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Full text of "The key to theosophy : being a clear exposition, in the form of question and answer, of the ethics, science, and philosophy for the study of which the Theosophical Society has been founded, with a copious glossary of general theosophical terms"

PRESENTED 



The University of Toronto 

BY 

Bi-mJL* <* xt , Uh y . 

*^nW^, (Xfis4 /fob 



^^B^"^" 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, 



THE 

KEY TO THEOSOPHY; 

BEING A CLEAR EXPOSITION, IN THE FORM OF QUESTION AND ANSWER, OF THE 



Ethics, Science, and Philosophy, for the Study of 

Which the Theosophical Society 

has been Founded. 



copious glossary 



GE'NERAL THEOSOPHICAL TERMS 



H. P. BLAYATSKY. 

THIRD AND RKVISKD ENGLISH EDITION. */ ' 



LONDON : 

The Theosophical Publishing Society, 161, New Bond Street, W. 

City Agents: Percy Lund, Humphries & Co., Ltd., 3, Amen Corner, E.C. 

1893. 

Reprinted 1905. 
F. - ar St.. Toronto. 



Printed by Percy I,ttnd, Humphries & Co., I,td., 
The Country Press, Bradford ; and 3, Amen Corner, London, E.C. 

(Electrotyping by B. Deixagana & Co., 48, Fetter Lane, E.C.) 



KNTIJRI5D AT STATIONERS' HALL. 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 



Dedicated 

by 
"H. P. B." 

To all her pupils, 

that 

They may Learn and Teach 

in their turn. 



CONTENTS. 



SECTION I. 

Theosophv and tiii: Thkosophical Society. 

Tin- Meaning <>f the Name ...... 

The Policy of the Theoeophical Society .... 

The Wisdom-Religion Esoteric in all A 

Theosophy is not Buddhism . .... 



PAGE 
I 

4 
6 

9 



SECTION II. 
Exoteric and Esoteric Theosophy, 

What tin- Modern Theosophical Society is not 
Theosophists and Members >f tin- Theosophical Society 
The Difference between Theosophy and Occultism 
The Difference between Theosophy ami Spiritualism 
Why is Theosophy Accepted! .... 



12 

'! 
IS 

19 
24 



SECTION III. 
Tin-. Working System of the T. S. 



The Ohjects of the Society 
Tin- Common Origin of Man . 
Our other ( Ibjectl 
On the Sacredness of the Pledge 



28 

29 

33 
34 



SKCTION IV. 
The Relations op the Theosophica Society to Theosophy. 

On Self-Improvement ......... 36 

The Abstract ami the Concrete ....... 38 



SKCTION V. 
Tine Fundamental Teachings of Theosophy. 



On God and Prayer 

Is it Necessary to Pray ? 



42 
45 



CONTENTS. 



Prayer Kills Self-Reliance 

On the Source of the Human Soul . 

The Buddhist Teachings on the above 



PAGE 

49 
5i 
52 



SECTION VI. 
Theosophical Teachings as to Nature and Man. 

The Unity of All in All ... 

Evolution and Illusion .... 
On the Septenary Constitution of our Planet 
The Septenary Nature of Man 
The Distinction between Soul and Spirit 
The Greek Teachings .... 



SECTION VII. 

On the Various Post Mortem States. " 

The Physical and the Spiritual Man ..... 

On Eternal Reward and Punishment; and on Nirvana 

On the Various "Principles" in Man .... 



SECTION VIII. 
On Reincarnation or Re-birth. 

What is Memory according to Theosophical Teaching? . 
Why do we not Remember our Past Lives ? 
On Individuality and Personality .... 
On the Reward and Punishment of the Ego 



SECTION IX. 
On the Kama Loka and Devachan. 

On the Fate of the Lower Principles ..... 
Why Theosophists do not believe in the Return of Pure "Spirits" 
A few words about the Skandhas ..... 
On Post Mortem and Post Natal Consciousness 
What is really meant by Annihilation .... 

Definite Words for Definite Thing's ..... 



SECTION X. 
On the Nature op our Thinking Principle. 

The Mystery of the Ego ....... 

The Complex Nature of Manas ...... 

The Doctrine is taught in St. John's Gospel . 



57 
58 
60 
62 
64 
66 



60 

74 
79 



84 
87 
9i 
93 



97 
99 
104 
106 
no 
115 



120 

124 
126 



CONTENTS. 



XI 



SECTION XI. 
On the Mysteries of Reincarnation. 

Periodical Re-births ..... T 33 

What is Karma? ....'.. 135 

Who are Those who Know ? . . . . . H5 

The Difference between Faith and Knowledge; or, Blind and Reasoned Faith 147 

Has God the Right to Forgive ?....... 15 



SECTION XII. 
What is Practical Theosophy? 



Duty ...... 

The Relations of the T. S. to Political Reforms 

On Self-Sacrifice. 

On Charity 

Theosophy for the Masses 

How Members can Help the Society, 

What a Theosophist ought not to do. 



153 
156 
160 
163 
165 
167 
168 



SECTION XIII. 
On the Misconceptions about the Theosophicae Society. 

Theosophy and Asceticism ....... 

Theosophy and Marriage ....... 

Theosophy and Education ....... 

Why, then, is there so much Prejudice against the T. S. ? 



SECTION XIV. 
The "Theosophical Mahatmas." 

Are they "Spirits of Light" or "Goblins Damn'd"? 
The Abuse of Sacred Names and Terms 



174 
177 
177 
182 



185 
191 



CONCLUSION. 

The Future of the Theosophical Society 

Glossary ...... 

Index ....... 

Appendix ...... 



193 

199 
249 
263 



PREFACE. 

The purpose of this book is exactly expressed in its title, The 
Key to Theosophy, and needs but few words of explanation. It 
is not a complete or exhaustive text-book of Theosophy, but only 
a key to unlock the door that leads to the deeper study. It traces 
the broad outlines of the Wisdom Religion, and explains its funda- 
mental principles; meeting, at the same time, the various objections 
raised by the average Western enquirer, and endeavouring to 
present unfamiliar concepts in a form as simple and in language as 
clear as possible. That it should succeed in making Theosophy 
intelligible without mental effort on the part of the reader, would 
be too much to expect; but it is hoped that the obscurity still left 
is of the thought, not of the language, is due to depth, not to con- 
fusion. To the mentally lazy or obtuse, Theosophy must remain a 
riddle; for in the world mental as in the world spiritual each man 
must progress by his own efforts. The writer cannot do the 
reader's thinking for him, nor would the latter be any the better 
off if such vicarious thought were possible. The need for such an 
exposition as the present has long been felt among those interested 
in the Theosophical Society and its work, and it is hoped that it 
will supply information, as free as possible from technicalities, to 
many whose attention has been awakened, but who, as yet, are 
merely puzzled and not convinced. 

Some care has been taken in disentangling some part of what 



XIV PREFACE. 

is true from what is false in Spiritualistic teachings as to the post 
mortem life, and to showing the true nature of Spiritualistic pheno- 
mena. Previous explanations of a similar kind have drawn much 
wrath upon the writer's devoted head; the Spiritualists, like too 
many others, preferring to believe what is pleasant rather than what 
is true, and becoming very angry with anyone who destroys an 
agreeable delusion. For the past year Theosophy has been the 
target for every poisoned arrow of Spiritualism, as though the 
possessors of a half truth felt more antagonism to the possessors 
of the whole truth than those who had no share to boast of. 

Very hearty thanks are due from the author to many Theosophists 
who have sent suggestions and questions, or have otherwise con- 
tributed help during the writing of this book. The work will be 
the more useful for their aid, and that will be their best reward. 

H. P. B. 

London, 1889. 






PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 



In order to further facilitate the Study of Theosophy, which the 
Key has already made an easy task, I have added a copious Glos- 
sary of all the technical terms found in it. Most of the definitions 
and explanations are transcriptions or abbreviations from the larger 
Thcosophical Glossary. It is hoped that both Glossaries will supply 
a long-felt want, and that the larger one will cover the whole range 
of occult terminology as completely as possible. 

H. P. B. 

IvONDON, 189O. 



PREFACE TO THE THIRD AND REVISED EDITION. 



The main features of the revision attempted are: (1) A syste- 
matic use of italics and capitals; (2) a consistent transliteration of 
Sanskrit words; (3) the correction of some mistakes intimated by 
H. P. B. while still living; (4) the removal of some obscurities of 
style; (5) the omission of some passages of a controversial nature, 
which are no longer of general interest. 

G. R. S. M. 
London, 1893. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 



I. 

THEOSOPHY AND THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY. 



THE MEANING OF THE NAME. 

Enquirer. Thcosophy and its doctrines are often rej "erred to as a new- 
fangled religion. Is it a religion ? 

Theosophist. It is not. Theosophy is Divine Knowledge or Science. 

Eno. What is the real meaning of the term ? 

Theo. Divine Wisdom, Theosophia (0eoo-o<ia), or Wisdom of the 
Gods, as Theogonia (Ozoyovia), Genealogy of the Gods. The word 0eos 
means a God in Greek, one of the divine beings, certainly not "God" 
in the sense attached in onr day to the term. Therefore, it is not 
"Wisdom of God," as translated by some, but Divine Wisdom such as 
that possessed by the Gods. The term is many thousand years old. 

Enq. What is the origin of the name? 

Theo. It comes to us from the Alexandrian philosophers, called 
lovers of truth, Philaletheians, from phil (</><A) "loving," and alctheia 
(dXrjOeia) "truth." The name Theosophy dates from the third century of 
our era, and began with Ammonius Saccas and his disciples, who started 
the Eclectic Theosophical system, and were also called Analogeticists. 
As explained by Prof. Alex. Wilder, M.D., F.T.S., in his New Platonism 
and Alchemy* they were so called: 



* A Sketch of the Doctrines and Principal Teachers of the Eclectic or Alexandrian School; also an 
outline of the Interior Doctrines of the Alchemists of the Middle Ages. Albany, N.Y., U.S.A., 1869. 



2 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Because of their practice of interpreting all sacred legends and narratives, myths 
and mysteries, by a rule or principle of analogy and correspondence, so that events 
which were related as having occurred in the external world were regarded as ex- 
pressing operations and experiences of the human soul. 

They were also denominated Neoplatonists. Though Theosophy, 
or the Eclectic Theosophical system, is generally attributed to the third 
century, yet, if Diogenes Laertius is to be credited, its origin is much 
earlier, as he attributed the system to an Egyptian priest, Pot-Amun, 
who lived in the early days of the Ptolemaic dynasty. The same 
author tells us that the name is Coptic, and signifies one consecrated 
to Amun, the God of Wisdom. Theosophy is the equivalent of the 
Sanskrit Brahma- Vidya, Divine Knowledge. 

Enq. What zvas the object of this system ? 

Theo. First of all to inculcate certain great moral truths upon its 
disciples, and all those who were ''lovers of the truth." Hence also 
the motto adopted by the Theosophical Society: ''There is no religion 
higher than truth." 

Eclectic Theosophy was divided under three heads: (i) Belief in one 
absolute, incomprehensible and supreme Deity, or infinite essence, 
which is the root of all Nature, and of all that is, visible and invisible. 
(2) Belief in man's eternal immortal nature, which, being a radiation 
of the Universal Soul, is of an identical essence with it. (3) Theurgy, 
or "divine work," or producing a work of Gods; from theoi, "gods," 
and ergein, "to work." The term is very old, but, as it belongs to the 
vocabulary of the Mysteries, was not in popular use. It was a mystic 
belief practically proven by initiated adepts and priests that, by 
making oneself as pure as the incorporeal beings i.e., by returning to 
one's pristine purity of nature man could move the Gods to impart to 
him Divine Mysteries, and even cause them to become occasionally 
visible, either subjectively or objectively. It was the transcendental 
aspect of what is now called "Spiritualism"; but having been abused 
and misconceived by the populace, it had come to be regarded by some 
as necromancy, and was generally forbidden. A travestied practice of 
the theurgy of Iamblichus lingers still in the ceremonial magic of some 
modern Kabalists. Modern Theosophy avoids and rejects both these 
kinds of magic and necromancy as being very dangerous. Real divine 
theurgy requires an almost superhuman purity and holiness of life; 
otherwise it degenerates into mediumship or black magic. The imme- 
diate disciples of Ammonius Saccas, who was called Theodidaktos, 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 3 

"God-tauglit" such as Plotinus and his follower Porphyry rejected 
theurgy at first, but were finally reconciled to it through Iamblichus, 
who wrote a work to that effect entitled De Mysteriis, under the 
name of his own master, a famous Egyptian priest called Abammon. 
Ammonius Saccas was the sou of Christian parents. But being from 
his childhood repelled by dogmatic spiritualistic Christianity, became a 
Neoplatonist, and like Jakob Bohme and other great seers and mystics, 
is said to have had divine wisdom revealed to him in dreams and 
visions. Hence his name of Theodidaktos. He resolved to reconcile 
every system of religion, and, by demonstrating their identical origin, 
establish one universal creed based on ethics. His life was so blame- 
less and pure, his learning so profound and vast, that several Church 
Fathers were his secret disciples. Clemens Alexandrians speaks very 
highly of him. Plotinus, the "St. John" of Ammonius, was also a 
man universally respected and esteemed, and of the most profound 
learning and integrity. When thirty-nine years of age he accompanied 
the Roman Emperor Gordian and his army to the East, to be instructed 
by the sages of Bactria and India. He had a School of Philosophy in 
Rome Porphyry, his disciple, a Hellenized Jew, whose real name was 
Malek, collected all the writings of his master. Porphyry was also 
himself a great author, and gave an allegorical interpretation of some 
parts of Homer's writings. The system of meditation the Phila- 
letheians resorted to was ecstacy, a system akin to Indian Yoga- 
practice. What is known of the Eclectic School is due to Origen, 
Longinus, and Plotinus, the immediate disciples of Ammonius.* 

The chief aim of the Founders of the Eclectic Theosophical School 
was one of the three objects of its modern successor, the Theosophical 
Society, namely, to reconcile all religious, sects, and nations under a 
common system of ethics, based on eternal verities. 

Enq. What have you to show that this is not an impossible dream; 
and that all the world's religious are based on the one and the same 
truth ? 

Theo. Their comparative study and analysis. The "Wisdom- 
Religion" was one in antiquity; and the sameness of primitive reli- 
gious philosophy is proven to us by the identical doctrines taught to 
the Initiates during the Mysteries, an institution once universally 
diffused. As Dr. Wilder says: 

* For further information see Dr. Wilder's pamphlet. 



4 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

All the old worships indicate the existence of a single Theosophy anterior to 
them. The key that is to open one must open all; otherwise it cannot be the 
right key. 

THE POLICY OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY. 

Enq. In the days of Amtnonius there were several great ancient reli- 
gions, and the sects in Egypt a?id Palestine alone were numerous. How 
could he reconcile them ? 

Theo. By doing that which we again try to do now. The Neo- 
platonists were a large body, and belonged to various religious philo- 
sophies; so do our Theosophists. 

It was under Philadelphus that Judaism established itself in Alexan- 
dria, and forthwith the Hellenic teachers became the dangerous rivals 
of the College of Rabbis of Babylon. As the author of New Platonism 
very pertinently remarks: 

The Buddhistic, Vedantic, and Magian systems were expounded along with the 
philosophies of Greece. It was not wouderful that thoughtful men supposed that 
the strife of words ought to cease, and considered it possible to extract one 
harmonious system from the various teachings. . . . Fantoenus, Athenagoras, 
and Clement were thoroughly instructed in the Platonic philosophy, and com- 
prehended its essential unity with the oriental systems. 

In those days, the Jew Aristobulus affirmed that the ethics of Aris- 
totle represented the esoteric teachings of the Law of Moses; Philo 
Judseus endeavoured to reconcile the Pentateuch with the Pythagorean 
and Platonic philosophy; and Josephus proved that the Essenes of 
Carmel were simply the copyists and followers of the Egyptian Thera- 
peutse, or Healers. So it is in our day. We can show the line of 
descent of every Christian religion, as of every even the smallest 
sect. The latter are the minor twigs or shoots grown on the larger 
branches; but shoots and branches spring from the same trunk the 
Wisdom-Religion. To prove this, was the aim of Ammonius, who 
endeavoured to induce Gentiles and Christians, Jews and Idolaters, to 
lay aside their contentions and strifes, remembering only that they 
were all in possession of the same truth under various vestments, and 
were all the children of a common mother. This is the aim of Theo- 
sophy likewise. 

Says Mosheim of Ammonius: 

Conceiving that not only the philosophers of Greece, but also all those of the 
different barbarous nations, were perfectly in unison with each other with regard to 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 5 

every essential point, [he] made it his business so to expound the tenets of all these 
various sects as to make it appear they had all originated from one and the same 
source, and tended all to one and the same end. 

If the writer on Ammonius in the Edinburgh Encyclopedia knows 
what he is talking about, then he describes the modern Theosophists, 
their beliefs, and their work, for he says, speaking of the Theodidaktos: 

He adopted the doctrines which were received in Egypt [the esoteric were those 
of India] concerning the Universe and the Deity, considered as constituting one 
great whole; concerning the eternity of the world. . . . He also established a 
system of moral discipline which allowed the people in general to live according to 
the laws of their country and the dictates of nature; but required the wise to exalt 
their mind by contemplation. 

Eno. What are your authorities for saying all this of the ancient 
Theosophists of Alexandria? 

Theo. An almost countless number of well-known writers. Mo- 
sheim, one of them, says that Ammonius taught that: 

The religion of the multitude went hand-in-haud with philosophy, and with her 
had shared the fate of being by degrees corrupted and obscured with mere human 
conceits, superstition, and iies; that it ought, therefore, to be brought back to its 
original purity by purging it of this dross and expounding it upon philosophical 
principles: and the whole which Christ had in view was to reinstate and restore to 
its primitive integrity the Wisdom of the ancients ; to reduce within bounds the 
universally-prevailing dominion of superstition; and in part to correct, and in part 
to exterminate the various errors that had found their way into the different 
popular religions. 

This, again, is precisely what the modern Theosophists say. Only 
while the great Philaletheian was supported and helped in the policy 
he pursued by two Church Fathers, Clement and Athenagoras, by the 
learned Rabbis of the Synagogue, by the philosophers of the Academy 
and the Grove, and while he taught a common doctrine for all, we, his 
followers on the same line, receive no recognition, but, on the contrary, 
are abused and persecuted. People 1,500 years ago are thus shown to 
have been more tolerant than they are in this "enlightened" century. 

Enq. Was Ammonius encouraged and supported by the Church because, 
notwithstanding his heresies, he taught Christianity and ivas a Christian ? 

Theo. Not at all. He was born a Christian, but never accepted 
Church Christianity. As said of him by Dr. Wilder: 

He had but to propound his instructions "according to the ancient pillars of 
Hermes, which Plato and Pythagoras knew before, and from them constituted 
their philosophy." Finding the same in the prologue of the Gospel according to 



6 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

John, he very properly supposed that the purpose of Jesus was to restore the great 
doctrine of Wisdom in its primitive integrity. The narratives of the Bible and the 
stories of the gods he considered to be allegories illustrative of the truth, or else 
fables to be rejected. 

Moreover, as says the Edinburgh Encyclopedia : 

He acknowledged that Jesus Christ was an excellent man and the friend of God, 
but alleged that it was not his design entirely to abolish the worship of demons 
[gods], and that his only intention was to purify the ancient religion. 

THE WISDOM-RELIGION ESOTERIC IN ALL AGES. 

Enq. Since Ammonius never committed anything to writing, how can 
one feel sure that such were his teachings? 

Theo. Neither did Buddha, Pythagoras, Confucius, Orpheus, Soc- 
rates, nor even Jesus, leave behind them any writings. Yet most of 
these are historical personages, and their teachings have all survived. 
The disciples of Ammonius, among whom were Origen and Herennius, 
wrote treatises and explained his ethics. Certainly the latter are as 
historical, if not more so, than the Apostolic writings. Moreover, his 
pupils Origen, Plotinus, and Longinus, counsellor of the famous 
Queen Zenobia have all left records of the Philaletheian System so 
far, at all events, as their public profession of faith was known, for the 
School was divided into exoteric and esoteric teachings. 

Enq. Hoiv have the latter tenets reached our day, since you hold that 
what is properly called the Wisdom-Religion was esoteric? 

Theo. The Wisdom-Religion was ever one and the same, and being 
the last word of possible human knowledge, was, therefore, carefully 
preserved. It preceded by long ages the*Alexandrian Theosophists, 
reached the modern, and will survive every other religion and philo- 
sophy. 

Enq. Where and by -whom was it so preserved 7 

Theo. Among Initiates of every country; among profound seekers 
after truth their disciples; and in those parts of the world where such 
topics have always been most valued and pursued in India, Central 
Asia, and Persia. 

Enq. Can you give vie some proofs of its csotericism ? 

Theo. The best proof you can have of the fact is that every ancient 
religious, or rather philosophical, cult consisted of an esoteric or secret 
teaching, and an exoteric or outward public worship. Furthermore, it 



THE KEY TO TIIEOSOPHY. 7 

is a well-known fact that the Mysteries of the ancients comprised with 
every nation the Greater (secret) and Lesser (public) Mysteries as, for 
instance, in the celebrated solemnities called the Eleusinia, in Greece. 
From the Hierophants of Samothrace, Egypt, and the initiated Brah- 
mans of the India of old, down to the later Hebrew Rabbis, all, for 
fear of profanation, kept their real bona fide beliefs secret. The Jewish 
Rabbis called their secular religious series the Mercavah, or exterior 
body, the "vehicle," or covering which contains the hidden soul their 
highest secret knowledge. The priests of the ancient nations never 
imparted their real philosophical secrets to the masses. They allotted 
to the latter only the husks. Northern Buddhism has its Greater and 
its Lesser Vehicle, known as the Mahayana, the esoteric, and the Hina- 
yana, the exoteric, Schools. Nor can you blame them for such secrecy; 
for surely you would not think of feeding your flock of sheep on learned 
dissertations on botany instead of on grass? Pythagoras called his 
Gnosis "the knowledge of things that are," or 17 yiwis rwv Svtwv, and 
preserved that Knowledge for his pledged disciples only for those 
who could digest such mental food and feel satisfied ; whom he pledged 
to silence and secrecy. Occult alphabets and secret ciphers are the 
development of the old Egyptian hieratic writings, the secret of which 
was, in the days of old, in the possession only of the Hierogrammatists, 
or initiated Egyptian priests. Ammonius Saccas, as his biographers 
tell us, bound his pupils by oath not to divulge his higher doctrines 
except to those who had already been instructed in preliminary know- 
ledge, and who were also bound by a pledge. Finally do we not find 
the same also in early Christianity, among the Gnostics, and even in 
the teachings of Christ? Did he not speak to the multitudes in parables 
which had a two-fold meaning, and explain his reasons only to his 
disciples? "Unto you," he says, "it is given to know the mystery of 
the kingdom of God ; but unto them that are without, all these things 
are done in parables."* And the author of Nciv Platonism tells us 
that: 

The Essenes of Judea and Carmel made similar distinctions, dividing their ad- 
herents into neophytes, brethren, and the perfect [or those initiated]. 

Examples might be brought from every country to this effect. 

Enq. Caw yoti attain the "Secret Wisdom" simply by study? Ency- 
clopedias define Theosophy pretty much as Webster' s Dictionary docs, i.e., 

* Mark, iv. 11. 



8 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

as "supposed intercourse with God and superior spirits, and consequent 
attainment of superhuman knowledge by physical ... .or ... . 
chemical processes." Is this so? 

Theo. I think not. Nor is there any lexicographer capable of 
explaining, whether to himself or others, how superhuman knowledge 
can be attained by physical or chemical processes. Had Webster said 
by metaphysical and alchemical processes, the definition would be 
approximately correct: as it is, it is absurd. Ancient Theosophists 
/ claimed, and so do the modern, that the infinite cannot be known by 
the finite i.e., sensed by the finite self but that the divine essence 
could be communicated to the higher spiritual Self in a state of ecstasy. 
This condition can hardly be attained, like hypnotism, by "physical 
and chemical processes." 

Enq. What is your explanation of if? 

Theo. Real ecstasy was defined by Plotinus as "the liberation of 
the mind from its finite consciousness, becoming one and identified with 
the Infinite." This is the highest condition, says Dr. A. Wilder, but 
not one of permanent duration, and it is reached only by the very very 
few. It is, indeed, identical with that state which is known in India as 
Samadhi. The latter is practised by the Yogis, who facilitate it physic- 
ally by the greatest abstinence in food and drink, and mentally by an 
incessant endeavour to purify and elevate the mind. Meditation is 
silent and unuttered prayer, or, as Plato expressed it: 

The ardent turning of the soul toward God; not to ask any particular good [as in 
the common meaning of prayer], but for good itself for the universal Supreme 
Good [of which we are a part on earth, and out of the essence of which we have all 
emerged]. . . . Therefore remain silent in the presence of the divine ones, till 
they remove the clouds from thy eyes and enable thee to see by the light which 
issues from themselves, not what appears as good to thee, but what is intrinsically 
good. 

This is what the scholarly author of New Plalonism, Dr. A. Wilder, 
describes as "spiritual photography." 

The soul is the camera in which facts and events, future, past, and present, are 
alike fixed; and the mind becomes conscious of them. Beyond our every-day 
world of limits, all is one day or state the past and future comprised in the pre- 
sent. . . . [Death is the last ecstasis on earth.] Then the soul is freed from the 
constraint of the body, and its nobler part is united to higher nature and becomes 
partaker in the wisdom and foreknowledge of the higher beings. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 9 

Real Theosophy is, for the mystics, that state which Apollonius of 
Tyana was made to describe thus: 

I can see the present and the future as in a clear mirror. The sage need not wait 
for the vapours of the earth and the corruption of the air to foresee [events]. . . . 
The theoi, or gods, see the future; common men, the present; sages, that which is 
about to take place. 

The Theosophy of the Sages he speaks of, is well expressed in the 
assertion, "The Kingdom of God is within us." 

Enq. Theosophy, then, is not, as held by some, a newly devised scheme? 

Theo. Only ignorant people can thus refer to it. It is as old as 
the world, in its teachings and ethics, if not in name, as it is also the 
broadest and most catholic system among all. 

Enq. How comes it, then, that Theosophy has remained so unknown to 
the nations of the Western Hemisphere? Why should it have been a sealed 
book to races confessedly the most cultured and advanced? 

Theo. We believe there were nations as cultured in days of old and 
certainly more spiritually "advanced" than we are. But there are 
several reasons for this willing ignorance. One of them was given by 
St. Paul to the cultured Athenians a loss, for long centuries, of real 
spiritual insight, and even interest, owing to their too great devotion to 
things of sense and their long slavery to the dead letter of dogma and 
ritualism. But the strongest reason for it lies in the fact that real 
Theosophy has ever been kept secret. 

Enq. You have brought forward proofs that such secrecy has existed; 
but what 7vas the real cause for it ? 

Theo. The causes for it were: Firstly, the perversity of average 
human nature and its selfishness, always tending to the gratification of 
personal desires to the detriment of neighbours and next of kin. Such 
people could never be entrusted with divine secrets. Secondly, their 
unreliability to keep the sacred and divine knowledge from desecration. 
It is the latter which led to the perversion of the most sublime truths 
and symbols, and to the gradual transformation of things spiritual into 
anthropomorphic, concrete and gross imagery in other words, to the 
dwarfing of the god-idea and to idolatry. 

THEOSOPHY IS NOT BUDDHISM. 

Enq. You arc often spoken of as " Esoteric Buddhists!' Are you then 
all followers of Gautama Buddha ? 



IO THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Theo. No more than musicians are all followers of Wagner. Some 
of us are Buddhists by religion ; yet there are far more Hindus and 
Brahmans than Buddhists among us, and more Christian-born Europeans 
and Americans than converted Buddhists. The mistake has arisen 
from a misunderstanding of the real meaning of the title of Mr. A. P. 
Sinnett's excellent work, Esoteric Buddhism. The last word ought to 
have been spelt with one, instead of two, d's, for then Budhism would 
have meant what it was intended for, namely "Wisdom-Religion" 
(from bodha, bodhi, "intelligence," "wisdom"), instead of Buddhism, 
Gautama's religious philosophy. Theosophy, as already said, is the 
Wisdom-Religion. 

Enq. What is the difference between Buddhism, the religion founded 
by the Prince of Kapilavastu, a?id Budhism, the " Wisdom- Religion'''' 
which you say is synonymous with Theosophy ? 

Theo. Just the same difference as there is between the later ritualism 
and dogmatic theology of the Churches and Sects and the secret teach- 
ings of Christ, which are called "the mysteries of the Kingdom of 
Heaven." Buddha means the "Enlightened" by Bodha, or Under- 
standing, Wisdom. This has passed root and branch into the esoteric 
teachings that Gautama imparted to his chosen Arhats only. 

Enq. But so?ne Orientalists deny that Buddha ever taught any esoteric 
doctrine at all. 

