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Jun 18, 2006 09:01 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck



P. 30	Our duty is to teach those ethics and that philosophy which alone
will remedy the evil by raising men above the possibility of committing
crime or becoming amenable to law. 

If we waste our energies in attempting reforms on the surface, either in law
or in politics, a great opportunity will slip away before we know it. 

The remaining query is upon the subject of punitive law in general, and on
that my view is that the question put flies wild of any point, because even 

P.30	?these very laws enacted for the punishment of evil-doers are
themselves the product of Karma. 

The state of the race which evinces crime is due to its Karma, hence the
present system, the criminals who fill our jails, the judiciary and the
executive departments administering the laws, are all products of Karma. 

It therefore follows that where, through man-made laws, offenders are fined
or imprisoned, such punishments are those of Karma. It thus appears to me
that the question is wholly one relating to reform in a mere social or
political institution.


Q.:	Is it honest for a sincere Theosophist to celebrate in any way,
whether by present-giving or by entertainments, the festivals of
Christendom, such as Christmas and Easter? What is the practice of
Occultists and the leaders of the Theosophical Society in this regard?

W.Q.J.?Theosophical sincerity is not a strange moral product of a new
reform, but is exactly sincerity as always defined by philosophers and
moralists in every age. 

The word sincere is derived from a Latin word which is in its turn supposed
to be from sine ?without? and cera ?wax,? that is, pure honey. 

	The wax is 

P. 30	??prejudice, and he who harbors that, be he an F.T.S. or not, may
consider his practice right in preventing him from viewing broadly all
customs of all men, but one who accumulates the pure honey of sincerity may
just as well join in Christmas festivities in Christendom as he would in
those of Buddha?s birthday in Ceylon.


P. 30	Q.:	As to there being seven earths: to me analogy would suggest
that there are not seven earths, rather that our fellow globes are the more
ethereal principles of that of which this earth is but its lowest aspect.
?As above, so below.?

W.Q.J.?I do not understand what sort of analogy the questioner uses, but the
point raised is evidently in respect to the statement in the Secret Doctrine
that as there are seven moons, so there are [31seven earths and seven
principles or divisions in man. 

The seven earths referred to are not the seven globes of the earth-chain?
the only one of which has been called ?earth? is this one,? but are the
seven principles of this globe, the most gross of which is that seen by us. 

No other word could be used for these except ?earth,? since as yet we are
not well enough acquainted with them to give them distinct names. Were we to
name them we should say 

P. 31	?(1) earth?s physical shell, (2) earth?s jiva principle, (3) earth?s
linga sarira or astral body, and so. on through the whole seven. 

This applies equally to all the globes of the earth-chain, and the other six
of those cannot be called ?earths? and were never intended to be, because 

P. 31	?they are composed of matter which is not perceptible to our eyes. 

So, when the questioner says that ?there are not seven earths,? there is a
confounding together of two subjects, for the seven earths referred to are
this earth and its principles, whereas 

P. 31	?the ?fellow-globes? are the other globes in our chain and not our
earth?s higher principles. Each of the globes in the chain is septenary (see
Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 167, line 28), and hence if we count these globe
principles we have seven times seven, equals forty-nine, instead of only
seven for the whole, as would follow from the questioner?s position.

Q.:	What is the Theosophical view of ?Obsession?? Are the New Testament
accounts of ?casting out devils? to be regarded as literally true? if so, is
it a retribution coming under the law of Karma, as with persons under seven
years of age? There are cases where the so-called obsessing power seems so
far superior in force of will as to be wholly irresistible by the victim:
where is the remedy?


W.Q.J.?The T.S. has no ?view? about obsession. All on such subjects must be
the expression of individual opinion. The editor appears to intimate that
there are really no cases of obsession, and if that is the intention of the
answer, it must result from the fact that he has never met a case. It is
true that as superstition abates, instances of obsession do also, but that
does not prove the phenomena to be the product wholly of belief in their
possibility. Nor do the writings of men like Lecky prove much to my mind on
these topics, since he thinks from a standpoint entirely at variance with
mine. Since I have, in common with many other members of the Society, known
of clear cases of obsession, no amount of argument by one who had never
encountered such would be of any [32] avail; and it is quite likely that
those who do not believe in the possibility of these abnormal occurrences
will never meet one, because the mind is not directed in that direction. 

There are obsessions, then, as we think from observation, but the classes of
obsession given in the first answer, two in number only, are not adequate.
We have to include in obsession that most mysterious thing? 


P, 32	?INSANITY. Physicians do not understand this affliction. They cannot
explain how a man suddenly loses his identity and becomes a raving maniac.
Or in milder cases, where a man periodically becomes for months at a time
some other person with no memory of the former state, and so relapses from
one to the other. 

