foolish philosophy or ?the want of it
cuts off his life. They all differ one from another, and hence their stay in
Kama Loka will vary. 

But in those general cases where the person stays in Kama Loka, the
personality, consisting of astral body with the passions and desires, can
and does communicate with the living, whether a medium or not. This is
EXECUTION OF CRIMINALS. The last is a very great danger? one of the unseen
but powerful curses of the times. 

An executed criminal?s death is the same as ?that of one who is accidentally
killed in [49] effect, only that it is deliberately done, and in most cases
the elements of hate, revenge, and anger in the criminal are added. His
fierce and angry personality? compound of astral body and Kama? is thrust
suddenly out of life; his higher principles wait in upper Kama Loka in a
benumbed or torpid state; but his personal life flits about the abodes of
men, attempting to get revenge or to do other wicked things, and every day
injects into the sensitive human natures it meets all its mass of vile and
unappeasable thoughts. 

It thus creates picture after picture of murder and hate. Mediums are not
the only ones affected by these astral person ages; indeed, they are often
too closely associated with other sorts of shells, and the personality of
the criminal has definite attractions towards other persons. 

Is it any wonder, then, that the Theosophist who has worked out our
doctrines of man?s nature to their proper conclusions should deplore the
custom of executing criminals? He knows that one legal execution may and
nearly always does lead to many another sudden murder or suicide. And as the
astral personalities of suicides and executed criminals are in closer touch
with us than any other sort of spook, it follows that they also are more
likely to come first to any Spiritualistic séance. All those who respect the
suggestions of H.P.B. will be interested to know that the above was her own
view, often given to me, and further certified as reasonable by Adepts who
can see the facts behind the scenes.


Best wishes,



SUMMARIES  FORUM ANSWERS   ==  5, 6   === to follow


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