Theo. They may as well deny that Nature has any hidden secrets 
for men of science. Further on I will prove it by Buddha's conversa- 
tion with his disciple Ananda. His esoteric teachings were simply the 
Gupta- Vidya, or secret knowledge, of the ancient Brahmans, the key 
to which their modern successors have, with few exceptions, com- 
pletely lost. And this Vidya has passed into what is now known as 
the inner teachings of the Mahayana School of Northern Buddhism. 
Those who deny it are simply ignorant pretenders to Orientalism. I 
advise you to read the Rev. Mr. Edkius' Chinese Buddhism especially 
the chapters on the exoteric and esoteric schools and teachings and 
then compare the testimony of the whole ancient world upon the 
subject. 

Enq. But are not the ethics of Theosophy identical with those taught by 
Buddha ? 

Theo. Certainly, because these ethics are the soul of the Wisdom- 
Religion, and were once the common property of the initiates of all 



the; key to theosophy. ii 

nations. But Buddha was the first to embody these lofty ethics in his 
public teachings, and to make them the foundation and the very essence 
of his public system. It is herein that lies the immense difference 
between exoteric Buddhism and every other religion. For while in 
other religious ritualism and dogma hold the first and most important 
place, in Buddhism it is the ethics which have always been the most 
insisted upon. This accounts for the resemblance, amounting almost 
to identity, between the ethics of Theosophy and those of the religion 
of Buddha. 

Enq. Are there any great points of difference ? 

Theo. One great distinction between Theosophy and exoteric Buddh- 
ism is that the latter, represented by the Southern Church, entirely 
denies (a) the existence of any Deity, and (U) any conscious post 
mortem life, or even any self-conscious surviving individuality in man. 
Such at least is the teaching of the Siamese Sect, now considered as 
the purest form of exoteric Buddhism. And it is so, if we refer only to 
Buddha's public teachings; the reason for such reticence on his part I 
will give further on. But the schools of the Northern Buddhist Church, 
established in those countries to which his initiated Arhats retired after 
the Master's death, teach all that is now called Theosophical doctrines, 
because they form part of the knowledge of the initiates thus proving 
how the truth has been sacrificed to the dead-letter by the too-zealous 
orthodoxy of Southern Buddhism. But how much grander and more 
noble, more philosophical and scientific, even in its dead letter, is this 
teaching than that of any other Church or religion. Yet Theosophy is 
not Buddhism. 



II. 

EXOTERIC AND ESOTERIC THEOSOPHY, 



WHAT THE MODERN THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IS NOT 

Enq. Your doctrines, then, are not a revival of Buddhism, nor are they 
entirely copied from the Neoplatonic Theosophy ? 

Theo. They are not. But to these questions I cannot give you a 
better answer than by quoting from a paper read on "Theosophy" by 
Dr. J. D. Buck, F.T.S., before the last Theosophical Convention, at 
Chicago, 111., U.S.A. (April, 1889). No living Theosophist has better 
expressed and understood the real essence of Theosophy than our 
honoured friend Dr. Buck: 

The Theosophical Society was organized for the purpose of promulgating the 
Theosophical doctrines, and for the promotion of the Theosophic life. The present 
Theosophical Society is not the first of its kind. I have a volume entitled: Theo- 
sophical Transactions of the Philadelphian Society, published in London in 1697 ; 
and another with the following title: Introduction to Theosophy; or the "Science 
of the Mystery of Christ; that is, of Deity, Nature, and Creature, embracing the 
Philosophy of all the Working Powers of Life, Magical and Spiritual, and forming 
a Practical Guide to the Sublimest Purity, Sanctity, and Evangelical Perfection ; 
also to the Attainment of Divine Vision, and the Holy Angelic Arts, Potencies, and 
other Prerogatives of the Regeneration"; published in London in 1855. The follow- 
ing is the dedication of this volume: 

" To the students of Universities, Colleges, and Schools of Christendom : To Pro- 
fessors of Metaphysical, Mechanical, and Natural Science in all its forms: To men 
and women of education generally, of fundamental orthodox Faith: To Deists, 
Arians, Unitarians, Swedenborgians, and other defective and ungrounded creeds, 
rationalists, and sceptics of every kind: To just-minded and enlightened Moham- 
medans, Jews, and oriental Patriarch-religionists: but especially to the gospel 
minister and missionary, whether to the barbaric or intellectual peoples, this intro- 
duction to Theosophy, or the science of the ground and mystery of all things, is 
most humbly and affectionately dedicated." 

In the following year (1856) another volume was issued, royal octavo, of 600 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 13 

pages, diamond type, of Theosophical Miscellanies. Of the last-named work 500 
copies only were issued, for gratuitous distribution to Libraries and Universities. 
These earlier movements, of which there were many, originated within the Church, 
with persons of great piety and earnestness, and of unblemished character; and 
all of these writings were in orthodox form, using the Christian expressions, and, 
like the writings of the eminent Churchman William Law, would only be dis- 
tinguished by the ordinary reader for their great earnestness and piety. These 
were one and all but attempts to derive and explain the deeper meanings and 
original import of the Christian Scriptures, and to illustrate and unfold the Theo- 
sophic life. These works were soon forgotten, and are now generally unknown. 
They sought to reform the clergy and revive genuine piety, and were never wel- 
comed. That one word, "heresy," was sufficient to bury them in the limbo of all 
such Utopias. At the time of the Reformation John Reuchlin made a similar 
attempt with the same result, though he was the intimate and trusted* friend of 
Luther. Orthodoxy never desired to be informed and enlightened. These re- 
formers were informed, as was Paul by Festus, that too much learning had made 
them mad, and that it would be dangerous to go farther. Passing by the verbiage, 
which was partly a matter of habit and education with these writers, and partly 
due to religious restraint through secular power, and coming to the core of the 
matter, these writings were Theosophical in the strictest sense, and pertain solely 
to man's knowledge of his own nature and the higher life of the soul. The present 
Theosophical movement has sometimes been declared to be an attempt to convert 
Christendom to Buddhism, which means simply that the word "heresy" has lost 
its terrors and relinquished its power. Individuals in every age have more or less 
clearly apprehended the Theosophical doctrines and wrought them into the fabric 
of their lives. These doctrines belong exclusively to no religion, and are confined 
to no society or time. They are the birthright of every human soul. Such a thing 
as orthodoxy must be wrought out by each individual according to his nature and 
his needs, and according to his varying experience. This may explain why those 
who have imagined Theosophy to be a new religion have hunted in vain for its 
creed and its ritual. Its creed is Loyalty to Truth, and its ritual "To honour every 
truth by use." 

How little this principle of Universal Brotherhood is understood by the masses 
of mankind, how seldom its transcendent importance is recognized, may be seen in 
the diversity of opinion and fictitious interpretations regarding the Theosophical 
Society. This Society was organized on this one principle, the essential Brother- 
hood of Man, as herein briefly outlined and imperfectly set forth. It has been 
assailed as Buddhistic and anti-Christian, as though it could be both these together, 
when both Buddhism and Christianity, as set forth by their inspired founders, make 
brotherhood the one essential of doctrine and of life. Theosophy has been also 
regarded as something new under the sun, or at best as old mysticism masquerading 
under a new name. While it is true that many societies founded upon, and united 
to support, the principles of altruism, or essential brotherhood, have borne various 
names, it is also true that many have also been called Theosophic, and with prin- 
ciples and aims as the present society bearing that name. With these societies, one 



14 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

and all, the essential doctrine has been the same, and all else has been incidental, 
though this does not obviate the fact that many persons are attracted to the 
incidentals who overlook or ignore the essentials. 

No better or more explicit answer by a man who is one of our most 
esteemed and earnest Theosophists could be given to } 7 our questions. 

Enq. Which system do you prefer or follow, in that case, besides 
Buddhistic ethics ? 

Theo. None, and all. We hold to no religion, and to no philosophy 
in particular: we cull the good we find in each. But here, again, it 
must be stated that, like all other ancient systems, Theosophy is 
divided into exoteric and esoteric sections. 

Eno. What is the difference? 

Theo. The members of the Theosophical Society at large are free 
to profess whatever religion or philosophy they like, or none if they so 
prefer, provided they are in sympathy with, and ready to carry out one 
or more of the three objects of the Association. The Society is a 
philanthropic and scientific body for the propagation of the idea of 
brotherhood on practical instead of theoretical lines. The Fellows may 
be Christians or Mussulmans, Jews or Parsis, Buddhists or Brahmans, 
Spiritualists or Materialists, it does not matter; but every member 
must be either a philanthropist, or a scholar, a searcher into Aryan and 
other old literature, or a psychic student. In short, he has to help, if 
he can, in the carrying out of at least one of the objects of the pro- 
gramme. Otherwise he has no reason for becoming a Fellow. Such 
are the majority of the exoteric Society, composed of "attached" and 
"unattached" members.* These may, or may not, become Theo- 
sophists de facto. Members they are, by virtue of their having joined 
the Society ; but the latter cannot make a Theosophist of one who has 
no sense for the divine fitness of things, or of him who understands 
Theosophy in his own if the expression may be used sectarian and 
egotistic way. "Handsome is, as handsome does" could be paraphrased 
in this case and made to run, " Theosophist is, who Theosophy does." 

THEOSOPHISTS AND MEMBERS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY. 
Enq. This applies to lay members, as I understand. And what of those 
who ptirsue the esoteric study of Theosophy ; are they the real Theosophists? 

* An " attached" member means one who has joined some particular Branch of the Theosophical 
Society. An " unattached," one who belongs to the Society at large, has his diploma from the Head- 
quarters (Adyar, Madras), but is connected with no Branch or Lodge. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 1 5 

Theo. Not necessarily, until they have proven themselves to be 
such. They have entered the inner group and pledged themselves 
to carry out, as strictly as they can, the rules of the occult body. This 
is a difficult undertaking, as the foremost rule of all is the entire re- 
nunciation of one's personality i.e., a pledged member has to become 
a thorough altruist, never to think of himself, and to forget his own 
vanity and pride in the thought of the good of his fellow-creatures, 
besides that of his fellow-brothers in the esoteric circle. He has to live, 
if the esoteric instructions shall profit him, a life of abstinence in every- 
thing, of self-denial and strict morality, doing his duty by all men. The 
few real Theosophists in the T. S. are among these members. This does 
not imply that outside of the T. S. and the inner circle, there are no 
Theosophists ; for there are, and more than people know of; certainly 
far more than are found among the lay members of the T. S. 

Enq. Then what is the good of joining the so-called Thcosophical 
Society in that case? Where is the incentive? 

Theo. None, except the advantage of getting esoteric instructions, 
the genuine doctrines of the Esoteric Philosophy, and if the real pro- 
gramme is carried out, deriving much help from mutual aid and 
sympathy. Union is strength and harmony, and well-regulated simul- 
taneous efforts produce wonders. This has been the secret of all 
associations and communities since mankind existed. 

Enq. But why could not a man of well-balanced mind and singleness 
of purpose, one, say, of indomitable energy and perseverance, become an 
Occultist and even an Adept if lie works alone? 

Theo. He may; but there are ten thousand chances against one 
that he will fail. For one reason out of many others, no books on 
Occultism or Theurgy exist in our day which give out the secrets of 
Alchemy or mediaeval Theosophy in plain language. All are sym- 
bolical or in parables ; and as the key to these has been lost for ages 
in the West, how can a man learn the correct meaning of what he is 
reading and studying? Therein lies the greatest danger, one that leads 
to unconscious black magic or the most helpless mediumship. He who 
has not an Initiate for a master had better leave the dangerous study 
alone. L,ook around you and observe. While two-thirds of "civilized" 
society ridicule the mere notion that there is anything in Theosophy, 
Occultism, Spiritualism, or in the Kabalah, the other third is composed 
of the most heterogeneous and opposite elements. Some believe in 



1 6 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

the mystical, and even in the supernatural (!), but each believes in his 
own way. Others will rush single-handed into the study of the 
Kabalah, Psychism, Mesmerism, Spiritualism, or some form or another 
of Mysticism. Result: no two men think alike, no two are agreed 
upon any fundamental occult principles, though many are those who 
claim for themselves the 7iltima thule of knowledge, and would make 
outsiders believe that they are full-blown Adepts. Not only is there 
no scientific and accurate knowledge of Occultism accessible in the 
West not even of true Astrology, the only branch of Occultism which, 
in its exoteric teachings, has definite laws and a definite system but no 
one has any idea of what real Occultism means. Some limit ancient 
wisdom to the Kabalah and the Jewish Zohar, which each interprets in 
his own way according to the dead letter of the Rabbinical methods. 
Others regard Swedenborg or Bohme as the ultimate expressions of the 
highest wisdom ; while others again see in Mesmerism the great secret 
of ancient Magic. One and all of those who put their theory into 
practice are rapidly drifting, through ignorance, into black magic. 
Happy are those who escape from it, as they have neither test nor 
criterion by which they can distinguish between the true and the false. 

Enq. Are we to understand that the inner group of the T. S. claims to 
learn what it does/?vm real Initiates or Masters of Esoteric Wisdom ? 

Theo. Not directly. The personal presence of such Masters is not 
required. Suffice it if they give instructions to some of those who 
have studied under their guidance for years, and devoted their whole 
lives to their service. Then, in turn, these can give out the knowledge 
so imparted to others, who had no such opportunity. A portion of the 
true sciences is better than a mass of undigested and misunderstood 
learning. An ounce of gold is worth a ton of dust. 

Enq. But how is one to know whether the ounce is real gold or only a 
counterfeit ? 

Theo. A tree is known by its fruit, a system by its results. When 
our opponents are able to prove to us that any solitary student of 
Occultism throughout the ages has become a saintly Adept like Am- 
monious Saccas, or even a Plotinus, or a Theurgist like Iamblichus, or 
achieved feats such as are claimed to have been done by St. Germain, 
without any master to guide him, and all this without being a medium, 
a self-deluded psychic, or a charlatan then shall we confess ourselves 
mistaken. But till then, Theosophists prefer to follow the proven 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 17 

natural law of the tradition of the Sacred Science. There are mystics 
who have made great discoveries in chemistry and physical sciences, 
almost bordering on Alchemy and Occultism ; others who, by the sole 
aid of their genius, have rediscovered portions, if not the whole, of the 
lost alphabets of the " mystery language," and are, therefore, able to 
read correctly Hebrew scrolls; others still, who, being seers, have 
caught wonderful glimpses of the hidden secrets of Nature. But all 
these are specialists. One is a theoretical inventor, another a Hebrew, 
i.e., a sectarian Kabalist, a third a Swedenborg of modern times, deny- 
ing all and everything outside of his own particular science or religion. 
Not one of them can boast of having produced a universal or even a 
national benefit thereby, or a benefit even to himself. With the excep- 
tion of a few healers of that class which the Royal College of Physicians 
or Surgeons would call quacks none have helped with their science 
Humanity, or even a number of men of the same community. Where 
are the Chaldees of old, those who wrought marvellous cures, "not by 
charms but by simples"? Where is an Apollonius of Tyana, who 
healed the sick and raised the dead under any climate and circum- 
stances? We know some specialists of the former class even in 
Europe, but of the latter, only in Asia, where the secret of the Yogi, 
"to live in death," is still preserved. 

Enq. Is the production of such healing adepts the aim of Thcosophy ? 

Theo. Its aims are several; but the most important are those which 
are likely to lead to the relief of human suffering under any or every 
form, moral as well as physical. And we believe the former to be far 
more important than the latter. Theosophy has to inculcate ethics; it 
has to purify the soul, if it would relieve the physical body, whose ail 
ments, save cases of accidents, are all hereditary. It is not by studying 
Occultism for selfish ends, for the gratification of one's personal ambi- 
tion, pride, or vanity, that one can ever reach the true goal of helping 
suffering mankind. Nor is it by studying one single branch of the 
Esoteric Philosophy that a man becomes an Occultist, but by studying, 
if not mastering, them all. 

Enq. Is help, then, to reach this most important aim, gitwi only to those 
who study the Esoteric Sciences ? 

Theo. Not at all. Every lay member is entitled to general instruc- 
tion if he only wants it; but few are willing to become what is called 
"working members," and most prefer to remain the "drones" of Theo- 



1 8 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

sophy. Let it be understood that private research is encouraged in the 
T. S., provided it does not infringe the limit which separates the exoteric 
from the esoteric, the blind from the conscious magic. 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEOSOPHY AND OCCULTISM. 

Enq. You speak of Theosophy and Occultism ; are they identical? 

Theo. By no means. A man may be a very good Theosophist 
indeed, whether in or outside of the Society, without being in any way 
an Occultist. But no one can be a true Occultist without being a real 
Theosophist; otherwise he is simply a black magician, whether con- 
scious or unconscious. 

Enq. What do you mean ? 

Theo. I have said already that a true Theosophist must put in 
practice the loftiest moral ideal, must strive to realize his unity with 
the whole of humanity, and work ceaselessly for others. Now, if an 
Occultist does not do all this, he must act selfishly for his own personal 
benefit; and if he has acquired more practical power than other ordinary 
men, he becomes forthwith a far more dangerous enemy to the world 
and those around him than the average mortal. This is clear. 

Enq. Then is an Occultist simply a man who possesses more power than 
other people? 

Theo. Far more if he is a practical and really learned Occultist, 
and not one only in name. Occult sciences are not, as described in 
Encyclopaedias, " those imaginary sciences of the Middle Ages which 
related to the supposed action or influence of occult qualities or super- 
natural powers, as alchemy, magic, necromancy, and astrology," for 
they are real, actual, and very dangerous sciences. They teach the 
secret potency of things in Nature, developing and cultivating the 
hidden powers "latent in man," thus giving him tremendous advan- 
tages over more ignorant mortals. Hypnotism, now become so 
common and a subject of serious scientific enquiry, is a good instance 
in point. Hypnotic power has been discovered almost by accident; 
the way to it having been prepared by mesmerism. And now an able 
hypnotizer can do almost anything with it, from forcing a man, uncon- 
sciously to himself, to play the fool, to making him commit a crime 
often by proxy for the hypnotizer, and for the latter's benefit. Is not 
this a terrible power if left in the hands of unscrupulous persons? 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. ig 

And please to remember that this is only one of the minor branches 
of Occultism. 

Exo. But are not all these occult sciences, magic, and sorcery, considered 
by the most cultured and learned people as relics of ancient ignorance and 
superstition ? 

Theo. Let me remind you that this remark of yours cuts both 
ways. The "most cultured and learned" among you regard also 
Christianity and every other religion as a relic of ignorance and 
superstition. People begin to believe now, at any rate, in hypnotism, 
and some even of the most cultured in Theosophy and phenomena. 
But who among them, except preachers and blind fanatics, will confess 
to a belief in biblical miracles? And this is where the point of differ- 
ence comes in. There are very good and pure Theosophists who may 
believe in the supernatural, divine "miracles" included, but no Oc- 
cultist will do so. For an Occultist practises scientific Theosophy, 
based on accurate knowledge of Nature's secret workings; but a 
Theosophist, practising the powers called abnormal, minus the light 
of Occultism, will simply tend toward a dangerous form of medium- 
ship, because, although holding to Theosophy and its highest conceiv- 
able code of ethics, he practises it in the dark, on sincere but blind 
faith. Anyone, Theosophist or Spiritualist, who attempts to cultivate 
one of the branches of occult science e.g., hypnotism, mesmerism, or 
even the secrets of producing physical phenomena without the know- 
ledge of the philosophic rationale of those powers, is like a rudderless 
boat launched on a stormy ocean. 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEOSOPHY AND SPIRITUALISM. 

Enq. But do you not believe in Spiritualism ? 

Theo. If by "Spiritualism" you mean the explanation which 
Spiritualists give of some abnormal phenomena, then decidedly we do 
not. They maintain that these manifestations are all produced by the 
"spirits" of departed mortals, generally their relatives, who return to 
earth, they say, to communicate with those they have loved or to whom 
they are attached. We deny this point blank. .We assert that the 
spirits of the dead cannot return to earth save in rare and exceptional 
cases, of which I may speak later; nor do they communicate with men 
except by entirely subjective means. That which appears objectively, is 
only the phantom of the ex-physical man. But in psychic, and so to 
say, spiritual Spiritualism, we do believe, most decidedly. 



20 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Enq. Do you reject the phenomena also ? 

Theo. Assuredly not save cases of conscious fraud. 

Enq. How do you account for them, then ? 

Theo. In many ways. The causes of such manifestations are by 
no means so simple as the Spiritualists would like to believe. Fore- 
most of all, the deus ex machina of the so-called "materializations" is 
usually the astral body or "double" of the medium or of some one 
present. This astral body is also the producer or operating force in 
the manifestations of slate- writing, "Davenport"-like manifestations, 
and so on. 

Enq. You say "usually" ; then zvhat is it that produces the rest? 

Theo. That depends on the nature of the manifestations. Some- 
times the astral remains, the kamalokic "shells" of the vanished per- 
sonalities that were; at other times, elementals. "Spirit" is a word of 
manifold and wide significance. I really do not know what Spiritualists 
mean by the term ; but what we understand them to claim is that the 
physical phenomena are produced by the reincarnating Ego, the spi- 
ritual and immortal individuality. And this hypothesis we entirely 
reject. The conscious individuality of the disembodied cannot mate- 
rialize, nor can it return from its own mental devachanic sphere to the 
plane of terrestrial objectivity. 

Enq. But many of the communications received from the "spirits" 
show not only intelligence, but a k?wwledge of facts ?iot known to the 
medium, and sometimes even not consciously present to the mind of the 
investigator or a?iy of those who compose the audience. 

. Theo. This does not necessarily prove that the intelligence and 
knowledge you speak of belong to spirits, or emanate from disembodied 
souls. Somnambulists have been known to compose music and poetry 
and to solve mathematical problems while in their trance state, without 
having ever learned music or mathematics. Others answered intelli- 
gently questions put to them, and even, in several cases, spoke lan- 
guages, such as Hebrew and Latin, of which they were entirely ignorant 
when awake all this in a state of profound sleep. Will you, then, 
maintain that this was caused by "spirits"? 
Enq. But how would you explain it? 

Theo. We assert that the divine spark in man being one and 
identical in its essence with the Universal Spirit, our "Spiritual Self" 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 21 

is practically omniscient, but that it cannot manifest its knowledge 
owing to the impediments of matter. Now the more these impedi- 
ments are removed, in other words, the more the physical body is 
paralyzed, as to its own independent activity and consciousness, as in 
deep sleep or deep trance, or, again, in illness, the more fully can the 
inner Self manifest on this plane. This is our explanation of those 
truly wonderful phenomena of a higher order, in which undeniable 
intelligence and knowledge are exhibited. As to the lower order of 
manifestations, such as physical phenomena and the platitudes and 
common talk of the general "spirit," to explain even the most im- 
portant of the teachings we hold upon the subject would take up more 
space and time than can be allotted to it at present. We have no 
desire to interfere with the belief of the Spiritualists any more than 
with any other belief. The onus probandi must fall on the believers in 
"spirits." And at the present moment, while still convinced that the 
higher kind of manifestations occur through disembodied souls, the 
leaders of the Spiritualists and the most learned and intelligent among 
them are the first to confess that not all the phenomena are produced 
by spirits. Gradually they will come to recognize the whole truth; 
but meanwhile we have no right nor desire to proselytize them to our 
views. The less so, as in the cases of purely psychic and spiritual ma?ii- 
festatioiis we believe in the intercommunication of the spirit of the 
living man with that of disembodied personalities. 

We say that in such cases it is not the spirits of the dead who descend 
on earth, but the spirits of the living that ascend to the pure Spiritual 
Souls. In truth there is neither ascending nor descending, but a change 
of state or condition for the medium. The body of the latter becoming 
paralyzed, or entranced, the spiritual Ego is free from its trammels, 
and finds itself on the same plane of consciousness as the disembodied 
spirits. Hence, if there is any spiritual attraction between the two 
they can communicate, as often occurs in dreams. The difference be- 
tween a mediumistic and a non-sensitive nature is this: the liberated 
spirit of a medium has the opportunity and facility of influencing the 
passive organs of its entranced physical body, and making them act, 
speak, and write at its will. The Kgo can make it repeat, echo-like, 
and in human language, the thoughts and ideas of the disembodied 
entity, as well as its own. But the non-receptive or non-sensitive 
organism of one who is very positive cannot be so influenced. Hence, 
although there is hardly a human being whose Kgo does not hold free 












22 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

intercourse, during the sleep of its body, with those whom it loved and 
lost, yet, on account of the positiveness and non-receptivity of its 
physical envelope and brain, no recollection, or a very dim, dream-like 
remembrance, lingers in the memory of the person when once awake. 

Enq. This means that you reject the philosophy of Spiritualism in 
toto? 

Theo. If by "philosophy" you mean its crude theories, we do. 
But it has no philosophy, in truth. The best, the most intellectual 
and earnest defenders of Spiritualism say so. Their fundamental and 
only unimpeachable truth, namely, that phenomena occur through 
mediums controlled by invisible forces and intelligences no one, 
except a blind materialist of the Huxley "big toe" school, will or can 
deny. With regard to their philosophy, however, let me quote to you 
what the able editor of Light, than whom the Spiritualists will find 
no wiser nor more devoted champion, says of them and their philo- 
sophy. This is what "M.A. Oxon.," one of the very few philosophical 
Spiritualists, writes, with respect to their lack of organization and 
blind bigotry: 

It is worth while to look steadily at this point, for it is of vital moment. We 
have an experience and a knowledge beside which all other knowledge is compara- 
tively insignificant. The ordinary Spiritualist waxes wroth if anyone ventures to 
impugn his assured knowledge of the future and his absolute certainty of the life 
to come. Where other men have stretched forth feeble hands groping into the 
dark future, he walks boldly as one who has a chart and knows his way. Where 
other men have stopped short at a pious aspiration or have been content with a 
hereditary faith, it is his boast that he knows what they only believe, and that out 
of his rich stores he can supplement the fading faiths built only upon hope. He 
is magnificent in his dealings with man's most cherished expectations. "You 
hope," he seems to say, "for that which I can demonstrate. You have accepted a 
traditional belief in what I can experimentally prove according to the strictest 
scientific method. The old beliefs are fading; come out from them and be 
separate. They contain as much falsehood as truth. Only by building on a sure 
foundation of demonstrated fact can your superstructure be stable. All round you 
old faiths are toppling. Avoid the crash and get you out." 

When one cotnes to deal with this magnificent person in a practical way, what is 
the result? Very curious and very disappointing. He is so sure of his ground 
that he takes no trouble to ascertain the interpretation which others put upon his 
facts. The wisdom of the ages has concerned itself with the explanation of what 
he rightly regards as proven; but he does not turn a passing glance on its re- 
searches. He does not even agree altogether with his brother Spiritualist. It is 
the story over again of the old Scotch body who, together with her husband, 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 23 

formed a "kirk." They had exclusive keys to Heaven, or, rather, she had, for she 
was "na certain aboot Jamie." So the infinitely divided and subdivided and re- 
subdivided sects of Spiritualists shake their heads, and are "na certain aboot" one 
another. Again, the collective experience of mankind is solid and unvarying on 
this point that union is strength, and disunion a source of weakness and failure. 
Shoulder to shoulder, drilled and disciplined, a rabble becomes an army, each man 
a match for a hundred of the untrained men that may be brought against it. 
Organization in every department of man's work means success, saving of time 
and labour, profit and development. Want of method, want of plan, haphazard 
work, fitful energy, undisciplined effort these mean bungling failure. The voice 
of humanity attests the truth. Does the Spiritualist accept the verdict and act on 
the conclusion? Verily, no. He refuses to organize. He is a law unto himself, 
and a thorn in the side of his neighbours.* 

Enq. 1 7vas told that the Thcosophical Society was originally founded 
to crush Spiritualism and belief in the survival of the individuality in man. 

Theo. You are misinformed. Our beliefs are all founded on that 
immortal Individuality. But then, like so many others, you confuse 
personality with individuality. Your Western psychologists do not 
seem to have established any clear distinction between the two. Yet 
it is precisely that difference which gives the key-note to the under- 
standing of Eastern philosophy, and which lies at the root of the 
divergence between the Theosophical and Spiritualistic teachings. 
And though it may draw upon us still more the hostility of some 
Spiritualists, yet I must state here that it is Theosophy which is the 
true and unalloyed spiritualism, while the modern scheme of that name 
is, as now practised by the masses, simply transcendental materialism. 

Enq. Please explain your idea more clearly. 

Theo. What I mean is that though our teachings insist upon the 
identity of spirit and matter, and though we say that spirit is potential 
matter, and matter simply crystallized spirit, just as ice is solidified 
steam, yet since the original and eternal condition of the Ale is not 
spirit but "super-spirit," so to speak visible and solid matter being 
simply its periodical manifestation we maintain that the term spirit 
can only be applied to the true Individuality. 

Enq. But what is the distinction between this "true Individuality" 
and the "I" or "Ego" of which zee are all co7iscious? 

Theo. Before I can answer 3-011, we must argue upon what you 
mean by "I" or "Ego." We distinguish between the simple fact of 

* Light, June 22nd, 1889. 