I know of such a case in which a boy first showed this form of insanity, and
has gone on for years with the alternation of personality until now he is of
age. His trouble would long ago have brought him to the insane asylum if it
were not that he was born in a rich and fortunate family. 

Karma rules in this as in all else, and it is only when one limits his view
of Karma to this one life that he can be confused. 

P. 32	?Acts in a former life set up such tendencies in the ocean of life
that when the ego came back again it was sure to one day become insane,
which only means that a disarrangement of astral and physical forces was
brought about resulting in a total inability to correlate the soul and body,
and this is called insanity. 

It was free will that laid down the causes, and free will has no power to
alter the effects. 

But, as in the case I cited, there may be meliorations brought about by
Karma in the same way. For in that one we see? as is often not the case with
others? that the poor insane person is protected by reason of the effect of
another kind of Karma, and is in this long insane or obsessed life cared for
and made as happy as is possible. 

Remember, the mind of each is connected with the body in a certain definite
manner and not merely in an imaginary way. This definite method is by
certain channels and filaments or nerves: among the most difficult to
explain are the magnetic and electric ties for the mind. Now our hold upon
the body we have been born into may be so weak that we are not able to keep
possession of these channels, and stronger forces may even unconsciously go
in where we have tried to stay. This is not caprice any more than it is
caprice that water will leak from a tank if there be any cracks. So there
may come a time that the building called the body, which we hoped to occupy
for a long time, becomes so imperfect that our mental tenancy is no longer
possible and we drift off altogether, leaving it to the use of [33] other
forces or intelligences good or bad; or, as is often the case, we are now
driven out for a time and then again got complete possession for a short
term, until in that process the cords of magnetism and the electric channels
are clogged up or destroyed so far as we are concerned, when we leave

 All this of course may happen by what is called the man?s own will or act,
as where one suffers from paresis brought about by gross dissipation, but
all the cases are not of this kind, nor are they all due to spiritualistic
seances. As to REMEDIES, those suggested by the editor are good, but there
are others possible by the use of strong magnetism used by one who knows all
these laws in every detail and can intelligently apply the remedy.


P. 33	Q.:	 Are there well- authenticated cases on record of
clairvoyance in persons born blind, where correct descriptions of things
have been given as they appear to the organ of sight?

W.Q.J.?I have heard of one or two such cases, but as now they cannot be
produced they are not of present value. But it is well known that blind
people have ideas as to objects and localities which they have never
perceived as those do who have perfect sight. In these cases they must have
concepts, probably the same as those arising in others from good sight.
This, however, is not clairvoyance. It is, however, certain that cases such
as the question calls for must be very rare, inasmuch as blind people would
not be usually credited with clairvoyance, but would, in telling of places,
naturally be thought to describe scenes of the imagination. Further more, it
is extremely doubtful if a clairvoyant blind from birth could have
possession of terms to use in describing objects so as to be understood by
others not blind.


Q.:	 If it is wrong to cure disease by mesmerism or magnetism,? at
least, if thereby the patient is controlled to any extent, how did Col.
Olcott heal so many in India by such means?

W.Q.J.?There seems to be no necessary connection between the premise of this
question and the query put. Even if it were ?wrong to cure disease by
mesmerism or magnetism? it would not therefore follow that one could not
heal people thereby. But I have never heard from any source of weight that
it is wrong to so cure people of their ailments. To relieve distress must be
right in general. There is much dispute as to magnetism, but Col. Olcott
seems to be of the opinion that its cures are effected by actual virtue in
[34] magnetic fluid, and not by ?control? of any patient. But in many of his
cures there was a lack of permanence, due probably to lack of continuance of
treatment, as he was constantly on the move. Questions of this sort ought to
refer to some fact or publication in support of the assumption put in the
questions, as otherwise it is not possible to answer intelligently or

P. 34		WILL  &  CURES

Q.:	Has another a right to use her will-power in throwing off disease
and the painful results of accidents from herself and children? Please draw
the line clearly between white and black magic in such work, occult work.

W.Q.J.?It is not clear from the question whether the querent means to ask
about the use of the will pure and simple or about the practice of
mind-cure, as it is called, or spiritual healing.

p. 34	?.In respect to the use of the WILL considered alone, the editor of
FORUM has replied sufficiently, I think, especially pointing out that the
use of that power is not well understood; and it would seem that the
questioner does not understand it.

There is a remarkable absence of treatment of the question of the will in
such books as the Yoga Aphorisms and the like, the very books where one
would expect to see something about it if it is a thing that can be treated
of separately. 