24 THK KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

self-consciousness, the simple feeling that "I am I," and the complex 
thought that "I am Mr. Smith or Mrs. Brown." Believing as we do in 
a series of births for the same Ego, or reincarnation, this distinction is 
the fundamental pivot of the whole idea. You see "Mr. Smith" really 
means a long series of daily experiences strung together by the thread 
of memory, and forming what "Mr. Smith" calls "himself." But none 
of these "experiences" are really the "I" or the Ego, nor do they give 
"Mr. Smith" the feeling that he is himself, for he forgets the greater 
part of his daily experiences, and they produce the feeling of ego'ity in 
him only while they last. We Theosophists, therefore, distinguish 
between this bundle of "experiences," which we call the false (because 
so finite and evanescent) personality, and that element in man to which 
the feeling of "I am I" is due. It is this "I am I" which we call the 
true individuality ; and we say that this Ego or Individuality, like an 
actor, plays many parts on the stage of life.* Let us call every new 
life on earth of the same Ego a night on the stage of a theatre. One 
night the actor, or Ego, appears as Macbeth, the next as Shylock, the 
third as Romeo, the fourth as Hamlet or King Lear, and so on, until 
he has run through the whole cycle of incarnations. The Ego begins 
his life-pilgrimage as a sprite, an Ariel, or a Puck; he plays the part of 
a "super," is a soldier, a servant, one of the chorus; rises then to 
"speaking parts," playing leading roles, interspersed with insignificant 
parts, till he finally retires from the stage as Prospero, the magician. 

Enq. / understand. You say, then, that this true Ego cannot return 
to earth after death. But surely the actor is at liberty, if he has preserved 
the sense of his individuality, to return if he likes to the scene of his former 
actions ? 

Theo. We say not; simply because such a return to earth would be 
incompatible with any state of unalloyed bliss after death, as I am pre- 
pared to prove. We say that man suffers so much unmerited misery 
during his life, through the fault of others with whom he is associated, 
or because of his environment, that he is surely entitled to perfect rest 
and quiet, if not bliss, before taking up again the burden of life. 
However, we can discuss this in detail later. 

WHY IS THEOSOPHY ACCEPTED? 
Enq. / tinderstand to a certain extent ; but I see that your teachings are 
far more complicated and metaphysical than either Spiritualism or curre?it 

* See further, Section VIII, "On Individuality and Personality." 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 25 

religious thought. Can you tell me, then, what has caused this system of 
Theosophy which you support to arouse so much i?ilerest and so much 
animosity at the same time? 

Theo. There are several reasons for it, I believe; among other 
causes that may be mentioned are: (1) The great reaction from the 
crassly materialistic theories now prevalent among scientific teachers. 
(2) General dissatisfaction with the artificial theology of the various 
Christian Churches, and the number of daily increasing and conflicting 
sects. (3) An ever-growing perception of the fact that the creeds 
which are so obviously self- and mutually contradictory cannot be true, 
and that claims which are unverified cannot be real. This natural 
distrust of conventional religions is only strengthened by their com- 
plete failure to preserve morals and to purify society and the masses. 
(4) A conviction on the part of many, and knowledge by a few, that 
there must be somewhere a philosophical and religious system which 
shall be scientific and not merely speculative. (5) Finally, perhaps, a 
belief that such a system must be sought for in teachings far ante- 
dating any modern faith. 

Enq. But how did this system come to be put forward just now ? 

Theo. Just because the time was found to be ripe a fact shown by 
the determined effort of so many earnest students to reach the truth, 
at whatever cost and wherever it may be concealed. Seeing this, its 
custodians permitted that some portions at least of that truth should be 
proclaimed. Had the formation of the Theosophical Society been post- 
poned a few years longer, one half of the civilized nations would have 
become by this time rank materialists, and the other half anthropo- 
morphists and pheuomenalists. 

Enq. Are we to regard Theosophy in any way as a revelation? 

Theo. In no way whatever nor even in the sense of a new and 
direct disclosure from some higher, supernatural, or, at least, super- 
kuman beings ; but only in the sense of an " unveiling" of old, very 
old, truths to minds hitherto ignorant of them, ignorant even of the 
existence and preservation of any such archaic knowledge. 

It has. become fashionable, especially of late, to deride the notion 
that there ever was, in the Mysteries of great and civilized peoples, 
such as the Egyptians, Greeks, or Romans, anything but priestly im- 
posture. Even the Rosicrucians were no better than half lunatics, 
half knaves. Numerous books have been written on them ; and tyros, 



26 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

who had hardly heard the name a few years before, sallied out as 
profound critics and gnostics on the subject of alchemy, the fire- 
philosophers, and mysticism in general. Yet a long series of hiero- 
phants of Egypt, India, Chaldsea, and Arabia, together with the greatest 
philosophers and sages of Greece and the West, are known to have 
included under the designation of Wisdom and Divine Science all 
knowledge, for they considered the base and origin of every art and 
science as essentially divine. Plato regarded the Mysteries as most 
sacred, and Clemens Alexandrinus, who had been himself initiated into 
the Eleusinian Mysteries, has declared " that the doctrines taught 
therein contained in them the end of all human knowledge." Were 
Plato and Clemens two knaves or two fools, we wonder, or both? 

Enq. You spoke of "animosity." If truth is as represented by Thco- 
sophy, why has it met with such opposition, and with no general accep- 
tance? 

Theo. For many and various reasons again, one of which is the 
hatred felt by men for "innovations," as they call them. Selfishness 
is essentially conservative, and hates being disturbed. It prefers an 
easy-going, unexacting lie to the greatest truth, if the latter requires 
the sacrifice of one's smallest comfort. The power of mental inertia is 
great in anything that doas not promise immediate benefit and reward. 
Our age is preeminently unspiritual and matter of fact. Moreover, 
there is the unfamiliar character of Theosophic teachings; the highly 
abstruse nature of the doctrines, some of which contradict flatly many 
of the human vagaries cherished by sectarians, which have eaten into 
the very core of popular beliefs. If we add to this the personal efforts 
and great purity of life exacted of those who would become the disciples 
of the inner circle, and the very limited class to which an entirely 
unselfish code appeals, it will be easy to perceive the reason why 
Theosophy is doomed to such slow, up-hill work. It is essentially 
the philosophy of those who suffer, and have lost all hope of being 
helped out of the mire of life by any other means. Moreover, the 
history of any system of belief or morals, newly introduced into a 
foreign soil, shows that its beginnings were impeded by every ob- 
stacle that obscurantism and selfishness could suggest. "The crown 
of the innovator is a crown of thorns" indeed! No pulling down 
of old, worm-eaten buildings can be accomplished without some 
danger. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 27 

Enq. All this refers rather to the ethics and philosophy of Theosophy. 
Can you give me a general idea of the Theosophical Society, its objects and 
statutes ? 

Theo. This has never been made secret. Ask, and you shall receive 
accurate answers. 

'Ei^Q.-rrBut I heard that you were bound by pledges? 

Theo. Only in the arcane or esoteric section. 

Enq. And also, that some members after leaving did not regard them- 
selves bound by them. Are they right? 

Theo. This shows that their idea of honour is an imperfect one. 
How can they be right? As well said in The Path, our Theosophical 
organ at New York, treating of such a case : "Suppose that a soldier is 
tried for infringement of oath and discipline, and is dismissed from 
the service. In his rage at the justice he has called down, and of 
whose penalties he was distinctly forewarned, the soldier turns to the 
enemy with false information a spy and traitor as a revenge upon his 
former chief, and claims that his punishment has released him from his 
oath of loyalty to a cause." Is he justified, think you? Do not you 
think he deserves being called a dishonourable man, a coward? 

Enq. / believe so ; but some thinlc otherwise. 

Theo. So much the worse for them. But we will talk on this sub- 
ject later, if you please. 



III. 

THE WORKING SYSTEM OF THE T. S. 



THE OBJECTS OF THE SOCIETY. 

Enq. What are the objects of the Theosophical Society ? 

Theo. They are three, and have been so from the beginning, (i) 
To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without 
distinction of race, colour, sex, caste, or creed. (2) To promote the 
study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the world's religions and 
sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, such 
as that of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies. 
(3) To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect 
possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially. 
These are, broadly stated, the three chief objects of the Theosophical 
Society. 

Enq. Can you give me some more detailed information upon these? 

Theo. We may divide each of the three objects into as many 
explanatory clauses as may be found necessary. 

Enq. Then let us begin with the first. What means would you resort 
to, in order to promote such a feeling of brotherhood among races that are 
known to be of the most diversified religions, customs, beliefs, and modes of 
thought ? 

Theo. Allow me to add that which you seem unwilling to express. 
Of course we know that with the exception of two remnants of races 
the Parsis and the Jews every nation is divided, not merely against 
all other nations, but even against itself. This is found most promi- 
nently among the so-called civilized Christian nations. Hence your 
wonder, and the reason why our first object appears to you a Utopia. 
Is it not so? 

Enq. Well, yes; but what have you to say against it? 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 29 

Theo. Nothing against the fact; but much about the necessity of 
removing the causes which make Universal Brotherhood a Utopia at 
present. 

Enq,. What are, in your vietv, these causes ? 

Theo. First and foremost, the natural selfishness of human nature. 
This selfishness, instead of being eradicated, is daily strengthened and 
stimulated into a ferocious and irresistible feeling by the present reli- 
gious education, which tends not only to encourage, but positively to 
justify it. People's ideas about right and wrong have been entirely 
perverted by the literal acceptance of the Jewish Bible. All the un- 
selfishness of the altruistic teachings of Jesus has become merely a 
theoretical subject for pulpit oratory; while the precepts of practical 
selfishness taught in the Mosaic Bible, against which Christ so vainly 
preached, have become ingrained into the innermost life of the Western 
nations. "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" has come to be 
the first maxim of your law. Now, I state openly and fearlessly, that 
the perversity of this doctrine and of so many others Theosophy alone 
can eradicate. 

THE COMMON ORIGIN OF MAN. 

Enq. Hoiv ? 

Theo. Simply by demonstrating on logical, philosophical, meta- 
physical, and even scientific grounds that: (a) All men have spiritually 
and physically the same origin, which is the fundamental teaching of 
Theosophy. (b) As mankind is essentially of one and the same 
essence, and that essence is one infinite, uncreate, and eternal, 
whether we call it God or Nature nothing, therefore, can affect one 
nation or one man without affecting all other nations and all other 
men. This is as certain and as obvious as that a stone thrown into a 
pond Avill, sooner or later, set in motion every single drop of water 
therein. 

Enq. But this is not the teaching of Christ, but rather a pantheistic 
notion. 

Theo. That is where your mistake lies. It is purely Christian, 
although not Judaic, and therefore, perhaps, your biblical nations 
prefer to ignore it. 

Enq. This is a ivholesale and unjust accusation. Where are your 
proofs for such a statement? 

Theo. They are ready at hand. Christ is alleged to have said: 



30 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

"L,ove one another," and "love your enemies"; for "if ye love them 
(only) which love you, what reward (or merit) have ye? Do not even 
the publicans* the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what 
do ye more than others? Do not even publicans so?" These are 
Christ's words. But Genesis (ix. 25) says: "Cursed be Canaan; a 
servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." And, therefore, not 
Christians but biblical people prefer the law of Moses to Christ's law of 
love. It is upon the Old Testament, which panders to all their passions, 
that they base their laws of conquest, annexation, and tyranny over 
races which they call "inferior." What crimes have been committed 
on the strength of this if taken in its dead-letter sense infernal 
passage in Genesis, history alone gives us an idea, however in- 
adequate.! 

Bnq. / have heard you say that the ide?itity of our physical origin is 
Proved by Science, that of our spiritual origin by the Wisdom- Religion. 
Yet zve do not find Darwinists exhibiting great fraternal affection. 

Theo. Just so. This is what shows the deficiency of the material- 
istic systems, and proves that we Theosophists are in the right. The 
identity of our physical origin makes no appeal to our higher and 
deeper feelings. Matter, deprived of its soul and spirit, or its divine 
essence, cannot speak to the human heart. But the identity of the soul 
and spirit, of real, immortal man, as Theosophy teaches us, once proven 

* Publicans regarded as so many thieves and pickpockets in those days. Among the Jews the 
name and profession of a publican was the most odious thing in the world. They were not allowed 
to enter the Temple, and Matthew (xviii. 17) speaks of a heathen and a publican as identical. Yet 
they were only Roman tax-gatherers occupying the same position as the British officials in India and 
other conquered countries. 

t "At the close of the Middle Ages, slavery, under the power of moral forces, had mainly disap- 
peared from Europe ; but two momentous events occurred which overbore the moral power working 
in European society and let loose a swarm of curses upon the earth such as mankind had scarcely 
ever known. One of these events was the first voyaging to a populated and barbarous coast where 
human beings were a familiar article of traffic; and the other the discovery of a new world, where 
mines of glittering wealth were open, provided labour could be imported to work them. For four 
hundred years men and women and children were torn from all whom they knew and loved, and were 
sold on the coast of Africa to foreign traders; they were chained below decks the dead often with 
the living during the horrible 'middle passage,' and, according to Bancroft, an impartial historian, 
two hundred and fifty thousand out of three and a quarter millions were thrown into the sea on that 
fatal passage, while the remainder were consigned to nameless misery in the mines, or under the lash 
^ in the cane and rice fields. The guilt of this great crime rests on the Christian Church. 'In the 
I name of the most Holy Trinity ' the Spanish Government concluded more than ten treaties authorizing 
I the sale of five hundred thousand human beings ; in 1562 Sir John Hawkins sailed on his diabolical 
errand of buying slaves in Africa and selling them in the West Tndies in a ship which bore the sacred 
name of Jesus; while Elizabeth, the Protestant Queen, rewarded him for his success in this first 
adventure of Englishmen in that inhuman traffic by allowing him to wear as his crest 'a demi-Moor 
in his proper colour, bound with a cord,' or, in other words, a manacled negro slave." Conquests of 
the Crow, quoted from the Agnostic Journal. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 31 

and become deep-rooted in our hearts, would lead us far on the road of 
real charity and brotherly goodwill. 

Enq. But how does Theosophy explain the common origin of man ? 

Theo. By teaching that the root of all nature, objective and sub- 
jective, and everything else in the universe, visible and invisible, is, 
was, and ever will be one absolute essence, from which all starts, and 
into which everything returns. This is Aryan philosophy, fully repre- 
sented only by the Vedanta and the Buddhist system. With this 
object in view, it is the duty of all Theosophists to promote in every 
practical way, and in all countries, the spread of non-sectarian 
education. 

Enq.. What else is to be done besides this? On the physical plane, I 
mean. 

Theo. The organization of society, depicted by Edward Bellamy, 
in his magnificent work Looking Backivard, admirably represents the 
Theosophical idea of what should be the first great step towards the 
full realization of universal brotherhood. The state of things he 
depicts falls short of perfection, because selfishness still exists and 
operates in the hearts of men. But in the main, selfishness and in- 
dividualism have been overcome by the feeling of solidarity and mutual 
brotherhood ; and the scheme of life there described reduces the causes 
tending to create and foster selfishness to a minimum. 

Enq. Then as a Thcosophist you will take part in an effort to realize 
such an ideal? 

Theo. Certainly; and we have proved it by action. Have not you 
heard of the Nationalist party and clubs which have sprung up in 
America since the publication of Bellamy's book? They are now 
coming prominently to the front, and will do so more and more as time 
goes on. Well, this party and these clubs were started in the first 
instance by Theosophists. One of the first, the Nationalist Club of 
Boston, Mass., has Theosophists for President and Secretary, and the 
majority of its executive belong to the T. S. In the constitution of all 
their clubs, and of the party they are forming, the influence of Theo- 
sophy and of the Society is plain, for they all take as their basis, their 
first and fundamental principle, the Brotherhood of Humanity as taught 
by Theosophy. In their declaration of Principles they state: "The 
principle of the Brotherhood of Humanity is one of the eternal truths 
that govern the world's progress on lines which distinguish human 



32 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

nature from brute nature." What can be more Theosophical than this? 
But it is not enough. What is also needed is to impress men with the 
idea that, if the root of mankind is one, then there must also be one 
truth which finds expression in all the various religions except in the 
Jewish, as you do not find it expressed even in the Kabalah. 

Enq. This refers to the common origin of religions, and you may be 
right there. But how does it apply to practical brotherhood on the physical 
plane ? 

Theo. First, because that which is true on the metaphysical plane 
must be also true on the physical. Secondly, because there is no more 
fertile source of hatred and strife than religious differences. When 
one party or another thinks itself the sole possessor of absolute truth, 
it becomes only natural that it should think its neighbour absolutely 
in the clutches of error or the "devil." But once get a man to see that 
none of them has the whole truth, but that they are mutually comple- 
mentary, that the complete truth can be found only in the combined 
views of all, after that which is false in each of them has been sifted 
out then true brotherhood in religion will be established. The same 
applies in the physical world. 

Enq. Please explain further. 

Theo. Take an instance. A plant consists of a root, a stem, and 
many shoots and leaves. As humanity, as a whole, is the stem which 
grows from the spiritual root, so is the stem the unity of the plant. 
Injure the stem and it is obvious that every shoot and leaf will suffer. 
So it is with mankind. 

Enq. Yes, but if you injure a leaf or a shoot, you do not injure the 
whole plant. 

Theo. And therefore you think that by injuring one man you do 
not injure humanity? But how do you know? Are you aware that 
even materialistic science teaches that any injury to a plant, however 
slight, will affect the whole course of its future growth and develop- 
ment? Therefore, you are mistaken, and the analogy is perfect. If, 
however, you overlook the fact that a cut on the finger may often make 
the whole body suffer, and react on the whole nervous system, I would 
all the more remind you that there ma} r well be other spiritual laws, 
operating on plants and animals as well as on mankind, although, as 
you do not recognize their action on plants and animals, you may deny 
their existence. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPITY. 33 

Eno. What laivs do you mean ? 

Theo. We call them karmic laws; but you will not understand the 
full meaning of the term unless you study Occultism. However, my 
argument does not rest on the assumption of these laws, but really on 
the analogy of the plant. Expand the idea, carry it out to a universal 
application, and you will soon find that in true philosophy every 
physical action has its moral and everlasting effect. Injure a man by 
doing him bodily harm; you may think that his pain and suffering 
cannot spread by any means to his neighbours, least of all to men of 
other nations. We affirm that it will, in good time. Therefore, we 
say, that unless every man is brought to understand, and accept as a?i 
axiomatic truth, that by wronging one man we wrong not only ourselves 
but the whole of humanity in the long run, no brotherly feelings such 
as preached by all the great reformers, preeminently by Buddha and 
Jesus, are possible on earth. 

OUR OTHER OBJECTS. 

Enq. Will you now explain the methods by which you propose to cany 
out the second object ? 

Theo. To collect for the library of our Headquarters at Adyar, 
Madras, and by the Fellows of the Branches for their local libraries, 
all the good works upon the world's religions that we can. To put 
into written form correct information upon the various ancient philo- 
sophies, traditions, and legends, and disseminate the same in such 
practicable ways as the translation and publication of original works 
of value, and extracts from and commentaries upon the same, or the 
oral instructions of persons learned in their respective departments. 

Enq. And what about the third object, to develop in man his latent 
spiritual or psychic powers? 

Theo. This has to be achieved also by means of publications, in 
those places where no lectures and personal teachings are possible. 
Our duty is to keep alive in man his spiritual intuitions. To oppose 
and counteract after due investigation and proof of its irrational 
nature bigotry in every form, religious, scientific, or social, and 
"cant" above all, whether as religious sectarianism or as belief in 
miracles or anything supernatural. What we have to do is to seek to 
obtain knowledge of all the laws of nature, and to diffuse it. To 
encourage the study of those laws least understood by modern people, 
the so-called Occult Sciences, based on the true knowledge of nature, 



34 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

instead of, as at present, on superstitions beliefs based on blind faith 
and authority. Popular folk-lore and traditions, however fanciful at 
times, when sifted may lead to the discovery of long-lost, but impor- 
tant, secrets of nature. The Society, therefore, aims at pursuing this 
line of enquiry, in the hope of widening the field of scientific and 
philosophical observation. 

ON THE SACREDNESS OF THE r LEDGE. 

Enq. Have you any ethical system that you carry out in the Society f 

Theo. The ethics are there, ready and clear enough for whomsoever 
would follow them. They are the essence and cream of the world's 
ethics, gathered from the teachings of all the world's great reformers. 
Therefore, you will find represented therein Confucius and Zoroaster, 
L,aotze and the Bhagavad Gild, the precepts of Gautama Buddha and 
Jesus of Nazareth, of Hillel and his school, as also of Pythagoras, 
Socrates, Plato, and their schools. 

Enq. Do the members of your Society carry out these precepts? I have 
heard of great dissensions and quarrels among them. 

Theo. Very naturally, since although the reform, in its present 
shape, may be called new, the men and women to be reformed are the 
same human, sinning natures as of old. As already said, the earnest 
xvorking members are few; but many are the sincere and well-disposed 
persons, who try their best to live up to the Society's and their own 
ideals. Our duty is to encourage and assist individual Fellows in self- 
improvement, intellectual, moral, and spiritual; not to blame or con- 
demn those who fail. We have, strictly speaking, no right to refuse 
admission to anyone especially in the Esoteric Section of the Society, 
wherein "he who enters is as one newly born." But if any member, 
his sacred pledges on his word of honour and Immortal Self notwith- 
standing, chooses, after that "new birth," to continue with the new 
man, the vices or defects of his old life, and to indulge in them still in 
the Society, then, of course, he is more than likely to be asked to 
resign and withdraw; or, in case of his refusal, to be expelled. We 
have the strictest rules for such emergencies. 

Enq. Can some of them be mentioned? 

Theo. They can. To begin with, no Fellow in the Society, whether 
exoteric or esoteric, has a right to force his personal opinions upon 
another Fellow. This is one of the offences in the Society at large. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHV. 35 

As regards the inner section, now called the Esoteric, the following 
rules were laid down and adopted, so far back as 1880. "No Fellow 
shall put to his selfish use any knowledge communicated to him by 
any member of the first section [now a higher 'degree']; violation of 
the rule being punished by expulsion." Now, however, before any 
such knowledge can be imparted, the applicant has to bind himself by 
a solemn oath not to use it for selfish purposes, nor to reveal anything 
said except by permission. 

Enq. But is a man expelled, or resigning^ from the Section free to reveal 
anything he may have learned, or to break any clause of the pledge he has 
taken ? 

ThEO. Certainly not. His expulsion or resignation only relieves 
him from the obligation of obedience to the teacher, and from that of 
taking an active part in the work of the Society, but surely not from 
the sacred pledge of secrecy. 

Enq. But is this reasonable and just '? 

Theo. Most assuredly. To any man or woman with the slightest 
honourable feeling a pledge of secrecy taken even on one's word of 
honour, much more to one's Higher Self the God within is binding 
till death. And though he may leave the Section and the Society, no 
man or woman of honour will think of attacking or injuring a body 
to which he or she has been so pledged. 

Enq. But is not this going rather far? 

Theo. Perhaps so, according to the low standard of the present 
time and morality. But if it does not bind as far as this, what use is a 
pledge at all? How can anyone expect to be taught secret knowledge, 
if he is to be at liberty to free himself from all the obligations he had 
taken, whenever he pleases? What security, confidence, or trust would 
ever exist among men, if pledges such as this were to have no really 
binding force at all? Believe me, the law of retribution (Karma) would 
very soon overtake one who so broke his pledge ; perhaps even as soon 
as the contempt of every honourable man would, even on this physical 
plane. As well expressed in The Path, July, 1889, just cited on this 
subject: 

A pledge once taken, is for ever binding in both the moral and the occult worlds. 
If we break it once and are punished, that does not justify us in breaking it again, 
and so long as we do, so long will the might}' lever of the Law [of Karma] react 
upon us. 



IV. 



THE RELATIONS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY 

TO THEOSOPHY. 



ON SELF-IMPROVEMENT. 
Enq. Is moral elevation, then, the principal thing insisted upon in the 
Society ? 

Theo. Undoubtedly! He who would be a true Theosophist must 
bring himself to live as one. 

Enq. If so, then, as I remarked before, the behaviour of some members 
strayigely belies this fundamental rule. 

Theo. Indeed it does. But this cannot be helped among us, any 
more than amongst those who call themselves Christians and act like 
fiends. This is no fault of our statutes and rules, but that of human 
nature. Even in some exoteric public Branches, the members pledge 
themselves on their Higher Self to live the life prescribed by Theo- 
sophy. They have to bring their Divine Self to guide their every 
thought and action, every day and at every moment of their lives. A 
true Theosophist ought "to deal justly and walk humbly." 

Enq. What do you mean by this? 

Theo. Simply this: the one Self has to forget itself for the many 
selves. L,et me answer you in the w r ords of a true Philaletheian, an 
F.T.S., who has beautifully expressed it in the Theosophist : 

What every man needs first is to find himself, and then take an honest inventory 
of his subjective possessions, and, bad or bankrupt as it may be, it is not beyond 
redemption if we set about it in earnest. 

But how many do? All are willing to work for their own develop- 
ment and progress ; very few for those of others. To quote the same 
writer again : 

Men have been deceived and deluded long enough ; they must break their idols, 
put away their shams, and go to work for themselves nay, there is one little word 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHV. 37 

too much or too many, for he who works for himself had better not work at all; 
rather let him work himself for others, for all. For every flower of love and charity 
he plants in his neighbour's garden, a loathsome weed will disappear from his own, 
and so this garden of the gods Humanity shall blossom as a rose. In all Bibles, 
all religions, this is plainly set forth but designing men have at first misinter- 
preted and finally emasculated, materialized, besotted them. It does not require a 
new revelation. Let every man be a revelation unto himself. Let once man's 
immortal spirit take possession of the temple of his body, drive out the money- 
changers and every unclean thing, and his own divine humanity will redeem him. 
for when he is thus at one with himself he will know the "builder of the Temple." 

Eno. This is pure altruism, I confess. 

Theo. It is. And if only one Fellow of the T. S. out of ten would 
practise it, ours would be a body of elect indeed. But there are those 
among the outsiders who will always refuse to see the essential differ- 
ence between Theosophy and the Theosophical Society, the idea and 
its imperfect embodiment. Such would visit ever}- sin and shortcoming 
of the vehicle, the human body, on the pure spirit which sheds thereon 
its divine light. Is this just to either? They throw stones at an asso- 
ciation that tries to work up to, and for the propagation of, its ideal 
with most tremendous odds against it. Some vilify the Theosophical 
Society only because it presumes to attempt to do that in which other 
systems Church and State Christianity preeminently have failed 
most egregiously; others because they would fain preserve the exist- 
ing state of things; Pharisees and Sadducees in the seat of Moses, and 
publicans and sinners revelling in high places, as under the Roman 
Empire during its decadence. Fair-minded people, at any rate, ought 
to remember that the man who does all he can, does as much as he 
who has achieved the most, in this world of relative possibilities. This 
is a simple truism, an axiom supported for believers in the Gospels by 
the parable of the talents, given by their Master : the servant who 
doubled his two talents was rewarded as much as the other fellow- 
servant who had received five. To every man it is given "according 
to his several ability." 

EnQ. Yet it is rather difficult to draw the line of demarcation between 
the abstract and the concrete in this case, as we have only the latter by which 
to form our judgment. 

Theo. Then why make an exception for the T. S.? Justice, like 
charity, ought to begin at home. Will you revile and scoff at the 
Sermon on the Mount because your social, political, and even religious 



38 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

laws have, so far, not only failed to carry out its precepts in their spirit, 
but even in their dead letter? Abolish the oath in Courts, Parliament, 
Army and everywhere, and do as the Quakers do, if you will call your- 
selves Christians. Abolish the Courts themselves; for if you would 
follow the commandments of Christ, you have to give away your cloak 
to him who deprives ) r ou of your coat, and turn your left cheek to the 
bully who smites you on the right. " Resist not evil, love your enemies, 
bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you," for "who- 
soever shall break one of the least of these commandments and shall 
teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven," 
and "whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." 
And why should you judge, if you would not be judged in your turn? 
Insist that between Theosophy and the Theosophical Society there is 
no difference, and forthwith you lay the system of Christianity and its 
very essence open to the same charges, only in a more serious form. 

Enq. Why more serious ? 

Theo. Because, while the leaders of the Theosophical movement, 
recognizing fully their shortcomings, try all they can to amend their 
ways and uproot the evil existing in the Society, and while their rules 
and bye-laws are framed in the spirit of Theosophy, the legislators 
and the churches of nations and countries which call themselves 
Christian do the reverse. Our members, even the worst among them, 
are no worse than the average Christian. Moreover, if the Western 
Theosophists experience so much difficulty in leading the true Theo- 
sophical life, it is because they are all the children of their genera- 
tion. Every one of them was a Christian, bred and brought up in the 
sophistry of his Church, his social customs, and even his paradoxical 
laws. He was this before he became a Theosophist, or rather, a 
member of the Theosophical Society, as it cannot be too often repeated 
that between the abstract ideal and its vehicle there is a most im- 
portant difference. 

THE ABSTRACT AND THE CONCRETE. 

Enq. Please elucidate this difference a little more. 

Theo. The Society is a great body of men and women, composed 
of the most heterogeneous elements. Theosophy, in its abstract 
meaning, is Divine Wisdom, or the aggregate of the knowledge and 
wisdom that underlie the Universe the homogeneity of eternal Good; 
and in its concrete sense it is the sum total of the same as allotted to 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 39 

man by nature, on this earth, and no more. Some members earnestly 
endeavour to realize and, so to speak, to objectivize Theosophy in their 
lives; while others desire only to know of, not to practise it; and others 
still may have joined the Society merely out of curiosity, or a passing 
interest, or perhaps, again, because some of their friends belong to it. 
How, then, can the system be judged by the standard of those who 
would assume the name without any right to it? Is poetry or its muse 
to be measured only by those would-be poets who afflict our ears? The 
Society can be regarded as the embodiment of Theosophy only in its 
abstract motives ; it can never presume to call itself its concrete vehicle 
so long as human imperfections and weaknesses are all represented in 
its body; otherwise the Society would be only repeating the great error 
and the overflowing sacrileges of the so-called Churches of Christ. If 
Eastern comparisons may be permitted, Theosophy is the shoreless 
ocean of universal truth, love, and wisdom, reflecting its radiance on 
the earth, while the Theosophical Society is only a visible bubble on 
that reflection. Theosophy is divine nature, visible and invisible, and 
its Society human nature trying to ascend to its divine parent. Theo- 
sophy, finally, is the fixed eternal sun, and its Society the evanescent 
comet trying to settle in an orbit to become a planet, ever revolving 
within the attraction of the sun of truth. It was formed to assist in 
showing to men that such a thing as Theosophy exists, and to help 
them to ascend towards it by studying and assimilating its eternal 
verities. 

Exo. / thought you said you had no tenets or doctrines of your own ? 

Tiieo. Nor have we. The Society has no wisdom of its own to 
support or teach. It is simply the storehouse of all the truths uttered 
by the great seers, initiates, and prophets of historic and even pre- rfrt/ 
historic ages ; at least, as many as it can get. Therefore, it is merely 
the channel through which more or less of truth, found in the accumu- 
lated utterances of humanity's great teachers, is poured out into the 
world. 

Enq. But is such truth jcnreachable outside of the Society? Does not 
every Church claim the same? 

Theo. Not at all. The undeniable existence of great initiates true 
" Sons of God" shows that such wisdom was often reached by isolated 
individuals, never, however, without the guidance of a master at first. 
But most of the followers of such, when they became masters in their 



40 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

turn, have dwarfed the Catholicism of these teachings into the narrow 
groove of their own sectarian dogmas. The commandments of a chosen 
master alone were then adopted and followed, to the exclusion of all 
others if followed at all, note well, as in the case of the Sermon on 
the Mount. Each religion is thus a bit of the divine truth, made to 
focus a vast panorama of human fancy which claims to represent and 
replace that truth. 

Enq.. But Theosophy, you say, is not a religion ? 

Theo. Most assuredly it is not, since it is the essence of all religion 
and of absolute truth, a drop of which only underlies every creed. To 
resort once more to metaphor. Theosoph)^, on earth, is like the white 
ray of the spectrum, and every religion only one of the seven prismatic 
colours. Ignoring all the others, and cursing them as false, every special 
coloured ray claims not only priority, but to be that white ray itself, and 
anathematizes even its own tints from light to dark, as heresies. Yet, 
as the sun of truth rises higher and higher on the horizon of man's per- 
ception, and each coloured ray gradually fades out until it is finally 
reabsorbed in its turn, humanity will at last be cursed no longer with 
artificial polarizations, but will find itself bathing in the pure colourless 
sunlight of eternal truth. And this will be Theosophia. 

Enq. Your claim is, then, that all the great religions are derived from 
Theosophy, and that it is by assimilating it that the world will be finally 
saved from the curse of its great illusions and errors? 

Theo. Precisely so. And we add that our Theosophical Society is 
the humble seed which, if watered and let live, will finally produce the 
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which is grafted on the Tree of 
Life Eternal. For it is only by studying the various great religions and 
philosophies of humanity, by comparing them dispassionately and with 
an unbiassed mind, that men can hope to arrive at the truth. It is 
especially by finding out and noting their various points of agreement 
that we may achieve this result. For no sooner do we arrive either 
by study, or by being taught by someone who knows at their inner 
meaning, than we find, almost in every case, that it expresses some 
great truth in nature. 

Enq. We have heard of a Golden Age that was, and ivhat yoti describe 
would be a Golden Age to be realized at some future day. When shall it be? 

Theo. Not before humanity, as a whole, feels the need of it. A 
maxim in the Persian Javidan Khirad says: "Truth is of two kinds 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 41 

one manifest and self-evident; the other demanding incessantly new 
demonstrations and proofs." It is only when this latter kind of truth 
becomes as universally obvious as it is now dim, and therefore liable to 
be distorted by sophistry and casuistry ; it is only when the two kinds 
will have become once more one, that all people will be brought to see 
alike. 

Eno. But surely those few who have felt the need of such truths must 
have made up their minds to believe in something definite? You tell me 
that, the Society having no doctrines of its oivn, every member may believe 
as he chooses and accept what he pleases. This looks as if the Thcosophical 
Society were bent upon reviving the confusion of languages and beliefs op 
the Tozver of Babel of old. Have you no beliefs in common ? 

Theo. What is meant by the Society having no tenets or doctrines 
of its own is, that no special doctrines or beliefs are obligatory on its 
members; but, of course, this applies only to the body as a whole. 
The Society, as you were told, is divided into an outer and an inner 
body. Those who belong to the latter have, of course, a philosophy, or 
if you so prefer it a religious system of their own. 

Enq. May we be told what it is ? 

Theo. We make no secret of it. It was outlined a few years ago in 
The Theosophist and Esoteric Buddhism, and may be found still more 
elaborated in The Secret Doctrine. It is based on the oldest philosophy 
of the world, called the Wisdom-Religion or the Archaic Doctrine. If 
you like, you may ask questions and have them explained. 



THE FUNDAMENTAL TEACHINGS OF THEOSOPHY. 



ON COD AND PRAYER. 

Enq. Do you believe in God? 

Theo. That depends upon what you mean by the term. 

Enq. / mean the God of the Christians, the Father of Jesus, and the 
Creator: the Biblical God of Moses, in short. 

Theo. Iiv such a God we do not believe. We reject the idea of a 
personal, or an extra-cosmic and anthropomorphic God, who is but the 
gigantic shadow of man, and not even of man at his best. The God of 
theology, we say and prove it is a bundle of contradictions and a 
logical impossibility. Therefore, we will have nothing to do with him. 

Enq. State your reasons, if you please. 

Theo. They are many, and cannot all receive attention. But here 
are a few.. This God is called by his devotees infinite and absolute, is 
he not? 

Enq. / believe he is. 

Theo. Then, if infinite i.e., limitless and especially if absolute, 
how can he have a form, and be a creator of anything? Form implies 
limitation, and a beginning as well as an end; and, in order to create, a 
Being must think and plan. How can the Absolute be supposed to 
think i.e., have any relation whatever to that which is limited, finite 
and conditioned? This is a philosophical, and a logical absurdity. 
Even the Hebrew Kabalah rejects such an idea, and therefore, makes 
of the one and the Absolute Deific Principle an infinite Unity called 
Ain Suph.* In order to create, the Creator has to become active ; and 
as this is impossible for Absoluteness, the infinite principle had to be 



Ain Suph, tpD pN = T0 Ta,v = a.Truf)OV, the Endless, or Boundless, in and with Nature, the 
Non-existent which IS, hut is not a Being. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 43 

shown becoming the cause of evolution (not creation) in an indirect 
wa y /.^ m through the emanation from itself (another absurdity, due 
this time to the translators of the Kabalah)* of the Sephiroth. 

Enq. How about those Kabul is ts, who, while being such, still believe in 
Jehovah, or the Tetragrammaton ? 

Theo. They are at liberty to believe in what they please, as their 
belief or disbelief can hardly affect a self-evident fact. The Jesuits tell 
us that two and two are not always four to a certainty, since it depends 
on the will of God to make 2 x 2 = 5. Shall we accept their sophistry 
for all that? 

Eno. Then you are atheists ? 

Theo. Not that we know of, and not unless the epithet of "atheist" 
is to be applied to all those who disbelieve in an anthropomorphic God. 
We believe in a Universal Divine Principle, the root of All, from which 
all proceeds, and within which all shall be absorbed at the end of the 
great cycle of Being. 

Enq. This is the old, old claim of pantheism. If you are pantheists, 

you cannot be deists ; and if you are not deists, then you have to answer to 
the name of atheists. 

Theo. Not necessarily so. The term "pantheism" is again one of 
the many abused terms, whose real and primitive meaning has been 
distorted by blind prejudice and a one-sideduess of view. If you accept 
the Christian etymology of this compound word, and form it of pan 
(7rav), "all," and thcos (6k), "god," and then imagine and teach that 
this means that every stone and every tree in nature is a God or the 
One God, then, of course, you will be right, and make of pantheists 
fetich-worshippers, in addition to their legitimate name. But you will 
hardly be as successful if you etymologize the word pantheism esoteri- 
cally, and as we do. 

Knq. What is, then, your definition of' it? 

Theo. Let me ask you a question in my turn. What do you under- 
stand by Pan, or Nature? 

Eno. Nature is, I suppose, the sum total of things existing around us; 



How can the non-active eternal principle emanate or emit? The Parabrahman of tin- Ycdantins 
does nothing of the kind: nor does the Ain Suph of the Chaldsan Kabalah. It is an eternal and 
periodical law which causes an active and creative force (the Logos) to emanate from the ever-con- 
cealed and incomprehensible one principle at the beginning of every Maha-manvantara, or new cycle 
of life. 



44 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

the aggregate of causes a?id effects in the world of matter, the creation or 
universe. 

Theo. Hence the personified sum and order of known causes and 
effects ; the total of all finite agencies and forces, as utterly discon- 
nected from an intelligent Creator or Creators, and perhaps "conceived 
of as a single and separate force" as in your cyclopaedias? 

Enq. Yes, I believe so. 

Theo. Well, we neither take into consideration this objective and 
material nature, which we call an evanescent illusion, nor do we mean 
by Pan Nature, in the sense of its accepted derivation from the L,atin 
natura, "becoming," from nasci, "to be born." When we speak of the 
Deity and make it identical, hence coeval, with Nature, the eternal and 
uncreate Nature is meant, and not your aggregate of flitting shadows 
and finite unrealities. We leave it to the hymn-makers to call the 
visible sky or heaven, God's throne, and our earth of mud his foot- 
stool. Our Deity is neither in a paradise, nor in a particular tree, 
building, or mountain: it is everywhere, in every atom of the visible 
as of the invisible Cosmos; in, over, and around every invisible atom 
and divisible molecule; for IT is the mysterious power of evolution 
and involution, the omnipresent, omnipotent, and even omniscient 
creative potentiality. 

Enq. Stop! Omniscietice is the prerogative of something that thinks, 
and yon deny to your Absoluteness the power of thought. 

Theo. We deny it to the Absolute, since thought is something 
limited and conditioned. But you evidently forget that in philosophy 
absolute unconsciousness is also absolute consciousness, as otherwise 
it would not be absolute. 

Enq. Then your Absolute thinks? 

Theo. No, IT does not; for the simple reason that it is Absolute 
Thought itself. Nor does it exist, for the same reason, as it is absolute 
existence, and "Be-ness," not a Being. Read the superb Kabalistic 
poem by Solomon Ben Yehudah Ibn Gebirol, in the Kether Malchulh, 
and you will understand : 

Thou art one, the root of all numbers, but not as an element of numeration ; for 
unity admits not of multiplication, change, or form. Thou art one, and in the 
secret of Thy unity the wisest of men are lost, because they know it not. Thou art 
one, and Thy unity is never diminished, never extended, and cannot be changed. 
Thou art one, and no thought of mine can fix for Thee a limit, or define Thee. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 45 

Thou ART, but not as one existent, for the understanding and vision of mortals 
cannot attain to Thy existence, nor determine for Thee the where, the how and 
the why. 

In short, our Deity is the eternal, incessantly evolving, not creating, 
builder of the universe; that universe itself unfolding out of its own 
essence, not being made. It is a sphere, without circumference, in its 
symbolism, which has but one ever-acting attribute embracing all other 
existing or thinkable attributes Itself. It is the one law, giving the 
impulse to manifested, eternal, and immutable laws, within that never- 
manifesting, because absolute, Law, which in its manifesting periods is 
The Ever-Becoming. 

Enq. I once heard one of your members remark that Universal Deity, 
being everywhere, was in vessels of dishonour, as in those of honour, and, 
therefore, teas present in every atom of my cigar ash! Is this not rank 
blasphemy ? 

Theo. I do not think so, as simple logic can hardly be regarded as 
blasphemy. Were we to exclude the Omnipresent Principle from one 
single mathematical point of the universe, or from a particle of matter 
occupying any conceivable space, could we still regard it as infinite? 

IS IT NECESSARY TO PRAY? 

Enq. Do you believe in prayer, and do you ever pray ? 

Theo. We do not. We act, instead of talk. 

Enq. You do not offer prayers even to the Absolute Principle? 

Theo. Why should we? Being well-occupied people, we can hardly 
afford to lose time in addressing verbal prayers to a pure abstraction. 
The Unknowable is capable of relations only in its parts to each other, 
but is non-existent as regards any finite relations. The visible universe 
depends for its existence and phenomena on its mutually acting forms 
and their laws, not on prayer or prayers. 

Enq. Do you not believe at all in the efficacy of prayer ? 

Theo. Not in prayer taught in so many words and repeated ex- 
ternalty, if by prayer you mean the outward petition to an unknown 
God as the addressee, which was inaugurated by the Jews and popu- 
larized by the Pharisees. 

Enq. Is there any other kind of prayer? 

Theo. Most decidedly; we call it will-prayer, and it is rather an 
internal command than a petition. 



46 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Enq. To whom, thai, do you pray when you do so? 

Theo. To "our Father in heaven" in its esoteric meaning. 

Eno. Is that different from the one give?i to it i?i theology ? 

Theo. Entirely so. An Occultist or a Theosophist addresses his 
prayer to his "Father" which is in secret (read, and try to understand, 
Matthew, vi. 6), not to an extra-cosmic and therefore finite God; and 
that "Father" is in man himself. 

Eno. Then you make of man a God? 

Theo. Please say "God" and not "a God." In our sense, the inner 
man is the only God of whom we can have cognizance. And how can 
this be otherwise? Grant us our postulate that God is a universally 
diffused, infinite principle, and how can man alone escape from being 
soaked through hy, and in, the Deity? We call our "Father in heaven" 
that deific essence of which we are cognizant within us, in our heart 
and spiritual consciousness, and which has nothing to do with the 
anthropomorphic conception we may form of it in our physical brain 
or its fancy: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that 
the spirit of [the absolute] God dwelleth in you?"* Yet, let no man 
anthropomorphize that essence in us. Let no Theosophist, if he would 
hold to divine, not human truth, say that this "God in secret" listens 
to, or is distinct from, either finite man or the infinite essence for all 
are one. Nor, as just remarked, that a prayer is a petition. It is a 
mystery rather; an occult process by which finite and conditioned 
thoughts and desires, unable to be assimilated by the absolute spirit 
which is unconditioned, are translated into spiritual wills and the will; 
such process being called "spiritual transmutation." The intensity of 
our ardent aspirations changes prayer into the "philosopher's stone," 
or that which transmutes lead into pure gold. The only homogeneous 
essence, our "will-prayer," becomes the active or creative force, pro- 
ducing effects according to our desire. 

* One often finds in Theosophical writings conflicting- statements about the Christos principle in 
man. Some call it the sixth principle (Buddhi), others the seventh (Atman). If Christian Theo- 
sophists wish to make use of such expressions, let them be made philosophically correct by following' 
the analogy of the old Wisdom -Religion symbols. We say that Christos is not only one of the three 
higher principles, but all the three regarded as a Trinity. This Trinity represents the Holy Ghost, 
the Father, and the Son, as it answers to abstract spirit, differentiated spirit, and embodied spirit. 
Krishna and Christ are philosophically the same principle under its triple aspect of manifestation. 
In the Bhagavad G'Ua we find Krishna calling himself indifferently Atman, the Abstract Spirit 
Kshetrajna, the Higher or reincarnating Ego, and the Universal Self, all names which, when trans- 
ferred from the Universe to man, answer to Atina, Buddhi and Manas. The AnugUa is full of the 
same doctrine. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 47 

Knq. Do you mean to say that prayer is an occult process bringing 
about physical results ? 

Theo. I do. Will-power becomes a living power. But woe unto 
those Occultists and Theosophists, who, instead of crushing out the 
desires of the lower personal ego or physical man, and saying address- 

A 

ing their Higher Spiritual Ego, immersed in Atma-Buddhic light 
"Thy will be done, not mine," send up waves of will-power for selfish 
or unholy purposes! For this is black magic, abomination, and spiritual 
sorcery. Unfortunately, all this is the favourite occupation of our 
Christian statesmen and generals, especially when the latter are send- 
ing two armies to murder each other. Both before action indulge in a 
bit of such sorcery, when severally offering prayers to the same God of 
Hosts, each entreating his help to cut his enemies' throats. 

Kxo. David prayed to the Lord of Hosts to help him smile the Philis- 
tines and slay the Syrians and the Moabites, and "the Lord preserved David 
whithetsoetter he went? In that we only follow what we find in the Bible. 

Theo. Of course you do. But since you delight in calling your- 
selves Christians, not Israelites or Jews, as far as we know, why do you 
not rather follow that which Christ says? And he distinctly commands 
you not to follow "them of old times," or the Mosaic law, but bids you 
do as he tells you, and warns those who would take the sword, that 
they, too, will perish by the sword. Christ has given you one prayer of 
which you have made a lip-prayer and a boast, and which none but the 
true Occultist understands. In it you say, in your dead-sense meaning: 
" Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors " which you never 
do. Again, he told you to love your enemies and do good to them that 
hate you. It is surely not the "meek prophet of Nazareth" who taught 
you to pray to your "Father" to slay, and give you victory over your 
enemies! This is why we reject what you call "prayers." 

Knq. But how do you explain the universal/act that all nations and 
Peoples have prayed to, and worshipped a God or Gods ? Sonic have adored 
and propitiated devils and harmful spirits, hut this only proves the univer- 
sality of the belief in the efficacy of prayer. 

Theo. It is explained by the fact that prayer has several other 
meanings besides that given to it by the Christians. It means not 
only a pleading or petition, but, in days of old, meant far more an 
invocation and incantation. The mantra, or the rhythmically chanted 
prayer of the Hindus, has precisely such a meaning, for the Brahmans 



48 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

hold themselves higher than the common Devas or " Gods." A prayer 
may be an appeal, or an incantation for malediction and a curse as in the 
case of two armies praying simultaneously for mutual destruction as 
much as for blessing. And as the great majority of people are intensely 
selfish, and pray only for themselves, asking to be given their "daily 
bread" instead of working for it, and begging God not to lead them 
"into temptation" but to deliver them (the memorialists only) from 
evil, the result is, that prayer, as now understood, is doubly pernicious: 
(a) it kills in man self-reliance; (b) it develops in him a still more 
ferocious selfishness and egotism than he is already endowed with by 
nature. I repeat, that we believe in "communion" and simultaneous 
action in unison with our "Father in secret"; and, in rare moments of 
ecstatic bliss, in the mingling of our higher soul with the universal 
essence, attracted as it is towards its origin and centre; a state, called 
during life Samadhi, and after death, Nirvana. We refuse to pray to 
created finite beings i.e., gods, saints, angels, etc., because we regard 
it as idolatry. We cannot pray to the Absolute for reasons explained 
before; therefore, jwe try to replace fruitless and useless prayer by 
meritorious and good-producing actions. 

Enq. Christians wotdd call this pride and blasphemy. Are they 
wrong? 

Theo. Entirely so. It is they, on the contrary, who show Satanic 
pride in their belief that the Absolute or the Infinite, even if there 
were such a thing as the possibility of any relation between the un- 
conditioned and the conditioned will stoop to listen to every foolish 
or egotistical prayer. And it is they again, who virtually blaspheme, 
in teaching that an Omniscient and Omnipotent God needs uttered 
prayers to know what he has to do! This understood esoterically is 
corroborated by both Buddha and Jesus. The one says: "Seek nought 
from the helpless Gods pray not! but rather act; for darkness will 
not brighten. Ask nought from silence, for it can neither speak nor 
hear." And the other Jesus recommends: "Whatsoever ye shall 
ask in my name [that of Christos] that will I do." Of course, this 
quotation, if taken in its literal sense, goes against our argument. But 
if we accept it esoterically, with the full knowledge of the meaning of 
the term Christos, which to us represents Atma-Buddhi-Manas, the 
Self, it comes to this: the only God we must recognize and pray to, or 
rather act in unison with, is that Spirit of God of which our body is 
the temple, and in which it dwelleth. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 49 

PRAYER KILLS SELF-RELIANCE. 
Enq. But did not Christ himself pray and recommend prayer '? 

Theo. It is so recorded, but those prayers are precisely of that kind 
of communion just mentioned with one's "Father in secret." Other- 
wise, and if we identify Jesus with the universal deity, there would be 
.something too absurdly illogical in the inevitable conclusion that he, 
the "very God himself" prayed to himself, and separated the will of 
that God from his own ! 

Enq. One argument more; an argument, moreover, much used by some 
Christians. They say, " 1 feel that I am not able to conquer my passions 
and u'caknesses in my own strength. But when I pray to Jesus Christ I 
feel that he gives me strength and that i?i his poiver I am able to conquer" 

Theo. No wonder. If "Christ Jesus" is God, and one independent 
and separate from him who prays; of course everything is, and must 
be possible to "almighty God." But, then, where is the merit, or 
justice either, of such a conquest? Why should the pseudo-conqueror 
be rewarded for something done which has cost him only prayers? 
Would you, even a simple mortal man, pay your labourer a full day's 
wage if you did most of his work for him, he sitting under an apple 
tree, and praying to you to do so, all the while? This idea of passing 
one's whole life in moral idleness, and having one's hardest work and 
duty done by another whether God or man is most revolting to us, 
as it is most degrading to human dignity. 

Enq. Perhaps so, yet it is the idea of trusting in a, personal Saviour to help 
and strengthen in the battle of life, which is the fundamental idea of modern 
Christianity. And there is no doubt that, subjectively, such belief is effica- 
cious ; that is, that those who believe do feel themselves helped and strengthened. 

Theo. Nor is there any more doubt, that some patients of "Chris- 
tian" and "Mental Scientists" the great "Deniers"* are also some- 
times cured; nor that hypnotism, and suggestion, psychology, and 
even mediumship, will produce such results, as often, if not oftener. 
You take into consideration, and string on the thread of your argu- 
ment, successes alone. And how about ten times the number of 
failures? Surely you will not presume to say that failure is unknown 
even with a sufficiency of blind faith, among fanatical Christians? 



* A new sect of healers, who, by disavowing the existence of anything- but spirit, which can neither 
suffer nor be ill, claim to cure all and every disease, provided the patient has faith that what he 
denies can have no existence. A new form of self-hypnotism. 

5 



50 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Enq. But how can you explain those cases which are folloived by full 
success? Where does a Theosophist look for pozver to subdue his passions 
and selfishness? 

Theo. To his Higher Self, the divine spirit, or the God in him, and 
to his Karma. How long shall we have to repeat over and over again 
that the tree is known by its fruit, the nature of the cause by its effects? 
You speak of subduing passions, and becoming good through and with 
the help of God or Christ. We ask, where do you find more virtuous, 
guiltless people, abstaining from sin and crime, in Christendom or 
Buddhism in Christian countries or in Heathen lands? Statistics are 
there to give the answer and corroborate our claims. According to the 
last census in Ceylon and India, in the comparative table of crimes 
committed by Christians, Mussulmans, Hindus, Eurasians, Buddhists, 
etc., on two millions of population taken at random from each, and 
covering the misdemeanours of several years, the proportion of crimes 
committed by the Christian stands at about fifteen to four committed 
by the Buddhist population.* No Orientalist, no historian of any note, 
or traveller in Buddhist lands, from Bishop Bigandet and Abbe Hue, to 
Sir William Hunter and every fair-minded official, will fail to give the 
palm of virtue to Buddhists before Christians. Yet the former not 
the true Buddhist Siamese sect, at all events do not believe in either 
God or a future reward, outside of this earth. They do not pray, 
neither priests nor laymen. "Pray!" they would exclaim in wonder, 
"to whom, or to what?" 

Enq. Then they are truly atheists. 

Theo. Most undeniably, but they are also the most virtue-loving 
and virtue-keeping men in the whole world. Buddhism says : Respect 
the religions of other men and remain true to your own ; but Church 
Christianity, denouncing all the gods of other nations as devils, would 
doom every non-Christian to eternal perdition. 

Enq. Does not the Buddhist priesthood do the same? 

Theo. Never. They hold too much to the wise precept found in 
the Dhammapada to do so, for they know that: 

If any man, whether he be learned or not, consider himself so great as to despise 
other men, he is like a blind man holding a candle blind himself, he illumines 
others. 

* See Lucifer for April, 1888, p. 147, Art. "Christian Lecturers on Buddhism." 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 5 1 

ON THE SOURCE OF THE HUMAN SOUL. 

Enq. How, then, do you account for man being endowed ivith a spirit 
and soul ? Whence these ? 

Theo. From the Universal Soul. Certainly not bestowed by a Per- 
sonal God. Whence the moist element in the jelly-fish? From the 
ocean which surrounds it, in which it lives and breathes and has its 
being, and whither it returns when dissolved. 

Enq. So you reject the teaching that soul is given, or breathed into man, 
by God? 

Theo. We are obliged to. The "soul" spoken of in Genesis (ii. 7) 
is, as therein stated, the "living soul" or nephesh, the vital, animal soul, 
with which God we say Nature and immutable L,aw endows man like 
every animal. It is not at all the thinking soul or mind ; least of all 
is it the immortal spirit. 

Enq. Well, let us put it otherwise: is it God zvho endows man with a 
human rational soul and immortal spirit? 

Theo. Again, in the way you put the question, we must object to it. 
Since we believe in no Personal God, how can we believe that he 
endows man with anything? But granting, for the sake of argument, a 
God who takes upon himself the risk of creating a new soul for every 
new-born babe, all that can be said is that such a God can hardly be 
regarded as himself endowed with any wisdom or prevision. Certain 
other difficulties and the impossibility of reconciling this with the claims 
made for the mercy, justice, equity and omniscience of that God, are so 
many deadly reefs on which this theological dogma is daily and hourly 
broken. 

Enq. What do you mean ? What difficulties ? 

Theo. I am thinking of an unanswerable argument offered once in 
my presence by a Cingalese Buddhist priest, a famous preacher, to a 
Christian missionary one in no way ignorant or unprepared for the 
public discussion during which it was advanced. It was near Colombo, 
and the missionary had challenged the priest Megittawatti to give his 
reasons why the Christian God should not be accepted by the "heathen." 
Well, the missionary came out of that memorable discussion second 
best, as usual. 

Enq. / should be glad to learn in zvhat way. 

Theo. Simply this: the Buddhist priest premised by asking the 



52 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

padri whether his God had given commandments to Moses for men 
only to keep, but to be broken by God himself. The missionary denied 
the supposition indignantly. Well, said his opponent, you tell us that 
God makes no exceptions to this rule, and that no soul can be born 
without his will. Now God forbids adultery, among other things, and 
yet you say in the same breath that it is he who creates every babe born, 
and he who endows it with a soul. Are we then to understand that the 
millions of children born in crime and adultery are your God's work? 
That your God forbids and punishes the breaking of his laws; and 
that, nevertheless, he creates daily and hourly souls for just such 
children ? According to the simplest logic, your God is an accomplice 
in the crime; since, but for his help and interference, no such children 
of lust could be born. Where is the justice of punishing not only the 
guilty parents but even the innocent babe for that which is done by 
that very God, whom yet you exonerate from any guilt himself? The 
missionary looked at his watch and suddenly found it was getting too 
late for further discussion. 

Enq. You forget that all such inexplicable cases are mysteries, and that 
we are forbidden by our religion to pry into the mysteries of God. 

Theo. No, we do not forget, but simply reject such impossibilities. 
Nor do we want you to believe as we do. We only answer the ques- 
tions you ask. We have, however, another name for your "mysteries." 

THE BUDDHIST TEACHINGS ON THE ABOVE. 
Enq. What does Buddhism teach with regard to the soul? 

Theo. It depends whether you mean exoteric, popular Buddhism, 
or its esoteric teachings. The former explains itself in the Buddhist 
Catechism in this wise : 

Soul it considers a word used by the ignorant to express a false idea. If every- 
thing is subject to change, then man is included, and every material part of him 
must change. That which is subject to change is not permanent; so there can be 
no immortal survival of a changeful thing. 