But we may see the reason for this when we remember the old saying of the
Kabalists, that ?Behind Will Stands Desire.? 

And by considering men as we see them, this saying appears to be a true one,
for in everyday life and in every act we perceive that the prime mover is
desire, and that the question of weak will or strong will depends on that in
nearly every case. 

The wicked are of strong will because they have strong desires, and the weak
person will be found to act with the most powerful will when the desire is
strong. Their appearance of being weak rises from the fact that they are
pulled about every moment by contrary wishes, not being concentrated enough
to have definite wishes of their own. 

And it is here that the distinction between White and Black Magic can be
easily found, for if the desired object be a selfish one or against the
general good, then the act performed will be of the nature of Black Magic. 

The will is only used as an agent to carry out the desire. So in the case of
an actual adept of either school, will is at his disposition no matter what
be his object.

Now if the question put is in view of the practices of the [35] so-called
metaphysical healing schools, then a very different set of questions arises
of mixed nature, some including moral aspects and some not, but every one
raising a doubt about the claims made of curative power, as also about the
way in which any cures that do take place have been accomplished.

P. 35	The editor has pointed out that a well balanced and centered mind
will conduce to health, as has been held for ages; even savages know this
and act accordingly. 

And if one finds from actual experience that the fact of his or her being of

P. 35	?a cheerful, happy, contented, charitable, loving, faithful, sunny
disposition will always have the effect of giving health to those about in
the family or elsewhere, then there can surely be nothing wrong or
inexpedient in such a state. And that, in my opinion, is the right limit for
the practice of metaphysical healing. 

For if one goes beyond that, and, following the rules of these schools,
proceeds to 


P. 35	?.send his thoughts out to another with the object of taking hold of
that other?s mind, then there is the greatest danger and also Black Magic.
For no one has the right to take the mind of another, for any purpose, into
his possession. if such be done, then the other ceases to be a free agent. 

And this is true as much in the case of one?s child as that of any other
person. Moral wrong attaches here because one is acting on another. 

P. 35	 But in the event of acting on oneself there can only be a question
of expediency, and that is a very wide and important one, since momentous
consequences may flow to us and to others from the tendencies we set up in

Bodily ailments may be roughly divided for the purposes of the present into
two classes, 

one being those that are acute or due to the imagination or the reaction of
the imagination on the processes in the bodily economy; 

the other being those due to strong physical Karma showing out in diseases
in the mortal envelope, and being entirely beyond the reach of the
imagination and not due to reactions from the mind of the sufferer. These
last are of the greater number; we see them in small children as well as in
adults, and also in savages and the semi-savages of our own civilization who
compose what some people call a lower element in the social body. 

In the first class the physical troubles from reaction will of course
disappear so soon as the person trains himself to look at life cheerfully
and to grow into a more independent frame of mind. 

The cures are not due to the causes assumed in the schools we refer to. They
come about as a natural result of the new state of [36] mind withdrawing
from the nerves and fluids of the body the old strain and oppression. When
those are removed the actual state of health at the bottom comes to the

And the result would be the same in the instance of the most degraded savage
who might be induced by accident or by the words of his medicine man to fix
his mind in another direction. 

P. 36	Obviously there it would not be due to a system of philosophy. And
additional proof of this is to be had in the very schools we speak of. In
those we see widely different systems; one requires faith in the Bible and
in Jesus, and the other does not, and yet each makes equal claim to success.
H. P. Blavatsky says: ?This is all the secret. Half, if not two-thirds, of
all our ailings and diseases are the fruit of our imagination and fears.
Destroy the latter and give another bent to the former, and nature will do
the rest.? (Lucifer, Vol. 7.)

In the second class of diseases it is quite true, as has been often said by
the metaphysical healer, that the disease comes from thought, but the error
is in supposing it to be present thought had in this body. 

The thoughts are those of a past life, and have passed altogether from the
mind plane into the realm of causes for dynamic disturbance, or of the
tendency, that are quite beyond the reach of the present imagining power,
but sure to result in the course of time in visible difficulty suddenly
appearing, or resulting from our going into situations that bring to us the
germs of disease. 

For Karma acts on us not only in inherited troubles but also in accord with
the tendencies we have set up in ourselves in a previous life. Those latter
impel us to go to places or to mix with such people as that the inevitable
result will be to cause effects on our mind or body that otherwise would not
be felt. As in the case of one who set up in a previous life a tendency to
consort with good and cultured people; this will come out and lead to a
similar line of action with very different results from the case of one
whose tendencies were in the opposite direction.