This seems plain and definite. But when we come to the question 
that the new personality in each succeeding re-birth is the aggregate of 
skaudhas, or the attributes, of the old personality, and ask whether this 
new aggregation of ska?idhas is a new being likewise, in which nothing 
has remained of the last, we read that : 

In one sense it is a new being, in another it is not. During this life the skandhas 
are continually changing; and while the man A. B. of forty is identical, as regards 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 53 

personality, with the youth A. B. of eighteen, yet by the continual waste and repara- 
tion of his body, and change of mind and character, he is a different being. Never- 
theless, the man in his old age justly reaps the reward or suffering consequent upon 
his thoughts and actions at every previous stage of his life. So the new being of a 
re-birth, being the same individuality as before [but not the same personality], with 
but a changed form, or new aggregation of skandhas, justly reaps the consequences 
of his actions and thoughts in the previous existence. 

This is abstruse metaphysics, and plainly does not express disbelief 
in soul by any means. 

Enq. Is not something like this spoken of in Esoteric Buddhism? 

The;o. It is; for this teaching belongs both to esoteric Budhism or 
Secret Wisdom, and to exoteric Buddhism, or the religious philosophy 
of Gautama Buddha. 

Eno. But we are distinctly told that most of the Buddhists do not 
believe in the souls immortality. 

Theo. Nor do we, if you mean by soul the personal Ego, or life-soul 
nephesh. But every learned Buddhist believes in the individual or 
divine Ego. Those who do not, err in their judgment. They are as 
mistaken on this point, as those Christians who mistake the theo- 
logical interpolations of the later editors of the Gospels about damna- 
tion and hell-fire, for verbatim utterances of Jesus. Neither Buddha 
nor Christ ever wrote anything themselves, but both spoke in alle- 
gories and used "dark sayings," as all true Initiates did, and will do 
for a long time yet to come. Both scriptures treat of all such meta- 
physical questions very cautiously, and both Buddhist and Christian 
records sin by that excess of exotericism; the dead-letter meaning far 
overshooting the mark in both cases. 

Eno. Do you mean to suggest that neither the teachings of Buddha nor 
those of Christ have been heretofore rightly understood ? 

Theo. What I mean is just as you say. Both Gospels, the Buddhist 
and the Christian, were preached with the same object in view. Both 
reformers were ardent philanthropists and practical altruists preach- 
ing most unmistakably socialism of the noblest and highest type, self- 
sacrifice to the bitter end. "Let the sins of the whole world fall upon 
me that I may relieve man's misery and suffering!" cries Buddha: "I 
would not let one cry whom I could save!" exclaims the prince-beggar, 
clad in the refuse rags of the burial-grounds. "Come unto me all ye 
that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest," is the appeal 



54 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

to the poor and the disinherited made by the "man of sorrows," who 
had not where to lay his head. The teachings of both are boundless 
love for humanity, charity, forgiveness of injury, forgetfuluess of self, 
and pity for the deluded masses ; both show the same contempt for 
riches, and make no difference between mcnm and tuutn. Their desire 
was, without revealing to all the sacred mysteries of initiation, to give 
the ignorant and the misled, whose burden in life was too heavy for 
them, hope enough and an inkling into the truth sufficient to support 
them in their heaviest hours. But the object of both reformers was 
frustrated, owing to excess of zeal of their later followers. The words 
of the Masters having been misunderstood and misinterpreted, behold 
the consequences! 

Enq. But surely Buddha must have repudiated the soul's immortality, 
if all the Orientalists and his own priests say so ? 

Theo. The Arhats began by following the policy of their Master, 
and the majority of the priests who followed them were not initiated, 
just as in Christianity; and so, little by little, the great esoteric truths 
became almost lost. A proof in point is, that, out of the two existing 
sects in Ceylon, the Siamese believes death to be the absolute annihila- 
tion of individuality and personality, and the other explains Nirvana, 
as we Theosophists do. 

Enq. But why, in that ease, do Buddhism and Christianity represent 
the two opposite poles of sueh belief? 

Theo. Because the conditions under which they were preached 
were not the same. In India the Brahmans, jealous of their superior 
knowledge, and excluding from it every caste save their own, had 
driven millions of men into idolatry and almost fetichism. Buddha 
had to give the death-blow to an exuberance of unhealthy fancy and 
fanatical superstition resulting from ignorance, such as has rarely been 
known before or after. Better a philosophical atheism than such 
ignorant worship for those 

Who cry upon their gods and are not heard 
Or are not heeded 

and who live and die in mental despair. He had to arrest first of all 
this muddy torrent of superstition, to uproot errors before he gave out 
the truth. And as he could not give out all, for the same good reason 
as Jesus, who reminds his disciples that the Mysteries of Heaven are 
not for the unintelligent masses, but for the elect alone, and therefore 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 55 

he spoke to the people in parables (Matth. xiii. 10, 11) so his caution 
led Buddha to conceal too much. He even refused to say to the monk 
Vacchagotta whether there was, or was not an Ego in man. When 
pressed to answer, "the exalted one maintained silence." 

Buddha gives his initiated disciple Ananda, who enquires for the 
reason of this silence, a plain and unequivocal answer in the dialogue 
translated by Oldenburg from the Samyutiaka Nikaya : 

If I, Ananda, when the wandering monk Vacchagotta asked me, "Is there the 
Ego?" had answered, "The Ego is," then that, Ananda, would have confirmed the 
doctrine of the Samanas and Brahmanas, who believed in permanence. If I, 
Ananda, when the wandering monk Vacchagotta asked me, "Is there not the 
Ego?" had answered, "The Ego is not," then that, Ananda, would have confirmed 
the doctrine of those who believed in annihilation. If I, Ananda, when the 
wandering monk Vacchagotta asked me, "Is there the Ego?" had answered, "The 
Ego is," would that have served my end, Ananda, by producing in him the know- 
ledge, all existences (dhamma) are non-ego? But if I, Ananda, had answered, "The 
Ego is not," then that, Ananda, would only have caused the wandering monk 
Vacchagotta to be thrown from one bewilderment to another, "My Ego, did it not 
exist before? But now it exists no longer!" 

This, shows, better than anything, that Gautama Buddha withheld 
such difficult metaphysical doctrines from the masses in order not to 
perplex them more. What he meant was the difference between the 
personal temporary Ego and the Higher Self, which sheds its light on 
the imperishable Ego, the spiritual "I" of man. 

Enq. This refers to Gautama, but in what way docs it touch the 
Gospels ? 

Theo. Read history and think over it. At the time the events nar- 
rated in the Gospels are alleged to have happened, there was a similar 
intellectual fermentation taking place in the whole civilized world, only 
with opposite results in the Eajt and the West. The old gods were 
dying out. While the civilized classes drifted, in the train of the un- 
believing Sadducees, into materialistic negations and mere dead-letter 
Mosaic form in Palestine, and into moral dissolution in Rome, the low- 
est and poorest classes ran after sorcery and strange gods, or became 
hypocrites or worse. Once more the time for a spiritual reform had 
arrived. The cruel, anthropomorphic and jealous god of the Jews, 
with his sanguinary laws of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," 
of the shedding of blood and animal sacrifice, had to be relegated to a 
secondary place and replaced by the merciful "Father in secret." The 
latter had to be shown, not as an extra-cosmic god, but as a divine 



56 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Saviour of the man of flesh, enshrined in his own heart and soul, in 
the poor as in the rich. No more here than in India, could the secrets 
of initiation be divulged, lest by giving that which is holy to the dogs, 
and casting pearls before swine, both the revealer and the things re- 
vealed should be trodden under foot. Thus, the reticence of both 
Buddha and Jesus whether the latter lived out the historic period 
allotted to him or not led in the one case to the blank negations of 
Southern Buddhism, and in the other, to the three clashing forms of 
the Christian Church and the 200 sects in Protestant England alone. 



VI. 

THEOSOPHICAL TEACHINGS AS TO NATURE AND MAN. 



THE UNITY OF ALL IN ALL. 

Enq. Having told me what God, the son!, and man are not, in your 
views, canyon inform me what they are, according to your teachings ? 

THEO. In their origin and in eternity the three, like the universe 
and all therein, are one with the absolute unity, the unknowable deific 
essence I spoke about some time back. We believe in no creation, but 
in the periodical and consecutive appearances of the universe from the 
subjective on to the objective plane of being, at regular intervals of 
time,- covering periods of immense duration. 

Exu. Can you elaborate the subject 1 

Thko. Take as a first comparison, and a help towards a more cor- 
rect conception, the solar year, and as a second, the two halves of that 
year, producing each a day and a night of six months' duration at the 
North Pole. Now imagine, if you can, instead of a solar year of 365 
days, eternity. L,et the sun represent the universe, and the polar days 
and nights of six months each days and nights lasting each 182 tril- 
lions and quadrillions of years, instead of 182 days each. As the sun 
rises every morning on our objective horizon out of its (to us) subjec- 
tive and antipodal space, so does the universe emerge periodically on 
the plane of objectivity, issuing from that of subjectivity the anti- 
podes of the former. This is the "Cycle of L,ife." And as the sun 
disappears from our horizon, so does the universe disappear at regular 
periods, when the "Universal Night" sets in. The Hindus call such 
alternations the "Days and Nights of Brahma," or the times of man- 
vantara and pralaya (dissolution). The Westerns may call them Uni- 



58 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

versal Days and Nights if they prefer. During the latter (the Nights) 
All is in All; every atom is resolved into one homogeneity. 

EVOLUTION AND ILLUSION. 

Eno. But who is it that each time creates the universe? 

Theo. No one creates it. Science would call the process evolution; 
the pre-Christian philosophers and the Orientalists called it emanation: 
we, Occultists and Theosophists, see in it the only universal and eternal 
Reality casting a periodical reflection of Itself on the infinite spatial 
depths. This reflection, which you regard as the objective material 
universe, we consider as a temporary "illusion" and nothing else. 
That alone which is eternal is real. 

Knq. At that rate, you a?id I are also " illusions.'" 

Theo. As flitting personalities, to-day one person, to-morrow 
another we are. Would you call the sudden flashes of the aurora 
dorealis, the northern lights, a "reality," though it is as real as can be 
while you look at it? Certainly not; it is the cause that produces it, if 
permanent and eternal, which is the only reality, while the effect is but 
a passing illusion. 

Enq. All this does not explain to me how this "illusion" called the uni- 
verse originates ; how the conscious to be, proceeds to manifest itself from the 
unconsciousness that is. 

Theo. It is "unconsciousness" only to our finite consciousness. 
Verily may we paraphrase St. John (i. 5), and say: "And [absolute] light 
[which is darkness to us] shineth in darkness [which is illusionary 
material light] ; and the darkness comprehendeth it not." This abso- 
lute light is also absolute and immutable law. Whether by radiation 
or emanation we need not quarrel over terms the universe passes 
out of its homogeneous subjectivity on to the first plane of manifesta- 
tion, of which planes there are seven, we are taught. With each plane 
it becomes more dense and material until it reaches this, our plane, 
on which the only world approximately known and understood in its 
physical composition by science is the planetary or solar system one 
sui generis, we are told. 

Enq. What do you mean by sui generis? 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 



59 



Tiieo. I mean that, though the fundamental law and the universal 
working of laws of nature are uniform, still our solar system like 
every other such system in the millions of others in cosmos and even 
our earth, has its own programme of manifestations differing from the 
respective programmes of all others. We speak of the inhabitants of 
other planets and imagine that if they are men, i.e., thinking entities, 
they must be as we are. The fancy of poets and painters and sculptors 
never fails to represent even the angels as a beautiful copy of man 
phis wings. We say that all this is an error and a delusion ; because, if 
on this little earth alone one finds such a diversity in its flora, fauna 
and mankind from the sea-weed to the cedar of Lebanon, from the 
jelly-fish to the elephant, from the Bushman and Negro to the Apollo 
Belvedere alter the conditions, cosmic and planetary, and there must 
be as a result cpiite a different flora, fauna and mankind. The same 
laws will fashion quite a different set of things and beings even on this 
our plane, including in it all our planets. How much more different 
then must be external nature in other solar systems, and how foolish is 
it to judge of other stars and worlds and human beings by our own, as 
physical science does! 



h^ ^c , 



Enq. But what are your data for this assertion ? 



Theo. What science in general will never accept as proof the 
cumulative testimony of an endless series of seers who have testified 
to this fact. Their spiritual visions, real explorations by, and through, 
psychic and spiritual senses untrammelled by blind flesh, have been 
systematically checked and compared one with the other and their 
nature sifted. All that was not corroborated by unanimous and col- 
lective experience was rejected, while that only was recorded as estab- 
lished truth which, in various ages, under different climes, and through - 
^ out an untold series of incessant observations, was found to agree and 
receive constantly further corroboration. The methods used by our 
scholars and students of the psycho-spiritual sciences do not differ 
from those of students of the natural and physical sciences, as you may 
see. Only our fields of research are on two different planes, and our 
instruments are made by no human hands; for which reason perchance 
they are but the more reliable. The retorts, accumulators, and micro- 
scopes of the chemist and naturalist may get out of order; the tele- 
scope and the astronomer's horological instruments may get spoiled; 



60 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

our recording instruments are beyond the influence of weather or the 
elements. 

Enq. And therefore you have implicit faith in them? 

Theo. Faith is a word not to be found in theosophical dictionaries: 
we say knowledge based on observation and experience. There is this 
difference, however, that while the observation and experience of phy- 
sical science lead the scientists to about as many working hypotheses 
as there are minds to evolve them, our knowledge consents to add to its 
lore only those facts which have become undeniable, and which are 
fully and absolutely demonstrated. We have no two beliefs or hypo- 
theses on the same subject. 



Enq. Is it on such data that you came to accept the stra?ige theories 
find i?t Esoteric Buddhism ? 



we 



Theo. Just so. These theories may be slightly incorrect in their 
minor details, and even faulty in their exposition by lay students; they 
are facts in nature, nevertheless, and come nearer the truth than any 
scientific hypothesis. 

ON THE SEPTENARY CONSTITUTION OF OUR PLANET. 

Enq. / understand that you describe our earth as forming part of a 
chain of earths ? 

Theo. We do. But the other six "earths" or globes, are not on 
the same plane of objectivity as our earth is; therefore we cannot see 
them. 

Enq. Is that on account of the great distance? 

Theo. Not at all, for we see with our naked eye not only planets 
but even stars at immeasurably greater distances; but it is owing to 
these six globes being outside our physical means of perception, or 
plane of being. It is not only that their material density, weight, 
or fabric are entirely different from those of our earth and the other 
known planets; but they are (to us) in ac entirely different layer of 
space, so to speak; a layer not to be perceived or felt by our physical 
senses. And when I say "layer" please do not allow your fancy to 
suggest to you layers like strata or beds laid one over the other, for this 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 6 1 

would only lead to another absurd misconception. What I mean by 
"layer" is that plane of infinite space which by its nature cannot fall 
under our ordinary waking perceptions, whether mental or physical; 
but which exists in nature outside of our normal mentality or con- 
sciousness, outside of our three dimensional space, and outside of our 
division of time. Each of the seven fundamental planes or layers, in 
space of course as a whole, as the pure space of IyOcke's definition, 
not as our finite space has its own objectivity and subjectivity, its own 
space and time, its own consciousness and set of senses. But all this 
will be hardly comprehensible to one trained in the modern ways of 
thought. 

Enq. What do you mean by a different set of senses ? Is there anything 
on our human "plane" that you could bring as an illustration of what you 
say, just to give a clearer idea of what you may mean by this variety of 
senses, spaces, and respective perceptions ? 

Theo. None; except, perhaps, that which for science would be 
rather a handy peg on which to hang a counter-argument. We have a 
different set of senses in dream-life, have we not? We feel, talk, hear, 
see, taste and function in general on a different plane; the change of 
state of our consciousness being evidenced by the fact that a series of 
acts and events embracing years, as we think, passes ideally through 
our mind in one instant. Well, that extreme rapidity of our mental 
operations in dreams, and the perfect naturalness, for the time being, 
of all the other functions, show us that we are on quite another plane. 
Our philosophy teaches us that, as there are seven fundamental forces 
in nature, and seven planes of being, so there are seven states of con- 
sciousness in which man can live, think, remember and have his being. 
To enumerate these here is impossible, and for this one has to turn to 
the study of Eastern metaphysics. But in these two states the waking 
and the dreaming every ordinary mortal, from a learned philosopher 
down to a poor untutored savage, has a good proof that such states 
differ. 

Enq. You do not accept, then, the well-known explanations of biology 
and physiology to account for the dream-state ? 

Theo. We do not. We reject even the hypotheses of your psycho- 
logists, preferring the teachings of Eastern Wisdom. Believing in seven 
planes of cosmic being and states of consciousness, with regard to the 



62 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

universe or the macrocosm, we stop at the fourth plane, finding it im- 
possible to go with any degree of certainty beyond. But with respect 
to the microcosm, or man, we speculate freely on his seven states and 
principles. 

Enq. How do you explain these? 

Theo. We find, first of all, two distinct beings in man; the spiritual 
and the physical, the man who thinks, and the man who records as 
much of these thoughts as he is able to assimilate. Therefore we 
divide him into two distinct natures; the upper or the spiritual being, 
composed of three "principles" or aspects; and the lower or the phy- 
sical quaternary, composed of four seven in all. 

THE SEPTENARY NATURE OF MAN. 

Enq. Is this the same as the division we call spirit arid soul, and the 
man of flesh. 

Theo. It is not. That is the old Platonic division. Plato was 
an initiate, and therefore could not go into forbidden details; but 
he who is acquainted with the archaic doctrine finds the seven in 
Plato's various combinations of soul and spirit. He regarded man 
as constituted of two parts one eternal, formed of the same essence 
as the Absoluteness, the other mortal and corruptible, deriving its 
constituent parts from the minor "created" Gods. Man is composed, 
he shows, of: (i) a mortal body; (2) an immortal principle; and (3) a 
"separate mortal kind of soul." It is that which we respectively call 
the physical man, the spiritual soul or spirit (nous), and the animal 
soul (psuche). This is the division adopted by Paul, another initiate, 
who maintains that there is a psychical body which is sown in the 
corruptible (astral or physical body), and a spiritual body that is 
raised in incorruptible substance. Even James (iii. 15) corroborates 
the same by saying that the "wisdom" (of our lower soul) descendeth 
not from above, but is terrestrial, "psychical," "demoniacal" (vide 
Greek text), while the other is heavenly wisdom. Now so plain is it 
that Plato and even Pythagoras, while speaking but of three "prin- 
ciples," give them seven separate functions, in their various combina- 
tions, that if we contrast our teachings, this will become quite plain. 
L,et us take a cursory view of these seven aspects by drawing a 
table. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 
THEOSOPHICAE DIVISION. 



63 



Ol 


o 

W 



o 

M 




c 

a 

l-H 

w 

s 

w 

Ph 

& 

H 

a 



Sanskrit Terms. Exoteric Meaning. 



() Rupa, or Sthiila (a) Physical body. 
Sharira. 



(b) Prana. 



(c) Einga Sharira. 



(d) Kama Rupa. 



(e) Manas a dual 
principle in its 
functions. 



(/) Buddhi. 



(g) Attna. 



(b) Life, or vital prin- 
ciple. 



(c) Astral body. 



(d) The seat of animal 
desires and passions. 



(e) Mind, intelligence; 
the higher human 
mind, whose light, or 
radiation links the 
Monad, for the life- 
time, to the mortal 
man. 



(/) The spiritual soul. 



(g) Spirit. 



Explanatory. 



(a) Is the vehicle of all the 
other "principles" during 
life. 



(b) Necessary only to a, c, d, 
and the functions of the 
lower Manas, which em- 
brace all those limited to 
the physical brain. 

(c) The double, the phantom 
body. 



[d) This is the centre of the 
animal man, where lies the 
line of demarcation which 
separates the mortal man 
from the immortal entity. 



(c) The future state and the 
karmic destiny of man de- 
pend on whether Manas 
gravitates more downward 
to Kama Rupa, the seat of 
the animal passions, or up- 
wards to Buddhi, the spiri- 
tual Ego. In the latter case, 
the higher consciousness of 
the individual spiritual aspi- 
rations of mind (Manas), as- 
similating Buddhi, are ab- 
sorbed by it and form the 
Ego, which goes into deva- 
chanic bliss.* 



(/) The vehicle of pure uni- 
versal spirit. 



(g) One with the Absolute, as 
its radiation. 



Now what does Plato teach ? He speaks of the interior man as con- 
stituted of two parts one immutable and always the same, formed of 
the same substance as Deity, and the other mortal and corruptible. 
These two parts are found in the upper Triad, and the lower Quater- 



3 In Mr. Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism, d, e, and f are respectively called the animal, the human, 
and the spiritual souls, which answers as well. Though the principles in Esoteric Buddhism are 
numbered, this is, strictly speaking, useless. The dual Monad alone (Atma-Buddhi) is susceptible of 
being thought of as the two highest numbers (the 6th and 7th). As to all others, since that "prin- 
ciple " only which is predominant in man has to be considered as the first and foremost, no numera- 
tion is possible as a general rule. In some men it is the higher intelligence (Manas or the 5th) which 
dominates the rest, in others it is the animal soul (Kama Rupa) that reigns supreme, exhibiting the 
most bestial instincts, etc. 



64 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

nary of our table. He explains that when the soul (J>suche) ''allies her- 
self to the nous (divine spirit or substance*), she does everything 
aright and felicitously" ; but the case is otherwise when she attaches 
herself to anoia (folly, or the irrational animal soul). Here, then, we 
have Manas, or the soul in general, in its two aspects; when attaching 
itself to anoia (our Kama Rupa, or the "animal soul" in Esoteric 
Buddhism), it runs towards entire annihilation, as far as the personal 

A 

Ego is concerned ; when allying itself to the notes (Atma-Buddhi) it 
merges into the immortal, imperishable Ego, and then its spiritual 
consciousness of the personal Ego that was, becomes immortal. 

THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SOUL AND SPIRIT 

Enq. Do yon really teach, as you arc accused of doing by some Spiritu- 
alists and French Spiritists, the annihilation of every personality ? 

Theo. We do not. Our opponents have started the nonsensical 
charge, because this question of duality the individuality of the divine 
Ego, and the personality of the human animal involves that of the 
possibility of the real immortal Ego appearing in seance rooms as a 
"materialized spirit," which we deny, as already explained. 

Enq. You have just spoken of psuche running towards its efitire anni- 
hilation if it attaches itself to anoia. What did Plato, and what do you 
mean by this? 

Theo. The entire annihilation of the personal consciousness, as an 
exceptional and rare case, I think. The general and almost invariable 
rule is the merging of the personal into the individual or immortal 
consciousness of the Ego, a transformation or a divine transfiguration, 
and the entire annihilation only of the lower quaternary. Would you 
expect the man of flesh (or the temporary personality), his shadow (the 
astral), his animal instincts, and even physical life, to survive with the 
spiritual Ego and become sempiternal? Naturally all this ceases to exist, 
either at, or soon after corporeal death. It becomes in time entirely 
disintegrated and disappears from view, being annihilated as a whole. 

Enq. Then you also reject resurrection i?i the flesh? 

Theo. Most decidedly we do ! Why should we, who believe in the 

* Paul calls Plato's nous "spirit"; but as this spirit is "substance," then of course, Buddhi and not 
Atma is meant, as the latter cannot philosophically be called "substance" under any circumstance. 
We include Atma among the human " principles " in order not to create additional confusion. In 
reality it is no human principle but the universal absolute principle of which Buddhi, the soul-spirit, 
is the carrier. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 65 

archaic esoteric philosophy of the ancients, accept the unphilosophical 
speculations of the later Christian theology, borrowed from the Egyptian 
and Greek exoteric systems of the Gnostics? 

Knq. The Egyptians revered nature-spirits, and deified even onions: 
your Hindus are idolaters, to this day ; the Zoroastrians worshipped, and do 
still worship \ the szin; and the best Greek philosophers were either dreamers 
or materialists witness Plato and Democrihis. How can yozi compaix ! 

Theo. It may be so in your modern theological and even scientific 
catechisms: it is not so for unbiassed minds. The Egyptians revered 
the " One-Only-One," as Nout; and it is from this word that Anaxagoras 
got his denomination nous, or as he calls it, vovs airoKpar^, " the mind or 
spirit self-potent," apxq rq^ /av^o-ecos "the leading motor," or primum 
mobile of all. With him the nous was God, and the logos was man, his 
emanation. The nous is the spirit (whether in cosmos or in man), and the 
logos, whether universe or astral body, the emanation of the former, the 
physical body being merely the animal. Our external powers perceive 
phenomena; our nous alone is able to recognize their noumena. It is the 
logos alone, or the noumenon, that survives, because it is immortal in its 
very nature and essence, and the logos in man is the eternal Ego, that 
which reincarnates and lasts for ever. But how can the evanescent or 
external shadow, the temporary clothing of that divine emanation which 
returns to the source whence it proceeded, be that which is " raised in 
incorruptibility"? 

EnQ. Still you can hardly escape the charge of having i?ivented a new 
division of man's spiritual and psychic constituents ; for no philosopher 
speaks of them, thoitgh you believe that Plato does. 

Theo. And I support the belief. Not only Plato, but also Pytha- 
goras followed the same division.* He described the soul as a self- 
moving unit (jno?ias) composed of three elements, the nous (spirit), the 
phren (mind), and the thumos (life, breath or the nephesh of the Kaba- 
lists), which three correspond to our Atma-Buddhi (higher spirit-soul), 
to Manas (the Ego), and to Kama Rupa in conjunction with the lower 
reflection of Manas. That which the ancient Greek philosophers 



* "Plato and Pythagoras," says Plutarch, "distribute the soul into two parts, the rational [noetic] 
and irrational soul [agnoia']; that that part of the soul of man which is rational is eternal; for 
though it be not God, yet it is the product of an eternal deity, but that part of the soul which is 
divested of reason [the agnoia] dies." The modern term agnostic comes from a-gnosticos. a word 
cognate with agnoia. We wonder why Mr. Huxley, the author of the word, should have connected 
his great intellect with "the soul . . . divested of reason" which dies? Is it the exaggerated 
humility of the modern materialist ? 

6 



1 



66 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

termed soul, in general, we call spirit, or spiritual soul, Buddhi, as the 
vehicle of Atma the To Agatkon, or Plato's Supreme Deity. The 
fact that Pythagoras and others state that phren and thumos are shared 
by us with the brutes, proves that in this case the lower manasic reflec- 
tion (instinct) and Kama Rupa (animal living passions) are meant. 
And as Socrates and Plato accepted the clue and followed it, if to these 

A. 

five, namely, To Agathon (Deity or Atma), psuche (soul in its collective 
sense), nous (spirit or mind), phren (physical mind), and thumos (Kama 
Rupa or passions) we add the eidolon of the Mysteries (the shadowy 
form or human double), and the physical body, it will be easy to demon- 
strate that the ideas of both Pythagoras and Plato were identical with 
ours. Even the Egyptians held to the septenary division. They 
taught that the soul (Ego), in its exit, had to pass through its seven 
chambers, or principles, both those it left behind, and those it took 
along with itself. The only difference is that, ever bearing in mind 
the penalty of revealing Mystery-doctrines, which was death, they 
&y> gave out the teaching in broad outline, while we elaborate it and 

explain it in its details. But though we do give out to the world as 
much as is lawful, even in our doctrine more than one important detail 
is withheld, which those who study the esoteric philosophy and are 
pledged to silence, are alone entitled to know. 

THE GREEK TEACHINGS. 

Enq. We have magnificent Greek and Latin, Sanskrit and Hebrew 
scholars. How is it that we find nothing in their translations that would 
afford us a clue to what you say? 

Theo. Because your translators, their great learning notwithstand- 
ing, have made of the philosophers, the Greeks especially, misty instead 
of mystic writers. Take as an instance Plutarch, and read what he 
says of the "principles" of man. What he describes is accepted lite- 
rally and attributed to metaphysical superstition and ignorance. Let 
me give you an illustration in point from this author : 

Man is compound; and they are mistaken who think hitn to be compounded of two 
parts only. For they imagine that the understanding [brain-intellect] is a part of 
the soul [the upper triad], but they err in this no less than those who make the soul 
to be a part of the body [i.e. those who make of the triad part of the corruptible 
mortal quaternary]. For the understanding [nous] as far exceeds the soul, as the soul 
is better and diviner than the body. Now this composition of the soul [psuche] with 
the understanding [nous] makes reason; and with the body [or thumos, the animal 
soul] passion; of which the one is the beginning or principle of pleasure and pain, 
and the other of virtue and vice. Of these three parts conjoined and compacted 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 67 

together, the earth has given the body, the moon the soul, and the sun the under- 
standing to the generation of man. 

This last sentence is purely allegorical, and will be comprehended 
only by those who are versed in the esoteric science of correspondences 
and know what planet is related to every principle. Plutarch divides 
the orinciples into three groups, and makes of the body a compound of 
physical frame, astral shadow, and breath, or the triple lower part, which 
"from earth was taken and to earth returns"; of the middle principle 
and the instinctual soul, the second part, derived from and through, 
and ever influenced by the moon ;* and only of the higher part or the 
spiritual soul (Buddhi), with the di?nic and mdnasic elements in it, does 
he make a direct emanation of the sun, who stands here for To A gat h on 
the Supreme Deity. This is proven by what he says further as follows: 

Now of the deaths we die, the one makes man two of three and the other one of 
[out of] two. The former is in the region and jurisdiction of Demeter, whence the 
name given to the Mysteries, tcXciv, resembled that given to death, TeXevrav. The 
Athenians also heretofore called the deceased sacred to Demeter. As for the other 
death, it is in the moon or region of Persephone. 

Here you have our doctrine, which shows man a septenary during 
life; a quintile just after death, in Kamaloka; and a triad, Ego, spirit- 
soul, and consciousness in Devachan. This separation, first in the 
"Meadows of Hades," as Plutarch calls the Kamaloka, then in Deva- 
chan, was part and parcel of the performances during the Sacred 
Mysteries, when the candidates for initiation enacted the whole drama 
of death, and the resurrection as a glorified spirit, by which name we 
mean consciousness. This is what Plutarch means when he says: 

And as with the one, the terrestrial, so with the other celestial Hermes doth 
dwell. This suddenly and with violence plucks the soul from the body; but 
Proserpina mildly and in a long time disjoins the understanding from the soul.t 
For this reason she is called monogenes, only begotten, or rather begetting one 
alone; for the better part of man becomes alone when it is separated by her. Now 
both the one and the other happens thus according to nature. It is ordained by 
Fate [Fatum or Karma] that every soul, whether with or without understanding 
[mind], when gone out of the body, should wander for a time, though not all for 
the same, in the region lying between the earth and moon [Kdmaloka]4 For 

* The Kabalists who know the relation of Jehovah, the life and children-giver, to the moon, and 
the influence of the latter on generation, will again see the point as much as will some astrologers. 

1- Proserpina, or Persephone, stands here for post mortem Karma, which is said to regulate the 
separation of the lower from the higher " principles "the soul, as nephesh, the breath of animal life, 
which remains for a time in Kamaloka, from the higher compound Ego, which goes into the state of 
Devachan, or bliss. 

X Until the separation of the higher, spiritual "principle" from the lower principles, which remain 
in Kamaloka until disintegrated. 



68 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

those who have been unjust and dissolute suffer then the punishment due to their 
offences; but the good and virtuous are there detained till they are purified, and 
have, by expiation, purged out of them all the infections they might have con- 
tracted from the contagion of the body, as if from foul health, living in the mildest 
part of the air, called the Meadows of Hades, where they must remain for a certain 
prefixed and appointed time. And then, as if they were returning from a wander- 
ing pilgrimage or long exile into their country, they have a taste of joy, such as 
they principally receive who are initiated into Sacred Mysteries, mixed with trouble, 
admiration, and each one's proper and peculiar hope. 

This is nirvanic bliss, and no Theosophist could describe in plainer 
though esoteric language the mental joys of Devachan, where every 
man has his paradise around him, created b y his conscio usness. But 
you must beware of the general error into which too many even of our 
Theosophists fall. Do not imagine that because man is called septenary, 
then quintuple and a triad, he is a compound of seven, five, or three 
entities; or, as well expressed by a Theosophical writer, of skins to be 
peeled off like the skins of an onion. The "principles," as already said, 
save the body, the life, and the astral eidolon, all of which disperse at 
death, are simply aspects and states of consciotisness. There is but one 
real man, enduring through the cycle of life and immortal in essence, if 
not in form, and this is Manas, the mind-man or embodied conscious- 
ness. The objection made by the materialists, who deny the possi- 
bility of mind and consciousness acting without matter is worthless in 
our case. We do not deny the soundness of their argument; but we 
simply ask our opponents: Are you acquainted with all the states of 
matter, 3 r ou who knew hitherto but of three? And how do you know 
whether that which we refer to as Absolute Consciousness or Deity for 
ever invisible and unknowable, be not that which, though it for ever 
eludes our human finite conception, is still universal spirit-matter or 
matter-spirit in its absolute infinitude? It is then one of the lowest, 
and in its manvantaric manifestations fractioned aspects of this spirit- 
matter, which is the conscious Ego that creates its own paradise, a 
fool's paradise, it may be, still a state of bliss. 

Enq. But what is Devachan ? 

Theo. The "land of gods" literally; a condition, a state of mental 
bliss. Philosophically a mental condition analogous to, but far more 
vivid and real than, the most vivid dream. It is the state after death of 
most mortals, 



ooc tv&hf*} - k/T/vrz^ "* 



VII. 

ON THE VARIOUS POST MORTEM STATES. 



THE PHYSICAL AND THE SPIRITUAL MAN. 
Enq. I am glad to hear you believe in the immortality of the soul. 

Theo. Not of the soul, but of the divine spirit; or rather in the 
immortality of the reincarnating Ego. 

Enq. What is the difference? 

Theo. A very great one in our philosophy, but this is too abstruse 
and difficult a question to touch lightly upon. We shall have to analyze 
them separately, and then in conjunction. We may begin with spirit. 

We say that the spirit the "Father in secret" of Jesus or Atman, is 
no individual property of any man, but is the divine essence which has 
no body, no form, which is imponderable, invisible and indivisible, that 
which does not exist and yet is, as the Buddhists saj' of Nirvana. It 
only overshadows the mortal ; that which enters into him and pervades 
the whole body being but its omnipresent rays, or light, radiated 
through Buddhi, its vehicle and direct emanation. This is the secret 
meaning of the assertions of almost all the ancient philosophers, when 
they said that "the rational part of man's soul"* never enters wholly 
into the man, but only overshadows him more or less through the 
irrational spiritual soul, or Buddhi. f 

Enq. / laboured under the impression that the "animal soul" alone was 
irratio?ial, and not the "divine soul." 

Theo. You have to learn the difference between that which is 

* In its generic sense, the word "rational" meaning something emanating from the Eternal 
Wisdom. 

t Irrational in the sense that as & pure emanation of the Universal Mind it can have no individual 
reason of its own on this plane of matter, but like the moon, who borrows her light from the sun and 
her life from the earth, so Buddhi, receiving its light of wisdom from Atma, gets its rational qualities 
from Manas. As something homogeneous, however, it is devoid of attributes per se. 



JO THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

negatively, or passively irrational, because undifferentiated, and that 
which is irrational because too active and positive. Man is a correlation 
of spiritual powers, as well as a correlation of chemical and physical 
forces, brought into function by what we call "principles." 

Enq. / have read a good deal upon the subject, and it seems to me that 
the notions of the older philosophers differed a great deal from those of the 
mediceval Kabalists, though they do agree in some particulars. 

Theo. The most substantial difference between them and us is this. 
While we believe with the Neoplatonists and the Eastern teachings 
that the spirit (At ma) never descends hypostatically into the living 
man, but only showers more or less its radiance on the inner man the 
psychic and spiritual compound of the astral principles the Kabalists 
maintain that the human spirit, detaching itself from the ocean of light 
and universal spirit, enters man's soul, where it remains throughout 
life imprisoned in the astral capsule. All Christian Kabalists still 
maintain the same, as they are unable to break quite loose from their 
anthropomorphic and biblical doctrines. 

Enq. And zvhat do you say? 

Theo. We say that we only allow the presence of the radiation of 
spirit, or Atma, in the astral capsule, and so far only as that spiritual 
radiancy is concerned. We say that man and soul have to conquer 
their immortality by ascending towards the unity with which, if suc- 
cessful, they will be finally linked and into which they are finally, so to 
speak, absorbed. The individualization of man after death depends on 
the spirit, not on his soul and body. Although the word "personality," 
in the sense in which it is usually understood, is an absurdity if applied 
literally to our immortal essence, still the latter is, as our individual 
Ego, a distinct entity, immortal and eternal per se. It is only in the 
case of black magicians or of criminals beyond redemption, criminals 
who have been such during a long series of lives that the shining 
thread, which links the spirit to the personal soul from the moment of 
the birth of the child, is violently snapped, and the disembodied entity 
becomes divorced from the personal soul, the latter being annihilated 
without leaving the smallest impression of itself on the former. If 
this union between the lower, or personal Manas, and the individual 
reincarnating Ego, has not been effected during life, then the former is 
left to share the fate of the lower animals, to gradually dissolve into 
ether, and have its personality annihilated. But even then the spiritual 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 7 1 

Ego remains a distinct being. It only loses after that special, and in 
that case indeed useless, life one devachanic state which it would 
otherwise have enjoyed as that idealized personality, and is reincarnated 
almost immediately, after enjoying for a short time its freedom as a 
planetary spirit. 

Enq. // is stated in Isis Unveiled that such planetary spirits or angels, 
" the gods of the Pagans or the archangels of the Christians," will never be 
men on our planet. 

Theo. Quite right. Not "such planetary spirits," but some classes 
of higher planetary spirits. They will never be men on this planet, 
because they are liberated spirits from a previous, earlier world, and as 
such they cannot re-become men on this earth. Yet all these will live 
again in the next and far higher mahdmanvanlara, after this "Great 
Age" and its Brahmic pralaya (a little period of sixteen figures or so) 
are over. For you must have heard, of course, that Eastern philo- 
sophy teaches us that mankind consists of such "spirits" imprisoned 
in human bodies? The difference between animals and men is this: 
the former are ensouled by the "principles" potc?itially, the latter 
actually* Do you now understand the difference ? 

Enq. Yes; but this specialization has been in all ages the stumbling- 
block of metaphysicians. 

Theo. It has. The whole esotericism of the Buddhistic philosophy 
is based on this mysterious teaching, understood by so few, and so 
totally misrepresented by many of the most learned modern scholars. 
Even metaphysicians are too inclined to confound the effect with the 
cause. An Ego who has won his immortal life as spirit will remain the 
same Inner Self throughout all his rebirths on earth ; but this does not 
imply necessarily that he must either remain the Mr. Smith or Mr. 
Brown he was on earth, or lose his individuality. Therefore, the astral 
soul and the terrestrial body of a man may, in the dark hereafter, be 
absorbed into the cosmical ocean of sublimated elements, and he may 
cease to feel his last personal Ego (if it did not deserve to soar higher), 
and yet his divine Ego may still remain the same unchanged entity, 
though this terrestrial experience of its emanation may be totally 
obliterated at the instant of separation from the unworthy vehicle. 

Enq. If the spirit, or the divine portion of the soul, is preexistent as 
a distinct being from all eternity, as Origen, Syncsms, and other semi- 

* This is fully explained in the Commentaries of the second volume of The Secret Doct>ine. 



72 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Christians and semi-Platonic philosophers taught, and if it is the same, 
and nothing more than the metaphysically-objective soul, how can it be 
otherwise than eternal? And what matters it hi such a case, whether man 
leads a pure or an animal life, if, do what he may, he can never lose his 
individuality ? 

Theo. This doctrine, as you have stated it, is just as pernicious in 
its consequences as that of vicarious atonement. Had the latter dogma, 
in company with the false idea that we are all immortal, been demon- 
strated to the world in its true light, humanity would have been bettered 
by its propagation. 

Let me repeat to you again. Pythagoras, Plato, Timseus of IyOcris, 
and the old Alexandrian School, derived the soul of man, or his higher 
"principles" and attributes, from the Universal World-Soul; the latter 
being, according to their teachings, iEther (Pater-Zeus). Therefore, 
none of these "principles" can be the zinalloyed essence of the Pytha- 
gorean monas, or our Atma, because the anima mttndi is but the effect, 
the subjective emanation or rather radiation, of the monas. Both the 
human spirit, or the individuality, the reincarnating spiritual Ego, 
and Buddhi, the spiritual soul, are preexistent. But, while the former 
exists as a distinct entity, an individualization, the soul exists as pre- 
existing breath, a nescient portion of an intelligent whole. Both were 
originally formed from the eternal ocean of light; but as the Fire-Philo- 
sophers, the mediaeval Theosophists, expressed it, there is a visible as 
well as invisible spirit in fire. They made a difference between the 
anima bruta and the anima divina. Empedocles firmly believed all 
men and animals to possess two souls ; and in Aristotle we find that he 
calls one the reasoning soul, vovs, and the other, the animal soul,- \pvyrj. 
According to these philosophers, the reasoning soul comes from within 
the Universal Soul, and the other from without. 

Enq. Would you call the soul, i.e., the human thiriking soul, or what 
you call the Ego matter? j 

Theo. Not matter, but substance assuredly; nor would the word 
"matter," if prefixed with the adjective, "primordial," be a word to 
avoid. This matter, we say, is coeternal with spirit, and is not our 
visible, tangible, and divisible matter, but its extreme sublimation. 
Pure spirit is but one remove from the 0-spirit, or the absolute All. 
Unless you admit that man was evolved out of this primordial spirit- 
matter, and represents a regular progressive scale of "principles" from 



THE KEY TO TllEOSOPHY. 73 

super-spirit down to the grossest matter, how can we ever come to 
regard the inner man as immortal, and at the same time as a spiritual 
entity and a mortal man? 

Enq. Then why should you not believe in God as such an entity? 

Theo. Because that which is infinite and unconditioned can have 
no form, and cannot be a being, not in any Eastern philosophy worthy 
of the name, at any rate. An "entity" is immortal, but is so only in 
its ultimate essence, not in its individual form, when at the last point 
of its cycle, it is absorbed into its primordial nature ; and it becomes 
spirit, when it loses its name of entity. 

Its immortality- as a form is limited only to its life-cycle or the maha- 
manvantara; after which it is one and identical with the Universal 
Spirit, and no longer a separate entity. As to the personal soul by 
which we mean the spark of consciousness that preserves in the spiritual 
Ego the idea of the personal "I" of the last incarnation this lasts, as 
a separate distinct recollection, only throughout the devachanic period ; 
after which time it is added to the series of other innumerable incarna- 
tions of the Ego, like the remembrance in our memory of one of a 
series of days, at the end of a year. Will you bind the infinitude you 
claim for your God to finite conditions? That alone which is indis- 
solubly cemented by Atma, viz., Buddhi-Manas, is immortal. The soul 
of man, i.e., of the personality, per se is neither immortal, eternal nor 
divine. Says the Zohar: 

The soul, when sent to this earth, puts 011 an earthly garment, to preserve herself 
here, so she receives above a shining garment, in order to be able to look without 
injury into the mirror, whose light proceeds from the Lord of Light. 

Moreover, the Zohar teaches that the soul cannot reach the abode of 
bliss, unless she has received the "holy kiss," or the reunion of the 
soul with the substance from which she emanated spirit. All souls are 
dual, and, while the latter is a feminine principle, the spirit is mascu- 
line. While imprisoned in body, man is a trinity, unless his pollution 
is such as to have caused his divorce from the spirit. "Woe to the 
soul which prefers to her divine husband [spirit] the earthly wedlock 
with her terrestrial body," records a text of the Book of the Keys, a 
Hermetic work. Woe indeed, for nothing will remain of that person- 
ality to be recorded on the imperishable tablets of the Ego's memory. 

Enq. How can that which, if not breathed by God into man, is yet on 
your own confession of an identical substance with the divine, fail to be 
immortal? 



74 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Theo. Every atom and speck of matter, not of substance only, is 
imperishable in its essence, but not in its individual consciousness. Im- 
mortality is but one's unbroken_c onsciousnes j ; and the personal con- 
sciousness can hardly last longer than the personality itself. And 
such consciousness, as I have already told you, survives only through- 
out Devachan, after which it is reabsorbed, first, in the individual, and 
then in the universal consciousness. Better enquire of your theo- 
logians how it is that they have so sorely jumbled up the Jewish Scrip- 
tures. Read the Bible, if you would have a good proof that the writers 
of the Pentateuch, Genesis especially, never regarded nephesh that which 
God breathes into Adam {Gen. ii. 7) as the immortal soul. Here are 
some instances: "And God created .... every life (nephesh) that 
moveth" (Gen. i. 21), meaning animal. "And man became a living 
soul (nepheshy (Gen. ii. 7), which shows that the word nephesh was in- 
differently applied to immortal man and to mortal beast. "And surely 
your blood of your lives (nepheshim) will I require ; at the hand of every 
beast will I require it, and at the hand of man" (Gen. ix. 5). "Escape 
for thy life (nepheshy (Gen. xix. 17). "Eet us not kill him" (Gen. 
xxxvii. 21). "L,et us not kill his nephesh" is the Hebrew text. 
"Nephesh for nephesh," says Leviticus. "He that killeth any man shall 
surely be put to death," literally "He that smiteth the nephesh of a 
man" (Lev. xxiv. 17). "And he that killeth a beast Qnephesfi) shall 
make it good; beast for beast" (ibid., 18), whereas the original text has 
it "nephesh for nephesh." How could man kill that which is immortal? 
This explains also why the Sadducees denied the immortality of the 
soul, and also affords another proof that very probably the Mosaic 
Jews the uninitiated at any rate never believed in the soul's survival 
at all. 

ON ETERNAL REWARD AND PUNISHMENT; AND ON NIRVANA. 

Enq. // is hardly necessary, I suppose, to ask you whether you believe in 
the Christian dogmas of paradise and hell, or in fiihire rewards and punish- 
ments as taught by the orthodox churches? 

Theo. As described in your catechisms, we reject them absolutely; 
least of all would we accept their eternity. But we believe firmly in 
what we call the Law of Retribittion, and in the absolute justice and 
wisdom guiding this L,aw, or Karma. Hence we positively refuse to 
accept the cruel and unphilosophical belief in eternal reward or eternal 
punishment. We say with Horace: 



THE KEY TO ThEOSOPHY. 75 

Let rules be fixed that may our rage contain, 
And punish faults with a proportion' d pain ; 
But do not flay him who deserves alone 
A whipping for the fault that he has done. 

This is a rule for all men, and a just one. Have we to believe that 
God, of whom you make the embodiment of wisdom, love and mercy, 
is less entitled to these attributes than mortal man? 

Enq. Have you any other reasons for rejecting this dogma ? 

Theo. Our chief reason for so doing is the fact of reincarnation. As 
already stated, we reject the idea of a new soul created for every 
newly-born babe. We believe that every human being is the bearer, 
or vehicle, of an Ego coeval with every other Ego; because all Egos 
are of the same essence and belong to the primeval emanation from one 
universal infinite Ego. Plato calls the latter the logos (or the second 
manifested God); and we, the manifested divine principle, which is 
one with the universal mind or soul, not the anthropomorphic, extra- 
cosmic and personal God in which so many Theists believe. Pray do 
not confuse. 

Enq. But where is the difficulty, once you accept a manifested principle, 
in believing that the soul of every new mortal is created by that principle, 
as all the souls before it have been so created? 

Theo. Because that which is impersonal can hardly create, plan 
and think, at its own sweet will and pleasure. Being a universal Law, 
immutable in its periodical manifestations, those of radiating and 
manifesting its own essence at the beginning of every new cycle of 
life, It is not supposed to create men, only to repent a few years later 
of having created them. If we have to believe in a divine principle at 
all, it must be in one which is as absolute harmony, logic, and justice, 
as it is absolute love, wisdom, and impartiality; and a God who would 
create every soul for the space of one brief span of life, regardless of 
the fact whether it has to animate the body of a wealthy, happy man, 
or that of a poor suffering wretch, hapless from birth to death though 
he has done nothing to deserve his cruel fate would be rather a sense- 
less fiend than a God.* Why, even the Jewish philosophers, believers 
in the Mosaic Bible (esoterically, of course), have never entertained 
such an idea. Moreover, they believed in reincarnation, as we do. 

Enq. Can you give me some instances as a proof of this ? 

* See further, "On the Reward and Punishment of the Ego." 



j6 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Theo. Most decidedly I can. Philo Judseus says: 

The air is full of them [of souls]; . . . those which are nearest the earth, 
descending to be tied to mortal bodies, 7raAivSpo/Ao{)criv avBis, return to other bodies, 
being desirous to live in them* 

In the Zohar, the soul is made to plead her freedom before God : 

Lord of the universe! I am happy in this world, and do not wish to go into 
another world, where I shall be a handmaid, and be exposed to all kinds of pollu 
tions.t 

The doctrine of fatal necessity, the everlasting immutable law, is 
asserted in the answer of the Deity: 
Against thy will thou becomest an embryo, and against thy will thou art born. J 

Light would be incomprehensible without darkness to make it mani- 
fest by contrast; good would be no longer good without evil to show 
the priceless nature of the boon ; and so personal virtue could claim no 
merit, unless it had passed through the furnace of temptation. Nothing 
is eternal and unchangeable, save the concealed Deity. Nothing that 
is finite whether because it had a beginning, or must have an end 
can remain stationary. It mu st either progress or recede ; and a soul 
which thirsts after a reunion with its spirit, which alone confers upon 
it immortality, must purify itself through cyclic transmigrations onward 
toward the only land of bliss and eternal rest, called in the Zohar, "The 
Palace of Love," mnN S^TT ; in the Hindu religion, "Moksha"; among 
the Gnostics, "The Pleroma of Eternal Light"; and by the Buddhists, 
"Nirvana." And all these states are temporary, not eternal. 

Enq. Yet there is no ? r ei7icarnation spoken of in all this. 

Theo. A soul which pleads to be allowed to remain where she is, 
must be preexistent, and not have been created for the occasion. In 
the Zohar, however, there is a still better proof. Speaking of the re- 
incarnating Egos, the rational souls, those whose last personality has 
to fade out entirely, it is said : 

All souls which are not guiltless in this world, have already alienated themselves 
in heaven from the Holy One, blessed be He ; they have thrown themselves into an 
abyss at their very existence, and have anticipated the time when they are to 
descend (once more) on earth. 

* De Gignat, p. 222c; De Somniis, 455D. 
t Zohar, ii. 96. 
% Mislma, Aboth, iv. 29. 

\ iii. bib. The above quotations are from K. R. H. Mackenzie's Masonic Cyclopedia, art. 
"Kabbalah." 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 77 

"The Holy One" means here, esoterically, the Atman, or Atm&- 
Buddhi. 

FyNQ. Moreover, it is very strange to find Nirvana spoken of as some- 
thing synonymous with the Kingdom of Heaven, or Paradise, si?ice accord- 
ing to every Orientalist of note Nirvana is a synonym of annihilation ! 

Theo. Taken literally, with regard to the personality and differen- 
tiated matter; but not otherwise. These ideas on reincarnation and 
the trinity of man were held by many of the early Christian Fathers. 
It is the jumble made by the translators of the New Testament and 
ancient philosophical treatises between soul and spirit, that has occa- 
sioned the many misunderstandings. It is also one of the many 
reasons why Buddha, Plotinus, and so many other Initiates are now 
accused of having longed for the total extinction of their souls 
"absorption into the Deity," or "reunion with the Universal Soul," 
meaning, according to modern ideas, annihilation. The personal soul 
must, of course, be disintegrated into its particles, before it is able to 
link its purer essence for ever with the immortal spirit. But the trans- 
lators of both the Acts and the Epistles, who laid the foundation of the 
Kingdom of Heaven, and the modern commentators on the Buddhist 
Sutta of the Foundation of the Kingdom of Righteousness, have muddled 
the sense of the great apostle of Christianity as of the great reformer 
of India. The former have smothered the word psuchikos (i/^xikos), so 
that no reader imagines it to have any relation with soul; and with this 
confusing together of soul and spirit, Bible readers get only a perverted 
sense of anything on the subject. On the other hand, the interpreters 
of Buddha have failed to understand the meaning and object of the 
Buddhist four degrees of Dhyana. Ask the Pythagoreans: Can that 
spirit, which gives life and motion and partakes of the nature of light, 
be reduced to nonentity? Can even that sensitive spirit in brutes 
which exercises memory, one of the rational faculties, die and become 
nothing? observe the Occultists. In Buddhistic philosophy "annihi- 
lation" means only a dispersion of matter, in whatever form or sem- 
blance of form it may be, for everything that has form is temporary, 
and is, therefore, really an illusion. For in eternity the longest periods 
of time are as the wink of an eye. So with form. Before we have 
time to realize that we have seen it, it is gone like an instantaneous 
flash of lightning, and passed for ever. When the spiritual entity 
breaks loose for ever from every particle of matter, substance, or form, 
and re-becomes a spiritual breath, then only does it enter upon the 



78 the key to theosophy. 

eternal and unchangeable Nirvana, lasting as long as the cycle of life 
has lasted an eternity, truly. And then that Breath, existing in spirit, 
is nothing because it is all; as a form, a semblance, a shape, it is com- 
pletely annihilated; as absolute spirit it still is, for it has become, to 
coin a word, be-ness itself. The very phrase, "absorbed in the universal 
essence," when used of the soul as spirit, means "union withy It can 
never mean annihilation, for that would mean eternal separation. 

Enq. Do you not lay yourself open to the accusation of preaching anni- 
hilation by the language you yourself use ? You have just spoken of the 
soul of man returning to its primordial elements. 

Theo. But you forget that I have given you the differences between 
the various meanings of the word "soul," and shown the loose way in 
which the term "spirit" has been hitherto translated. We speak of an 
animal, a human, and a spiritual soul, and distinguish between them. 
Plato, for instance, calls "rational soul" that which we call Buddhi, 
adding to it the adjective of "spiritual," however; but that which we 
call the reincarnating Ego, Manas, he calls spirit, nous, etc., whereas 
we -apply the term "spirit," when standing alone and without any 
qualification, to Atma only. Pythagoras repeats our archaic doctrine 
when stating that the Ego (nous) was eternal with Deity ; that the soul 
only passed through various stages to arrive at divine excellence ; while 
thumos returned to the earth, and even the phren, the lower Manas, was 
eliminated. Again, Plato defines soul (Buddhi) as "the motion that is 
able to move itself." "Soul," he adds (Laws, x), "is the most ancient 
of all things, and the commencement of motion," thus calling Atma- 
Buddhi soul, and Manas spirit, which we do not. 

Soul was generated prior to body, and body is posterior and secondary, as 
being according to nature, ruled over by the ruling soul. . . . The soul which 
administers all things that are moved in every way, administers likewise the 
heavens. . . . 

Soul then leads everything in heaven, and on earth, and in the sea, by its move- 
ments the names of which are, to will, to consider, to take care of, to consult, to 
form opinions true and false, to be in a state of joy, sorrow, confidence, fear, hate, 
love, together with all such primary movements as are allied to these. . . . 
Being a goddess herself, she ever takes as an ally nous, a god, and disciplines all 
things correctly and happily ; but when with anoia [not nous], it works out every- 
thing the contrary. 

In this language, as in the Buddhist texts, the negative is treated as 
essential existence. "Annihilation" comes under a similar exegesis. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 79 

The positive state is essential being, but no manifestation as such. 
When the spirit, in Buddhistic parlance, enters Nirvana, it loses objec- 
tive existence, but retains subjective being. To objective minds this 
is becoming absolute " nothing" ; to subjective, no-thing nothing to be 
displayed to sense. Thus, their Nirvana means the certitude of in- 
dividual immortality in spirit, not in soul, which, though "the most 
ancient of all things," is still along with all the other gods a finite 
emanation, in forms and individuality, if not in substance. 

Enq. I do not quite seize the idea yet, and would be thankful to have 
you explain this to me by some illustratio?is. 

Theo. No doubt it is very difficult to understand, especially to one 
brought up in the regular orthodox ideas of the Christian Church. 
Moreover, I must tell you one thing; and this is that unless you have 
studied thoroughly well the separate functions assigned to all the 
human "principles" and the state of all these after death, you will 
hardly realize our Eastern philosophy. 

ON THE VARIOUS "PRINCIPLES" IN MAN. 

Enq. I have heard a good deal about this constitution of the "inner 
man" as you call it, but could ?iever make "head or tail ori 7" as the trans- 
lator of L,e Comte de Gabalis expresses it. 

Theo. Of course, it is most difficult, and, as you say, puzzling to 
understand correctly and distinguish between the various aspects, 
called by us the "principles" of the real Ego. It is the more so as 
there exists a notable difference in the numbering of these principles 
by various Eastern schools, though at the bottom there is the same 
identical substratum of teaching. 

Enq. Do you mean the Veda n tins, as an instance? Do they not divide 
your seven "principles'''' into five only? 

Theo. They do; but though I would not presume to dispute the 
point with a learned Vedantin, I may yet state as my private opinion 
that they have an obvious reason for it. With them it is only that 
compound spiritual aggregate which consists of various mental aspects 
that is called man at all, the physical body being in their view some- 
thing beneath contempt, and merely an illusion. Nor is the Vedanta 
the only philosophy to reckon in this manner. Eao-tze, in his Tao-te- 
King, mentions only five principles, because he, like the Vedantins, 
omits to include two principles, namely, the spirit (Atma) and the 



80 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

physical body, the latter of which moreover, he calls the "cadaver." 
Then there is the Taraka Raja Yoga School. Its teaching recognizes 
only three "principles" in fact; but then, in reality, their sthulopddhi, or 
physical body, in its waking conscious state, their sukshmopddhi, the 
same body in svapna, or the dreaming state, and their kdranopddhi or 
"causal body," or that which passes from one incarnation to another, 
are all dual in their aspects, and thus make six. Add to this dtmd, the 
impersonal divine principle or the immortal element in Man, undis- 
tinguished from the Universal Spirit, and you have the same seven 
again.* They are welcome to hold to their division; we hold to ours. 