These causes for disease then being in the mind plane from the last life,
and having become mechanical causes in this, are now on their way out of the
system in the proper channel, and that channel is a physical, mechanical
one. They are leaving us by the way of the body, are on the way down, and
should not be stopped and sent back to the mind plane again. They should be
treated by the ordinary methods of hygiene, of medicine, of surgery, of

37	Hygiene and food furnish the right conditions for adjustment, and
make no new present cause for trouble; medicine helps nature in her
mechanical acts of purging and alteration; and surgery replaces
dislocations, removes dead tissues, or puts bones that are broken into
position for proper joining. No one would be so foolish as to say that
thinking will remove from the brain the pressure of a fractured bone that is
making the patient mad, or that imagination will set a dislocated shoulder. 

And if rotting food in the stomach is affecting the head and the whole
system, it is certainly wiser to get rid of the offending substance as
quickly as possible, supplying the body with good food in its place, than to
let the evil stay to be absorbed as evil into the tissues while one busies
himself by calling on the higher powers of mind to make him think he is not
disturbed while nature is going on with her cure. 

In many cases this latter is all that happens, for any strong-minded person
can resolve to endure great pain during the process of rectification of
internal trouble by ordinary change of tissue and fluids. So a disciple of
the schools in question may be so full of the notion that mind, or God, or
Christ is curing him that he endures until the vis medicatrix naturæ has
done its work.

Granting that these causes are on their way down and out, the effect of
calling with a powerful will on the same plane of power is that the cause
may be sent back to the inner mind and disappear from the body. 

But this is no cure: it is something like one?s cutting off his hair because
the flies walk in it, it is planting once more in our deathless body disease
that will surely come out again in another life as disease, or as madness in
that one or presently in this. And in the life of many a practitioner
nowadays this has happened. For wherever one is very sensitive the practices
enjoined create abnormal states that have resulted in dementia.

But a still more pressing danger lies in the half-truth of the practices.
They are, divested of all pretension to systematic and right philosophy,
partially correct yoga practices.

As soon as they are begun they set up in the astral currents in the
practitioner definite changes that at once begin to react on the humors and
fluids in the body and are strong enough to bring about definite alteration
in the physical envelope. 

This has been known for ages and has been treated of by the older Hindus.
But they have always been careful to say that they ought not to be gone on
with in the absence of a guide who is competent to know [38] every symptom,
to note every effect, and to give the right corrective.

These correctives were not purely mental either, for many of them have to be
physical, since the rapidity of the changes and the effects of the practices
far outrun any application of mental correction in many instances. And this
knowledge did not mean a mere following of a definite rule, but included an
ability to see the peculiarities of each person as he proceeded. For as such
is under a different set of laws peculiar to himself, the strict following
of a general rule would lead to the greatest danger.


Q.:	But what do the ?metaphysical healers? know of this?

Nothing but the vague rule of the doctors that one must watch the patient
and know, if possible, something of his medical record. Outside of that they
are at sea with no pilot. They are inviting the explosion of forces they
know nothing about, and when the difficulty arises they are powerless. 

>From actual experiment I know the facts to be as stated. The pulse may be
lowered or in creased, or the first symptoms of paralysis produced, or
fainting brought on, singing in the ears and mist before the eyes made to
show themselves; but where is the corrective? Unknown, for the simple reason
that when we are dealing with such forces as these we are out of the realm
of general rules for correction and must be able to at once see the exact
inner state of the person and to select unerringly out of the vast range of
possible cures the right one so that it shall work without any mistake.

What, then, shall the querent do for herself and her children, as she asks?
Use her best judgment, follow the best rules for the cure of diseases, train
her children to be self-reliant and careful, so that they shall have few
accidents, teach them to avoid evil and danger and keep their minds and
bodies in right condition, and Karma will take care of the rest. And if they
are hurt or really sick, then send for a good physician.

Q.:	Is it unwise or wrong to say mentally to a person, ?You are well,?
or ?You are virtuous,? ?Your higher nature can control your lower.? is that
kind of mental treatment a wrong use of power if the motive is pure and

W.Q.J.?Buddha and Jesus?two great teachers ? performed cures. Not by
assertion and denial but by scientific use of power. To the wicked whom they
cured they said ?sin no more.? Both taught [39] that the cause of sorrow was
evil thought leading to evil act, but neither said that that existed not
which was plain before one?s eyes. 

They recognized the existence of fact, of law, of reason. In some cases they
could not cure. Why? Because the causes working on the sufferer were too
strong for them. Mere optimism which says all is good is of a kind that
grows out of sentiment unsupportable by reason. We ought to do all the good
we can, but that does not mean we should blind our minds to the relativity
which is necessary for cognition.


Best wishes,



SUMMARIES  FORUM ANSWERS   ==  4   === to follow

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