Enq. Then it seems almost the same as the division made by the mystic 
Christians : body, soul, and spirit ? 

Theo. Just the same. We could easily make of the body the 
vehicle of the vital double ; of the latter the vehicle of life or Prima ; of 
Kama Riipa, or animal soul, the vehicle of the higher and the lower 
mind, and make of this six principles, crowning the whole with the 
one immortal spirit. In Occultism every qualificative change in the 
state of our consciousness gives to man a new aspect, and if it prevails 
and becomes part of the living and acting Ego, it must be (and is) 
given a special name, to distinguish the man in that particular state 
from the man he is when he places himself in another state. 

Enq. // is Just that which it is so difficult to understand. 

Theo. It seems to me very easy, on the contrary, once that you 
have seized the main idea, i.e., that man acts on this or another planar 
of consciousness, in strict accordance with his mental and spiritual 
condition. But such is the materialism of the age that the more we 
explain the less people seem capable of understanding what we say. 
Divide the terrestrial being called man into three chief aspects, if you 
like, and unless you make of him a pure animal you cannot do less. 
Take his objective body; the thinking principle in him which is only 
a little higher than the instinctual element in the animal or the vital 
conscious soul; and that which places him so immeasurably beyond 
and higher than the animal i.e., his reasoning soul or spirit. Well, if 
we take these three groups or representative entities, and subdivide 
them, according to the occult teaching, what do we get? 

First of all, spirit in the sense of the absolute, and therefore, indi- 
visible Aei< or Atma. As this can neither be located nor limited in 

* See, for a clearer explanation, The Secret Doctrine, i. 157 (1st ed.) ; i. 181 (3rd ed.). 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPIIV. 8l 

philosophy, being simply that which is in eternity, and which cannot 
be absent from even the tiniest geometrical or mathematical point of 
the universe of matter or substance, it ought not to be called, in truth, 
a "human" principle at all. Rather, and at best, it is in metaphysics, 
that point in space which the human Monad and its vehicle man 
occupy for the period of every life. Now that point is as imaginary as 
man himself, and in reality is an illusion, a mdyd; but then for our- 
selves, as for other personal Egos, we are a reality during that fit of 
illusion called life, and we have to take ourselves into account, in our 
own fancy at any rate, if no one else does. To make it more con- 
ceivable to the human intellect, when first attempting the study of 
Occultism, and to solve the A B C of the mystery of man, Occultism 
calls this seventh principle the synthesis of the sixth, and gives it for 
vehicle the spiritual soul, Buddhi. Now the latter conceals a mystery, 
which is never given to any one, with the exception of irrevocably 
pledged che/ds, or those, at any rate, who can be safely trusted. Of 
course, there would be less confusion, could it only be told; but, as 
this is directly concerned with the power of projecting one's double 
consciously and at will, and as this gift, like the "ring of Gyges," would 
prove very fatal to man at large and to the possessor of this faculty in 
particular, it is carefully guarded. But let us proceed with the "prin- 
ciples." This divine soul, or Buddhi, then, is the vehicle of the spirit. 
In conjunction, these two are one, impersonal and without any attri- 
butes (on this plane, of course), but make two spiritual "principles." 
If we pass on to the human soul, Manas or mens, every one will agree 
that the intelligence of man is dual to say the least: e.g., the high- 
minded man can hardly become low-minded; the very intellectual and 
spiritual-minded man is separated by an abyss from the obtuse, dull, 
and material, if not animal-minded, man. 

Enq. But why should not man be rather represented by two principles 
or two aspects ? 

Theo. Every man has these two principles in him, one more active 
than the other, and in rare cases, one of them is entirely stunted in its 
growth, so to say, or paralyzed by the strength and predominance of 
the other aspect, in every direction. These, then, are what we call the 
two principles or aspects of Manas, the higher and the lower; the 
former, the higher Manas, or the thinking, conscious Ego gravitating 
toward the spiritual soul (Buddhi); and the latter, or its instinctual 
principle, attracted to Kama, the seat of animal desires and passions in 



82 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

man. Thus, we have four principles justified; the last three being (i) 
the double, which we have agreed to call protean, or plastic soul, the 
vehicle of (2) the life principle ; and (3) the physical body. Of course 
no physiologist or biologist will accept these principles, nor can he 
make head or tail of them. And this is why, perhaps, none of them to 
this day understand either the functions of the spleen, the physical 
vehicle of the protean double, or those of a certain organ on the right 
side of man, the seat of the above-mentioned desires, nor yet do they 
know anything of the pineal body, which is described as a gland with 
a little sand in it, whereas it is in truth the very seat of the highest 
and divinest consciousness in man, his omniscient, spiritual and all- 
embracing mind. And this shows you still more plainly that we have 
neither invented these seven principles, nor are they new in the world 
of philosophy, as we can easily prove. 

Eno. But zvhat is it that reincarnates, in your belief? 

Theo. The spiritual thinking Ego, the permanent principle in man, 

A A. 

or that which is the seat of Manas. It is not Atma, or even Atma- 
Buddhi, regarded as the dual Monad, which is the individual, or divine 

A 

man, but Manas; for Atman is the Universal All, and becomes the 
Higher Self of man only in conjunction with Buddhi, its vehicle, 
which links It to the individuality, or divine man. For it is the 
Buddhi-Manas the united fifth and sixth principles which is called 
the Causal Body by the Vedantins, and which is consciousness, that con- 
nects It with every personality It inhabits on earth. Therefore, soul 
being a generic term, there are in men three aspects of soul: (1) 
the terrestrial, or animal; (2) the human soul; and (3) the spiritual 
soul; these, strictly speaking, are one soul in its three aspects. Now 
of the first aspect, nothing remains after death; of the second, nous or 
Manas, only its divine essence, if left zmsoiled, survives; while the third 
in addition to being immortal becomes conscionslyjdivme, by the assimi- 
lation of the higher Manas. But to make it clear, we have to say a few 
words first of all about reincarnation. 

Enq. You will do well, as it is against this doctrine that your enemies 
fight the most ferociously. 

Theo. You mean the Spiritualists? I know ; and many are the 
absurd objections laboriously spun by them over the pages of their 
journals. So obtuse and malicious are some of them, that they will 
stop at nothing. One of them recently found a contradiction, which he 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 83 

gravely discusses in a letter to Light, in two statements picked out of 
Mr. Siunett's lectures. He discovers this grave contradiction in the 
two sentences: "Premature returns to earth-life, in the cases when they 
occur, may be due to karmic complication"; and "there is no accident 
in the supreme act of divine justice guiding evolution." So profound a 
thinker would surely see a contradiction of the law of gravitation if 
a man stretched out his hand to stop a falling stone from crushing the 
head of a child! 



VIII. 

ON REINCARNATION OR RE-BIRTH. 



WHAT IS MEMORY ACCORDING TO THEOSOPHICAL TEACHING? 

Enq. The most difficult thing for you will be to explain and give 
reasonable grounds for such a belief. No Theosophist has ever yet suc- 
ceeded in bringing forward a single valid proof to shake my scepticism. 
First of all, you have against this theory of rc'incarnatio?i the fact that no 
single man has yet been found to remember that he has lived, least of all who 
he tvas, during his previous life. 

Theo. Your argument, I see, tends to the same old objection; the 
loss of memory in each of us of our previous incarnation. You think 
it invalidates our doctrine? My answer is that it does not; or that at 
any rate such an objection cannot be final. 

Enq. / would like to hear your arguments. 

Theo. They are short and few. Yet when you take into considera- 
tion the utter inability of the best modern psychologists to explain to 
the world the nature of mind, and their complete ignorance of its 
potentialities, and higher states, you have to admit that this objection 
is based on an a priori conclusion drawn from prima facie and circum- 
stantial evidence more than anything else. Now what is memory in 
your conception, pray? 

Enq. That which the generally accepted definition explains: the faculty 
in our mind of remembering and of retaining the k?wwledge of previous 
thoughts, deeds and events. 

Theo. Please add to it that there is a great difference between the 
three accepted forms of memory. Besides memory in general you have 
remembrance, recollection and reminiscence, have you not? Have you ever 
thought over the difference ? Memory, remember, is a generic name. 

Enq. Yet, all these are only synonyms. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 85 

Theo. Indeed, they are not not in philosophy, at all events. 
Memory is simply an innate power in thinking beings, and even in 
animals, of reproducing past impressions by an association of ideas 
principally suggested by objective things or by some action on our 
external sensory organs. Memory is a faculty depending entirely on 
the more or less healthy and normal functioning of our physical brain; 
and remembrance and recollection are the attributes and handmaidens of 
this memory. But reminiscence is an entirely different thing. Remini- 
scence is defined by the modern psychologist as something intermediate 
between remembrance and recollection, or : 

A conscious process of recalling past occurrences, but ivithout that full and varied 
reference to particular things which characterizes recollection. 

Locke, speaking of recollection and remembrance, says : 

When an idea again recurs without the operation of the like object on the 
external sensory, it is remembrance ; if it be sought after by the mind, and with 
pain and endeavour found and brought again into view, it is recollection. 

But even Locke leaves reminiscence without any clear definition, 
because it is no faculty or attribute of our physical memory, but an 
intuitional perception apart from and outside our physical brain; a 
perception which, being called into action by the ever-present know- 
ledge of our spiritual Ego, covers all those visions in man which are 
regarded as abnormal from the pictures suggested by genius to the 
ravings of fever and even madness and are classed by science as having 
no existence outside of our fancy. Occultism and Theosophy, how- 
ever, regard reminiscence in an entirely different light. For us, while 
memory is physical and evanescent and depends on the physiological 
conditions of the brain a fundamental proposition with all teachers of 
mnemonics, who have the researches of modern scientific psychologists 
to back them reminiscence is the memory of the soul. And it is this 
memory which gives the assurance to almost every human being, 
whether he understands it or not, of his having lived before and 
having to live again. Indeed, as Wordsworth has it: 

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting, 

The soul that rises with us, our life's star, 
Hath elsewhere had its setting, 

And cotneth from afar. 

Enq. If it is on this kind of memory poetry and abnormal fancies, on 
your own confession that yon base your doctrine, then you will convince 
very few, I am afraid. 



86 the key to theosophy. 

Theo. I did not confess it was a fancy. I simply said that physio- 
logists and scientists in general regard such reminiscences as halluci- 
nations and fancy, to which "learned" conclusion they are welcome. 
We do not deny that such visions of the past and glimpses far back 
into the corridors of time, are not abnormal, as contrasted with our 
normal daily life experience and physical memory. But we do main- 
tain with Professor W. Knight, that: "the absence of memory of any 
action done in a previous state cannot be a conclusive argument against 
our having lived through it." And every fair-minded opponent must 
agree with what is said in Butler's Lectures on Platonic Philosophy, 
"that the feeling of extravagance with which it [preexistence] affects 
us has its secret source in materialistic or semi-materialistic preju- 
dices." Besides which, we maintain that memory is, as Olympiodorus 
called it, simply "phantasy,"* and the most unreliable thing in us. 
Ammonius Saccas asserted that the only faculty in man directly 
opposed to prognostication, or looking into futurity, is memory. 
Furthermore, remember that memory is one thing and mind or 
thought is another; memory is a recording machine, a register which 
very easily gets out of order; but thoughts are eternal and imperish- 
able. Would you refuse to believe in the existence of certain things 
or men only because your physical eyes have not seen them? Would 
not the collective testimony of past generations who have seen Julius 
Caesar be a sufficient guarantee that he once lived? Why should not 
the same testimony of the psychic senses of the masses be taken into 
consideration ? 

EnQ. But do yon not think that these are too fine distinctions to be 
accepted by the majority of mortals? 

Theo. Say rather by the majority of materialists. And to them we 
say: Behold, even in the short span of ordinary existence, memory is 
too weak to register all the events of a lifetime. How frequently do 
even most important events lie dormant in our memory until awakened 
by some association of ideas, or aroused to function and activity by 
some other link. This is especially the case with people of advanced 

* "The phantasy," says Olympiodorus, in Plato's P/nrdo, "is an impediment to our intellectual 
conceptions : and hence, when we are agitated by the inspiring influence of the Divinity, if the 
phantasy intervenes, the enthusiastic energy ceases; for enthusiasm and the ecstasy are contrary to 
each other. Should it be asked whether the soul is able to energize without the phantasy, we reply, 
that its perception of universals proves that it is able. It has perceptions, therefore, independent of 
the phantasy; at the same time, however, the phantasy attends in its energies, just as a storm pur- 
sues him who sails on the sea." 



the key to theosophy. gy 

age, who are always found suffering from feebleness of recollection. 
When, then, we bear in mind what we know about the physical and 
the spiritual principles in man, it is not the fact that our memory has 
failed to record our precedent life and lives that ought to surprise us, 
but the contrary, were it to happen. 

WHY DO WE NOT REMEMBER OUR PAST LIVES? 

Eno. You have given me a bird's eye vieiv of the seven principles. How 
do y oil account for our complete loss of any recollection of having lived before, 
in the light of what you have said concerning these principles? 

Theo. Very easily. Those principles which we call physical,* are 
disintegrated after death together with their constituent elements, and 
memory along with the brain. This vanished memory of a vanished 
personality , can consequently neither remember nor record anything in 
the subsequent reincarnation of the Ego. Reincarnation means that 
the Ego will be furnished with a new body, a nciv brain, and a nezv 
memory. Therefore it would be as absurd to expect this new memory 
to remember that which it has never recorded as it would be to examine 
under a microscope a shirt which had never been worn by a murderer, 
and seek on it for the stains of blood which are to be found only on the 
clothes he has worn. It is not the clean shirt that we have to question, 
but the clothes worn during the perpetration of the crime ; and if these 
are burnt and destroyed, how can you get at them? 

Enq. Aye! how can you get at the certainty that the crime ivas ever 
committed at all, or that the man in the clean shirt ever lived before? 

Theo. Not by physical processes, most assuredly; nor by relying 
on the testimony of that which exists no longer. But there is such a 
thing as circumstantial evidence, since our wise laws accept it, more, 
perhaps, even than they should. To get convinced of the fact of re- 
incarnation and past lives, one must put oneself en rapport with one's 
real permanent Ego, not with one's evanescent memory. 

Enq. But how can people believe in that which they do not know, nor 
have ever seen, far less put themselves en rapport with it? 

Theo. If people, and they the most learned, will believe in the 

* Namely, the body, life, passional and animal instincts, and the astral eidolon of every man, 
whether perceived in thought or our mind's eye, or objectively and separate from the physical body ; 
which principles we call Sthula Sharira, Prana, Kama Rupa, and Linga Sharira. None of these is 
denied by science, though it calls them by different names. 



88 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

"gravity," "ether," "force," and what not of science, abstractions and 
working hypotheses, which they have neither seen, touched, smelt, 
heard, nor tasted why should not other people believe, on the same 
principle, in the permanent Ego, a far more logical and important 
"working hypothesis" than any other? 

Knq. What is, finally, this mysterious eternal principle? Can you 
explain its nature so as to make it comprehensible to all? 

Theo. The Ego which reincarnates is the individual not personal 
and immortal "I"; the vehicle, in short, of the Atma-Buddhic 
Monad ; that which is rewarded in Devachau and punished on earth, 
and that, finally, to which the reflection only of the skandhas, or 
attributes,'" of every incarnation attaches itself. 

Enq. What do you mean by skandhas? 

Theo. Just what I said; "attributes," among which is memory. 
All of these perish like a flower, leaving behind them only a feeble 
perfume. Here is another paragraph from Colonel H. S. Olcott's 
Buddhist Catechism,] which bears directly upon the subject. It deals 
with the question as follows: 

The aged man remembers the incidents of his youth, despite his being physically 
and mentally changed. Why, then, is not the recollection of past lives brought 
over by us from our last birth into the present birth? 

Because memory is included within the skandhas, and the skandhas having 
changed with the new existence, a memory, the record of that particular existence, 
develops. Yet the record or reflection of all the past lives must survive ; for, when 
Prince Siddhartha became Buddha, the full sequence of his previous births were 
seen by him. . . . And any one who attains to the state of jhana can thus 
retrospectively trace the line of his lives. 

This proves to you that while the undying qualities of the personality 
such as love, goodness, charity, etc. attach themselves to the im- 
mortal Ego, photographing on it, so to speak, a permanent image of 
the divine aspect of the man who was, his material skandhas those 
which generate the most marked karmic effects are as evanescent as 
a flash of lightning, and cannot impress the new brain of the new 



* There are five skandhas or attributes in the Buddhist teachings : " rupa [form or body], material 
qualities ; ivdana, sensation ; sauna, abstract ideas ; samkhai a, tendencies of mind ; vinnana, mental 
powers. Of these we are formed : by them we are conscious of existence ; and through them com- 
municate with the world about us." 

+ By Henry S. Olcott. President and Founder of the Theosophical Society. The accuracy of the 
teaching is sanctioned by the Rev. H. Sumangala, High Priest of the Sripada and Galle, and Principal 
of the Widyodaya Parivena i College) at Colombo, as being in agreement with the Canon of the 
Southern Buddhist Church. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 89 

personality; yet their failing to do so impairs in no way the identity of 
the reincarnating Ego. 

Enq. Do you mean to infer that that which survives is only the soul- 
memory, as you call it, that soul or Ego being one and the same, while 
nothing of the personality remains ? 

Theo. Not quite ; .something of each personality, unless the latter 
was an absolute materialist with not even a chink in his nature for a 
spiritual ray to pass through, must survive, as it leaves its eternal 
impress on the incarnating permanent Self or spiritual Ego.* The 
personality with its skandhas is ever changing with every new birth. 
It is, as said before, only the part played by the actor, the true Ego, for 
one night. This is why we preserve no memory on the physical plane 
of our past lives, though the real Ego has lived them over and knows 
them all. 

Enq. Then how does it happen that the real or spiritual man does not 
impress his new personal "I" with this knowledge? 

Theo. How is it that the servant girls in a poor farm-house could 
speak Hebrew and play the violin in their trance or somnambulic 
state, and knew neither when in their normal condition? Because, as 
every genuine psychologist of the old not your modern school, will 
tell you, the spiritual Ego can act only when the personal Ego is para- 
lyzed. The spiritual "I" in man is omniscient and has every know- 
ledge innate in it; while the personal self is the creature of its 
environment and the slave of the physical memory. Could the former 
manifest itself uninterruptedly, and without impediment, there would 
be no longer men on earth, but we should all be gods. 

Enq. Still tliere ought to be exceptions, and some ought to remember. 

Theo. And so they do. But who believes in their report? Such 
sensitives are generally regarded as hallucinated hysteriacs, as crack- 
brained enthusiasts, or humbugs, by modern materialists. Eet them 
read, however, works on this subject, preeminently Reincarnation, 
a Study of Forgotten Truth, by E. D. Walker, F.T.S., and see in 
it the mass of proofs which the able author brings to bear on this 
vexed question. Speak to some people of soul, and they ask: What 
is soul? Have you ever proved its existence? Of course it is useless 

* Or the spiritual, in contradistinction to the personal Self. The student must not confuse this 
spiritual Ego with the Higher Self, which is AtrnA, the God within us, and inseparable from the 
Universal Spirit. (See Section IX, " On post mortem and post-natal Consciousness.") 



90 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

to argue with those who are materialists. But even to them I would 
put the question: Can you remember what you were or what you did 
when a baby? Have you preserved the smallest recollection of your 
life, thoughts, or deeds, or that you lived at all during the first eighteen 
months or two years of your existence? Then why not deny that you 
have ever lived as a babe, on the same principle? When to all this we 
add that the reincarnating Ego, or individuality, retains during the 
devachanic period merely the essence of the experience of its past 
earth-life or personality, the whole physical experience involving into 
a state of in potential, or being, so to speak, translated into spiritual 
formula; when w r e remember further that the term between two re- 
births is said to extend from ten to fifteen centuries during which the 
physical consciousness is totally and absolutely inactive, having no 
organs to act through, and therefore no existence the reason for the 
absence of all remembrance in the purely physical memory is apparent. 
Enq. Yon just said that the spiritual Ego was omniscient. Where, 
then, is that vaunted omniscience during its devachanic life, as you call it? 

Theo. During that time it is latent and potential, because, first of 
all, the spiritual Ego, the compound of Buddhi-Manas, is not the 
Higher Self, which being one with the Universal Soul or Mind is alone 
omniscient; and, second^', because Devachan is the idealized con- 
tinuation of the terrestrial life just left behind, a period of retributive 
adjustment, and a reward for unmerited wrongs and sufferings under- 
gone in that special life. The spiritual Ego is omniscient only poten- 
tially in Devachan; it enjoys actual omniscience in Nirvana alone, 
when the Ego is merged in the Universal Mind-Soul. Nevertheless 
the Ego rebecomes quasi omniscient during those hours on earth when 
certain abnormal conditions and physiological changes in the body 
make it free from the trammels of matter. Thus the examples cited 
above of somnambulists a poor servant speaking Hebrew, and another 
playing the violin give ) r ou an illustration of the case in point. This 
does not mean that the explanations of these two facts offered us by 
medical science have no truth in them, for one girl had, years before, 
heard her master, a clergyman, read Hebrew works aloud, and the 
other had heard an artist playing a violin at their farm. But neither 
could have done so as perfectly as they did had they not been ensouled 
by That which, owing to the sameness of its nature with the Universal 
Mind, is omniscient. In the former case the higher principle acted on 
the skandhas and moved them; in the latter, the personality being 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 9 1 

paralyzed, the individuality manifested itself. Pray do not confuse 
the two. 

ON INDIVIDUALITY AND PERSONALITY. 

Eno. But what is the difference between the two ? I co?ifess that I am 
still in the dark. 

Theo. In his Buddhist Catechism, Colonel Olcott, forced by the 
logic of esoteric philosophy, found himself obliged to correct the 
mistakes of previous Orientalists who made no such distinction, and 
gives the reader his reasons for it as follows : 

The successive appearances upon one or many earths, or "descents into genera- 
tion," of the lanhaically-coherent parts {skandhas) of a certain being, are a succes- 
sion of personalities. In each birth the personality differs from that of the previous 
or next succeeding birth. Karma, the dais ex machind, masks (or, shall we say, 
reflects?) itself now in the personality of a sage, again as an artisan, and so on 
throughout the string of births. But though personalities ever shift, the one line 
of life along which they are strung, like beads, runs unbroken; it is ever that 
particular line, never any other. It is therefore individual, an individual vital 
undulation, which began in Nirvana, or the subjective side of Nature, as the light 
or heat undulation through aether began at its dynamic source; is careering 
through the objective side of Nature under the impulse of Karma and the crea- 
tive direction of tanha [the unsatisfied desire for existence]: and leads through 
many cyclic changes back to Nirvana. Mr. Rhys-Davids calls that which passes 
from personality to personality along the individual chain "character," or "doing." 
Since "character" is not a mere metaphysical abstraction, but the sum of one's 
mental qualities and moral propensities, would it not help to dispel what Mr. 
Rhys-Davids calls "the desperate expedient of a mystery" {Buddhism, p. 101), 
if we regarded the life-undulation as individuality, and each of its series of natal 
manifestations as a separate personality? The perfect individual, Buddhistically 
speaking, is a Buddha, I should say; for Buddha is but the rare flower of humanity, 
without the least supernatural admixture. And, as countless generations ("four 
asankheyyas and a hundred thousand cycles," Fausboll and Rhys-Davids' Buddhist 
Birth-Stories, p. 13) are required to develop a man into a Buddha, and the iron will 
to become one runs throughout all .the successive births, what shall we call that which 
thus wills and perseveres? Character? Or individuality: an individuality but partly 
manifested in any one birth, but built up of fragments from all the births? 

I have long tried to impress this distinction between the individuality 
and personality 011 people's minds; but alas, it is harder with some than 
to make them feel a reverence for childish impossibilities, only because 
they are orthodox, and because orthodoxy is respectable. To under- 
stand the idea well, you have to first study the dual sets of principles; 
the spiritual, or those which belong to the imperishable Ego ; and the 



92 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

material, or those principles which make up the ever-changing bodies 
or the series of personalities of that Ego. L,et us fix permanent names 
to these, and say that: 

I. Atma, the Higher Self, is neither your spirit nor mine, but like 
sunlight .shines on all. It is the universally diffused divine prin- 
ciple, and is inseparable from its one and absolute super-spirit, 
as the sunbeam is inseparable from sunlight. 
II. Buddhi, the spiritual soul, is only its vehicle. Neither Atma 
nor Buddhi separately, nor the two collectively, are of any more 
use to the body of man, than sunlight and its beams are for 
a mass of granite buried in the earth, unless the divine duad 
is assimilated by, and reflected in, some consciousness. Neither 
Atma nor Buddhi are ever reached by Karma, because the 
former is the highest aspect of Karma, the working agent of Itself 
in one aspect, and the latter is unconscious on this plane. This 
consciousness or mind is 
III. Manas,* the derivation, or product in a reflected form, of aham- 
kdra, "the conception of I," or "Ego-ship." It is, therefore, 
when inseparably united to the first two, called the spiritual Ego, 
and taijasa, the radiant. This is the real individuality, or the 
divine man. It is this Ego which having originally incarnated 
in the senseless human form animated by, but unconscious of, 
the presence in itself of the dual monad, since it had no con- 
sciousness made of that human-like form a real man. It is 
this Ego, this "causal body," which overshadows every person- 
ality into which Karma forces it to incarnate. It is this Ego 
which is held responsible for all the sins committed through, and 
in, every new body or personality the evanescent masks which 
hide the true individual through the long series of rebirths. 

Enq. But is this just? Why should this Ego receive pimishment as the 
result of deeds which it has forgotten ? 

Theo. It has not forgotten them ; it knows and remembers its mis- 
deeds as well as you remember what you have done yesterday. Is it 
because the memory of that bundle of physical compounds called 

* Mahat or the universal mind is the source of Manas. The latter is mahat, i.e., mind, in man. 
Manas is also called kshetrajiia, embodied spirit, because it is, according to our philosophy, the 
manasa-putras, or "sons of the universal mind," who created, or rather produced, the thinking 
man, manu, by incarnating in the third-race mankind in our Round. It is Manas, therefore, which 
is the real incarnating and permanent spiritual Ego, the individuality, and our various and number- 
less personalities only its external masks. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 93 

"body" does not recollect what its predecessor, the personality that 
was, did, that yon imagine that the real Ego has forgotten them? As 
well say it is unjust that the new coat on the back of a boy, who is 
flogged for stealing apples, should be punished for that of which it 
knows nothing. 

Enq. But are there no modes of communication between the spiritual 
and human consciottsness or memory ? 

Theo. Of course there are ; but they have never been recognized 
by your modern scientific psychologists. To what do you attribute 
intuition, the "voice of conscience," premonitions, vague undefined 
reminiscences, etc., if not to such communications? Would that the 
majority of educated men, at least, had the fine spiritual perceptions of 
Coleridge, who shows how intuitional he is in some of his comments. 
Hear what he says with respect to the probability that "all thoughts 
are in themselves imperishable." 

If the intelligent faculty [sudden "revivals" of memory] should be rendered more 
comprehensive, it would require only a different and appropriate organization, the 
body celestial instead of the body terrestrial, to bring before every human soul the 
collective experience of Us zvlwlc past existence [existences, rather]. 

And this body celestial is our manasic Ego. 

ON THE REWARD AND PUNISHMENT OF THE EGO. 

Enq. I have heard you say that the Ego, whatever the life of the person 
he incarnated in may have been on earth, is never visited with post mortem 
punishment. 

Theo. Never, save in very exceptional and rare cases of which we 
will not speak here, as the nature of the "punishment" in no way 
approaches any of your theological conceptions of damnation. 

Enq. But if the Ego is punished in this life for the misdeeds committed 
in previous lives, then it ought to be rewarded also, whether here, or when 
disincarnated. 

Theo. And so it is. If we do not admit of any punishment outside 
of this earth, it is because the only state the spiritual Self knows of, 
hereafter, is that of unalloyed bliss. 

Enq. What do you mean ? 

Theo. Simply this : crimes and sins committed on a plane of objectivity 
and in a world of matter, cannot receive punishment in a ivorld of pure 
subjectivity. We believe in no hell or paradise as localities; in no 



94 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

objective hell-fires and worms that never die, nor in any Jerusaletns 
with streets paved with sapphires and diamonds. What we believe in 
is a post mortem state or mental condition, such as we are in during 
a vivid dream. We believe in an immutable law of absolute Love, 
Justice, and Mercy. And believing in it, we say: Whatever was the 
sin and whatever were the dire results of the original karmic trans- 
gression of the now incarnated Egos,* no man or the outer material 
and periodical form of the spiritual entity can be held, with any 
degree of justice, responsible for the consequences of his birth. He 
does not ask to be born, nor can he choose the parents that will give 
him life. In every respect he is a victim to his environment, the child 
of circumstances over which he has no control ; and if each of his trans- 
gressions were impartially investigated, it would be found that in nine 
out of every ten cases he was the one sinned against, rather than the 
sinner. Life is at best a heartless play, a stormy sea to cross, and a 
heavy burden often too difficult to bear. The greatest philosophers 
have tried in vain to fathom and find out its razsofi d'etre, and except 
those who had the key to it, namely, the Eastern sages have all failed. 
Life is, as Shakespeare describes it : 

. . . . but a walking shadow a poor player, 
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, 
And then is heard no more. It is a tale 
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 
Signifying nothing. 

Nothing in its separate parts, yet of the greatest importance in its 
collectivity or series of lives. In any case, almost every individual life 
is, in its full development, a sorrow. And are we to believe that poor, 
helpless man, after being tossed about like a piece of rotten timber on 
the angry billows of life, is, if he proves too weak to resist them, to be 
punished by a sempiternity of damnation, or even a temporary punish- 
ment? Never! Whether a great or an average sinner, good or bad, 
guilty or innocent, once delivered of the burden of physical life, the 

* It is on this transgression that the cruel and illogical dogma of the "fallen angels" has been 
built, which is explained in the secotid volume of The Secret Doctrine. All our Egos are thinking 
and rational entities (mdnasa-putras) who had lived, whether under human or other forms, in the 
precedent life-cycle (manvantara), and whose Karma it was to incarnate in the man of this one. It 
was taught in the Mysteries that, having delayed in complying with this law (or having "refused to 
create" as Hinduism says of the kumdras and Christian legend of the archangel Michael), i.e., having 
failed to incarnate in due time, the bodies predestined for them became denied. Hence the original 
sin of the senseless forms and the punishment of the Egos. What is meant by the rebellious angels 
being hurled down into hell is simply explained by these pure spirits or Egos being imprisoned in 
bodies of unclean matter, flesh. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 95 

tired and worn-out maim, or "thinking Ego," has won the right to a 
period of absolute rest and bliss. The same unerringly wise and just, 
rather than merciful, Law, which inflicts upon the incarnated Ego the 
karmic punishment for every sin committed during the preceding life 
on earth, has provided for the now disembodied entity a long lease of 
mental rest, and the entire oblivion of every sad event, aye, to the 
smallest painful thought, that took place in its last life as a personality, 
leaving in the soul-memory nothing but the reminiscence of that which 
was bliss, or which led to happiness. Plotinus, who said that our body 
was the true river of Lethe, for "souls plunged into it forget all," 
meant more than he said. For, as our terrestrial body on earth is like 
Lethe, so is our celestial body in Devachan, and much more. 

Enq. Then am I to understand that the murderer, the transgressor of 
law divine and human in every shape, is allowed to go unpunished? 

Theo. Who ever said that? Our philosophy has a doctrine of 
punishment as stern as that of the most rigid Calvinist, only far more 
philosophical and consistent with absolute justice. No deed, no sinful 
thought even, will go unpunished. In fact the latter are even more 
severely punished than the former, as a thought is far more potent in 
creating evil results than deeds.-' 1 We believe in an unerring law of 
retribution, called Karma, which asserts itself in a natural concatena- 
tion of causes and their unavoidable results. 

Enq. And how, or where, does it act? 

Theo. Every labourer is worthy of his hire, saith Wisdom in the 
Gospel; every action, good or bad, is a prolific parent, saith the Wisdom 
of the Ages. Put the two together, and you will find the "why." 
After allowing the soul, when escaped from the pangs of personal life, 
a sufficient, aye, a hundredfold compensation, Karma, with its army of 
skandhas, waits at the threshold of Devachan, whence the Ego re- 
emerges to assume a new incarnation. It is at this moment that the 
future destiny of the now rested Ego trembles in the scales of just 
retribution, as it now falls once again under the sway of active karmic 
law. It is in this rebirth which is ready for it, a rebirth selected and 
prepared by this mysterious, inexorable but, in the equity and wisdom 
of its decrees, infallible Law, that the sins of the previous life of the 
Ego are punished. Only it is into no imaginary hell, with theatrical 

*"But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed 
adultery with her already in his heart." {Matt., v. 28.) 



96 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

flames and ridiculous tailed and horned devils, that the Ego is cast, but 
verily on to this earth, the plane and region of his sins, where he will 
have to atone for every bad thought and deed. As he has sown, so will 
he reap. Reincarnation will gather round him all those other Egos 
who have suffered, whether directly or indirectly, at the hands, or 
even through the unconscious instrumentality, of the past personality. 
They will be thrown by Nemesis in the way of the new man, concealing 
the old, the eternal Ego, and .... 

Enq. But where is the equity you speak of, since these new personalities 
are not aivare of having sinned or been sinned against? 

Theo. Has the coat torn to shreds from the back of the man who 
stole it, by another man who was robbed of it and recognizes his 
property, to be regarded as fairly dealt with? The new personality is 
no better than a fresh suit of clothes with its specific characteristics, 
colour, form and qualities; but the real man who wears it is the same 
culprit as of old. It is the individuality which suffers through its 
personality. And it is this, and this alone, that can account for the 
terrible seeming injustice in the distribution of lots in life to man. 
When your modern philosophers will have succeeded in showing us 
good reason why so many apparently innocent and good men are born 
only to suffer during a whole lifetime; why so many are born poor unto 
starvation in the slums of great cities, abandoned by fate and men; 
why, while these are born in the gutter, others open their eyes to the 
light in palaces ; why a noble birth and fortune seem often given to the 
worst of men and only rarely to the worthy; why there are beggars 
whose imier selves are peers to the highest and noblest of men ; when 
this, and much more, is satisfactorily explained by either your philo- 
sophers or theologians, then only, but not till then, you will have the 
right to reject the theory of reincarnation. The highest and grandest 
poets have dimly perceived this truth of truths. Shelley believed in it, 
Shakespeare must have thought of it when writing on the worthless- 
ness of birth. Remember his words: 

Why should my birth keep down my mounting spirit? 

Are not all creatures subject unto time? 

There's legions now of beggars on the earth, 

That their original did spring from kings, 

And many monarchs now, whose fathers were 

The riff-raff of their age. 

Alter the word "fathers" into Egos and you will have the truth. 



IX. 

ON KAMA LOKA AND DEVACHAN. 



ON THE FATE OF THE LOWER PRINCIPLES. 

Enq. Yott spoke of Kama Loka, what is it? 

Theo. When the man dies, his three lower principles leave him for 
ever; i.e., body, life, and the vehicle of the latter, the astral body or 
the double of the living man. And then, his four principles the 
central or middle principle (the animal soul or Kama Rupa), with what 
it has assimilated from, the lower Manas, and the higher triad find 
themselves in Kama Loka. The latter is an astral locality, the limbtts of 
scholastic theology, the hades of the ancients, and, strictly speaking, a 
locality only in a relative sense. It has neither a definite area nor 
boundary, but exists within subjective space; i.e., is beyond our 
sensuous perceptions. Still it exists, and it is there that the astral 
eidolons of all the beings that have lived, animals included, await their 
"second death." For the animals it comes with the disintegration and 
the entire fading out of their astral particles to the last. For the 
human eidolon it begins when the atma-buddhi-manasic triad is said 
to "separate" itself from its lower principles, or the reflection of the 
ex-personality, by falling into the devachanic state. 

Enq. A fid what happens after this? 

Theo. Then the kama-rupic phantom, remaining bereft of its in- 
forming thinking principle, the higher Manas, and the lower aspect of 
the latter, the animal intelligence, no longer receiving light from the 
higher mind, and no longer having a physical brain to work through, 
collapses. 

Enq. In what way ? 

Theo. Well, it falls into the state of the frog when certain portions 
of its brain are taken out by the vivisector. It can think no more, 



98 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

even on the lowest animal plane. Henceforth it is no longer even the 
lower Manas, since this "lower" is nothing without the "higher." 

Enq. And is it this nonentity which we find materializing in seance- 
rooms with mediums? 

Theo. It is this nonentity. A true nonentity, however, only as to 
reasoning or cogitating powers, still an entity, however astral and 
fluidic. This is shown in certain cases when this entity, being magneti- 
cally and unconsciously drawn toward a medium, is revived for a time 
and lives in him by proxy, so to speak. This "spook," or the Kama 
Rupa, may be compared with the jelly-fish, which has an ethereal 
gelatinous appearance so long as it is in its own element, or water (the 
medium's specific aura); no sooner is it thrown out of the water, how- 
ever, than it dissolves in the hand or on the sand, especially in sun- 
light. In the medium's aura, it lives a kind of vicarious life, and 
reasons and speaks either through the medium's brain or those of 
other persons present. But this would lead us too far, and upon other 
people's grounds, whereon I have no desire to trespass. Let us keep 
to the subject of reincarnation. 

Enq. What of the latter? How long does the incarnating Ego remain 
in the devachanic state? 

Theo. This, we are taught, depends on the degree of spirituality 
and the merit or demerit of the last incarnation. The average time is 
from ten to fifteen centuries, as I have already told you. 

Enq. But tvhy could not this Ego manifest and communicate with 
mortals as Spiritualists will have it ? What is there to prevent a mother 
from communicating with the children she left on earth, a husband with his 
wife, and so on ? It is a most consoling belief I must confess ; nor do I 
wonder that those who believe in it are so averse to give it up. 

Theo. Nor are they forced to, unless they happen to prefer truth 
to fiction, however "consoling." Uncongenial our doctrines may be 
to Spiritualists; yet, nothing of what we believe in and teach is half as 
selfish and cruel as what they preach. 

Enq. / do not understand you. What is selfish ? 

Theo. Their doctrine of the return of spirits, the real "personali- 
ties" as the} 7 " say; and I will tell you why. If Devachan call it 
"paradise" if you like, a "place of bliss and of supreme felicity," if it 
is anything is such a place, or say state, logic tells us that no sorrow 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 99 

nor even a shade of pain can be experienced therein. "God shall wipe 
away all the tears" from the eyes of those in paradise, we read in the 
book of many promises. And if the "spirits of the dead" are able to 
return and see all that is going on on earth, and especially in their 
homes, what kind of bliss can be in store for them? 

WHY THEOSOPHISTS DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE RETURN OF 
PURE ''SPIRITS." 

Enq. What do you mean ? Why should this interfere with their bliss ? 

Theo. It is quite simple; let us take an instance. A mother dies, 
leaving behind her little helpless children, whom she adores, perhaps 
a beloved husband also. We say that her spirit or Ego that indi- 
viduality which is now wholly impregnated, for the entire devachanic 
period, with the noblest feelings held by its late personality, with love 
for her children, pity for those who suffer, and so on is now entirely 
separated from the "vale of tears," that its future bliss consists in the 
blessed ignorance of all the woes it left behind. Spiritualists, on the 
contrary, say that it is as vividly aware of them, and more so than before, 
for "spirits see more than mortals in the flesh do." We say that the 
bliss of the Devachani consists in its complete conviction that it has 
never left the earth, and that there is no such thing as death at all; 
that the post mortem spiritual consciousness of the mother will cause 
her to think that she lives surrounded by her children and all those 
whom she loved; that no gap, no link, will be missing to make her 
disembodied state the most perfect and absolute happiness. The 
Spiritualists deny this point blank. According to their doctrine, un- 
fortunate man is not liberated even by death from the sorrows of this 
life. Nol a drop from the life-cup of pain and suffering will miss his 
lips ; and nolens volens, since he sees everything then, shall he drink it 
to the bitter dregs. Thus, the loving wife, who during her lifetime 
was ready to save her husband sorrow at the price of her heart's blood, 
is now doomed to see, in utter helplessness, his despair, and to register 
every hot tear he sheds for her loss. Worse than that, she may see the 
tears dry too soon, and another beloved face smile on him, the father 
of her children; find another woman replacing her in his affections; 
doomed to hear her children give the holy name of "mother" to one 
indifferent to them, and to see those little ones neglected, if not ill- 
treated. According to this doctrine, the "gentle wafting to immortal 
life" becomes the way into a new path of mental suffering without any 



IOO THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

transition. And yet, the columns of the Banner of Light, the veteran 
journal of the American Spiritualists, are filled with messages from the 
dead, the "dear departed ones," who all write to say how very happy 
they are! Is such a state of knowledge consistent with bliss? Then 
"bliss" stands in such a case for the greatest curse, and orthodox 
damnation must be a relief in comparison to it! 

Enq. But how does your theory avoid this ? How can you reconcile the 
theory of the soul's omniscience with its blindness to that which is taking 
place on earth ? 

Theo. Because such is the law of love and mercy. During every 
devachanic period the Ego, omniscient as it is per se, clothes itself, so 
to say, with the reflection of the personality that was. I have just told 
you that the ideal efflorescence of all the abstract, and therefore un- 
dying and eternal qualities or attributes such as love and mercy, the 
love of the good, the true and the beautiful which ever spoke in the 
heart of the living personality, after death, cling to the Ego, and there- 
fore follow it into Devachau. For the time being, then, the Ego 
becomes the ideal reflection of the human being it was when last on 
earth, and that is not omniscient. Were it that, it would never be in 
the state we call Devachan at all. 

Enq. What are your reasons for it ? 

Theo. If you want an answer on the strict lines of our philosophy, 
then I would say that it is because everything is "illusion" (may a) 
outside of eternal truth, which has neither form, colour, nor limitation. 
He who has placed himself beyond the veil of mdyd and such are the 
highest Adepts and Initiates can have no Devachan. As to the 
ordinary mortal, his bliss in Devachan is complete. It is an absolute 
oblivion of all that gave it pain or sorrow in the past incarnation, and 
even oblivion of the fact that such things as pain or sorrow exist at all. 
The Devachani lives its intermediate cycle between two incarnations 
surrounded by everything it had aspired to in vain, and in the com- 
panionship of everyone it loved on earth. It has reached the fulfil- 
ment of all its soul-yearnings. And thus it lives throughout long 
centuries an existence of unalloyed happiness, which is the reward for 
its sufferings in earth-life. In short, it bathes in a sea of uninterrupted 
felicity spanned only by events of still greater felicity in degree. 

Enq. But this is more than simple delusion, it is an existence of insane 
hallucinations I 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. IOI 

Theo. From your standpoint it may be; not so from that of philo- 
sophy. Besides, is not our whole terrestrial life filled with such de- 
lusions? Have you never met men and women living for years in a 
fool's paradise? And because you should happen to learn that the 
husband, whom a wife adores and believes herself loved in turn by 
him, is untrue to her, would you go and break her heart and beautiful 
dream by rudely awakening her to the reality? I think not. I say it 
again, such oblivion and hallucination, if you call it so, are only a 
merciful law of nature and strict justice. At any rate, it is a far more 
fascinating prospect than the orthodox golden harp with a pair of 
wings. The assurance that "the soul that lives ascends frequently and 
runs familiarly through the streets of the Heavenly Jerusalem, visiting 
the patriarchs and prophets, saluting the apostles, and admiring the 
army of martyrs" may seem of a more pious character to some. 
Nevertheless, it is a hallucination of a far more delusive character, 
since mothers love their children with an immortal love, we all know, 
while the personages mentioned in the "Heavenly Jerusalem" are still 
of a rather doubtful nature. But I would, still, rather accept the 
"New Jerusalem," with its streets paved like the show-windows of a 
jeweller's shop, than find consolation in the heartless doctrine of the 
Spiritualists. The idea alone that the intellectual conscious souls of one's 
father, mother, daughter or brother find their bliss in a "Summer- 
land" only a little more natural, but just as ridiculous as the "New 
Jerusalem" in its description would be enough to make one lose every 
respect for one's "departed ones." To believe that a pure spirit can 
feel happy while doomed to witness the sins, mistakes, treachery, and, 
above all, the sufferings of those from whom it is severed by death and 
whom it loves best, without being able to help them, would be a 
maddening thought. 

Enq. There is something in your argument. I confess to having never 
seen it in this light. 

Theo. Just so, and one must be selfish to the core and utterly 
devoid of the sense of retributive justice, to have ever imagined such 
a thing. We are with those whom we have lost in material form, and 
far, far nearer to them now, than when they were alive. And it is not 
only in the fancy of the Devachani, as some may imagine, but in 
reality. For pure divine love is not merely the blossom of a human 
heart, but has its roots in eternity. Spiritual holy love is immortal, 
and Karma sooner or later brings all those who loved each other with 



102 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

such a spiritual affection to incarnate once more in the same family 
group. Again we say that love beyond the grave, illusion though you 
may call it, has a magic and divine potency which reacts on the living. 
A mother's Ego filled with love for the imaginary children it sees near 
itself, living a life of happiness, as real to it as when on earth, will ever 
cause that love to be felt by the children in flesh. It will manifest in 
their dreams, and often in various events in "providential" pro- 
tections and escapes, for love is a strong shield, and is not limited by 
space or time. As with this devachanic "mother," so with the rest of 
human relationships and attachments, save the purely selfish or material. 
Analogy will suggest to you the rest. 

Knq. In no case, then, do you admit the possibility of the communication 
of the living with the disembodied spirit? 

Theo. Yes; there are even two exceptions to the rule. The first 
case is during the few days that immediately follow the death of a 
person and before the Ego passes into the devachanic state. But 
whether any living mortal has derived miich benefit from the return of 
the spirit into the objective plane is another question. Perhaps it may 
be so in a few exceptional cases, when the intensity of the desire in the 
dying person to return for some purpose forced the higher conscious- 
ness to remain awake, and therefore it was really the individuality, the 
"spirit" that communicated. But in general the spirit is dazed after 
death and falls very soon into what we call " pre-devachanic uncon- 
sciousness." The second exception is found in the nirmanakayas. 

Enq. What of them ? What does the name signify for you ? 

Theo. It is the name given to those who, though they have won the 
right to Nirvana and cyclic Rest,* yet out of pity for mankind and 
those they have left on earth, renounce this Nirvanic state. Such an 
adept, or saint, or whatever you may call him, believing it a selfish 
act to rest in bliss while mankind groans under the burden of misery 
produced by ignorance, renounces Nirvana, and determines to remain 
invisible in spirit on this earth. Nirmanakayas have no material body, 
for they have left it behind ; but otherwise they remain with all their 
principles even in astral life in our sphere. And such can and do com- 
municate with a few elect ones, but surely not with ordinary mediums. 

* Not Devachan, as the latter is an illusion of our consciousness, a happy dream, and as those who 
are fit for Nirvana must have lost entirely every desire or possibility of desire for the world's 
illusions. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 103 

Enq. / have put you the question about nirmanakayas because I read 
in some German a?id other works that it was the name give?i in Northern 
Buddhistic teachings to the terrestrial appearances or bodies assumed by 
Buddhas. 

Theo. This is so, only the Orientalists have confused this " terres- 
trial" body by understanding it to be objective and physical instead of 
purely astral and subjective. 

Enq. And what good can these nirmanakayas do on earth? 

Theo. Not much, as regards individuals, as they have no right 
to interfere with Karma, and can only advise and inspire mortals for 
the general good. Yet they do more beneficent actions than you 
imagine. 

Enq. To this science would never subscribe, not even modern psychology. 
For science and psychology, no portion of intelligence can survive the physi- 
cal brain. What would you answer to this ? 

Theo. I would not even go to the trouble of answering, but would 
simply say, in the words given to "M.A. Oxou": 

Intelligence is perpetuated after the body is dead. Though it is not a question of 
the brain only. . . . It is reasonable to propound the indestructibility of the 
human spirit from what we know.* 

~ExQ.But "M.A. Oxon" is a Spiritualist? 

Theo. Quite so, and the only true Spiritualist I know of, though we 
may still disagree with him on many a minor question. Apart from 
this, no Spiritualist comes nearer to the occult truths than he does. 
Like any one of us he speaks incessantly "of the surface dangers that 
beset the ill-equipped, feather-headed muddler with the occult, who 
crosses the threshold without counting the cost." f Our only disagree- 
ment rests in the question of "spirit identity." Otherwise, I, for one, 
almost entirely agree with him, and accept the three propositions he 
embodied in his address of July, 1884. It is this eminent Spiritualist, 
rather, who disagrees with us, not we with him. 

Enq. What were these propositions? 

Theo. They are as follows: 

1. That there is a life coincident with, and independent of the physical life 
of the body. 

* Spirit Identity, p. 69. t "Some things that I do know of Spiritualism and some that I do not." 



104 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

2. That, as a necessary corollary, this life extends beyond the life of the 
body. [We say it extends throughout Devachan.] 

3. That there is communication between the denizens of that state of exist- 
ence and those of the world in which we now live. 

All depends, you see, on the minor and secondary aspects of these 
fundamental propositions. Everything depends on the views we take 
of spirit and soul, or individuality and personality. Spiritualists con- 
fuse the two "into one"; we separate them, and say that, with the 
exceptions above enumerated, no spirit will revisit the earth, though 
the animal soul may. But let us return once more to our direct sub- 
ject, the skandhas. 

Enq. / begin to understand better now. It is the spirit, so to say, of 
those skandhas that are the most e?mobling, which, attaching itself to the 
incarnating Ego, survives, and is added to the stock of its angelic experi- 
ences. And it is the attributes connected with the material skandhas, with 
selfish and personal motives, which, disappearing from the field of action 
between two incarnations, ?'cdppear at the subsequent incarnation as karmic 
results to be atoned for ; and therefore the spirit ivill not leave Devachan. 
Is it so ? 

Theo. Very nearly so. If you add to this that the law of retribu- 
tion, or Karma, rewarding the highest and most spiritual attributes in 
Devachan, never fails to reward them again on earth by giving them a 
further development, and by furnishing the Ego with a body fitted for 
it then you will be quite correct. 

A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE SKANDHAS. 

Enq. What becomes of the other, the lower skandhas of the personality, 
after the death of the body? Are they quite destroyed? 

Theo. They are and yet they are not a fresh metaphysical and 
occult mystery for you. They are destroyed as the working stock in 
hand of the personality; they remain as karmic effects, as germs, hanging 
in the atmosphere of the terrestrial plane, ready to come to life, as so 
many avenging fiends, to attach themselves to the new personality of 
the Ego when it reincarnates. 

Enq. This really passes my comprehension, and is very difficult to 
iinderstand. 

Theo. Not once that you have assimilated all the details. For then 
you will see that for logic, consistency, profound philosophy, divine 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 105 

mercy and equity, this doctrine of reincarnation has not its equal on 
earth. It is a belief in a perpetual progress for each incarnating Ego, 
or divine soul, in an evolution from the outward into the inward, from 
the material to the spiritual, arriving at the end of each stage at abso- 
lute unity with the divine principle. From strength to strength, from 
the beauty and perfection of one plane to the greater beauty and per- 
fection of another, with accessions of new glory, of fresh knowledge 
and power in each cycle, such is the destiny of every Ego, which thus 
becomes its own saviour in each world and incarnation. 

Enq. But Christianity teaches the same. It also preaches progression. 

ThEO. Yes, only with the addition of something else. It tells us of 
the impossibility of attaining salvation without the aid of a miraculous 
saviour, and moreover dooms to perdition all those who will not accept 
the dogma. This is just the difference between Christian theology and 
Theosophy. The former enforces belief in the descent of the spiritual 
Ego into the lower self; the latter inculcates the necessity of endeavour- 
ing to elevate oneself to the Christos, or Buddhi state. 

Enq. By teaching the annihilation of consciousness in case of failure, 
however, do you not think that this amounts to the annihilation of self, in 
the opinion of the non-metaphysical? 

Theo. From the standpoint of those who believe in the resurrection 
of the body literally, and insist that every bone, every artery and atom 
of flesh will be raised bodily on the Judgment Day of course it does. 
If you still insist that it is the perishable form and finite qualities that 
make up immortal man, then we shall hardly understand each other. 
And if you do not understand that, by limiting the existence of every 
Ego to one life on earth, you make of Deity an ever-drunken Indra of 
the Pauranic dead-letter, a cruel Moloch, a god who makes an inex- 
tricable mess on earth, and yet claims thanks for it, then the sooner we 
drop the conversation the better. 

Enq. But let us return, now that the subject of the skandhas is disposed 
of to the question of the consciousness which survives death. This is the 
point which interests most people. Do we possess more knowledge hi Deva- 
chan than we do in earth- life? 

Theo. In one sense, we can acquire more knowledge; that is, we 
can develop further any faculty which we loved and strove after during 
life, provided it is concerned with abstract and ideal things, such as 



106 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

music, painting, poetry, etc., since Devachan is merely an idealized 
and subjective continuation of earth-life. 

Enq. But if in Devachan the spirit is free from matter, why should it 
not possess all knowledge? 

Theo. Because, as I told you, the Ego is, so to say, wedded to the 
memory of its last incarnation. Thus, if you think over what I have 
said, and string all the facts together, you will realize that the deva- 
chanic state is not one of omniscience, but a transcendental continua- 
tion of the personal life just terminated. It is the rest of the soul from 
the toils of life. 

Enq. But the scientific materialists assert that after the death of ma?i 
nothing remains; that the huma?i body simply disintegrates into its com- 
ponent elements; and that what we call soul is merely a temporary self- 
consciousness produced as a bye-product of organic action, which will 
evaporate like steam. Is not theirs a strange state of mind? 

Theo. Not at all strange, as far as I see. If they say that self- 
consciousness ceases with the body, then in their case they simply 
utter an unconscious prophecy, for once they are firmly convinced of 
what they assert, no conscious after-life is possible for them. For there 
are exceptions to every rule. 

ON POST MORTEM AND POST NATAL CONSCIOUSNESS* 

Enq. But if human self-consciousness survives death as a rtde, why 
should there be exceptions ? 

Theo. In the fundamental principles of the spiritual world no 
exception is possible. But there are rules for those who see, and 
rules for those who prefer to remain blind. 

Enq. Quite so, I understand. This is but an aberration of the blind 
man, who denies the existence of the sun because he does not see it. But 
after death his spiritual eyes will certainly compel him to see. Is this what 
yoii mea?i ? 

Theo. He will not be compelled, nor will he see anything. Having 
persistently during life denied the continuance of existence after death, 
he will be unable to see it, because his spiritual capacity having been 

* A few portions of this chapter and of the preceding- were published in Lucifer in the shape of a 
"Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life," in the January number, 1889. The article was un- 
signed, as if it were written by the editor, but it came from the pen of the author of the present 
volume. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 107 

stunted in life cannot develop after death, and he will remain blind. 
By insisting that he must see it, you evidently mean one thing and I 
another. You speak of the spirit from the Spirit, or the flame from the 
Flame of Atma, in short and you confuse it with the human soul 
Manas. . . . You do not understand me; let me try to make it 
clear. The whole gist of your question is to know whether, in the case 
of a downright materialist, the complete loss of self-consciousness and 
self-perception after death is possible? Is it not so? I answer: It is 
possible. Believing firmly in our Esoteric Doctrine which refers to 
the post mortem period, or the interval between two lives or births, as 
merely a transitory state I say, that whether that post mortetn interval 
between two acts of the illusionary drama of life lasts one year or a 
million, it may, without any breach of the fundamental law, prove to 
be just the same state as that of a man in a dead faint. 

Enq. But since you have just said that the fundamental laws of the 
after-death state admit of no exceptions, how can this be? 

Theo. Nor do I say now that it does admit of an exception. But 
the spiritual law of continuity applies only to things which are truly 
real. To one who has read and understood Mundaka Upanishad and 
Vedanta Sara all this becomes very clear. I will say more: it is suffi- 
cient only to understand what we mean by Buddhi and the duality of 
Manas to gain a clear perception why the materialist may fail to have 
a self-conscious survival after death. Since Manas, in its lower aspect, 
is the seat of the terrestrial mind, it can, therefore, give only that per- 
ception of the universe which is based on the evidence of that mind; 
it cannot give spiritual vision. It is said in the Eastern school, that 
between Buddhi and Manas, the Ego, or Ishvara and Prajna,* there is 
in reality no more difference than between a forest and its trees, a lake 
and its waters, as the Mundaka teaches. One or a hundred of trees 
dead from loss of vitality, or uprooted, are yet incapable of preventing 
the forest from being still a forest. 

Enq. But, as I understand it, Buddhi represents in this simile the 
forest, and Manas- Taijasa] the trees. And if Buddhi is immortal, how 

* Ishvara is the collective consciousness of the manifested deity, Brahma, i.e., the collective con- 
sciousness of the Host of Dhyan Chohans of The Secret Doctrine ; and Prajna is their individual 
wisdom. 

t Taijasa means the radiant in consequence of its union with Buddhi ; i.e., Manas, the human soul, 
illuminated by the radiance of the divine soul. Therefore, Manas-'faijasa may be described as 
radiant mind; the human reason lit by the light of the spirit; and Buddhi-Manas is the revelation of 
the diviiu plus human intellect and self-consciousness. 



108 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

can that which is similar to it, i.e., Manas- Taij'asa, entirely lose its con- 
sciousness till the day of its new incarnation ? I cannot understand it. 

Theo. You cannot, because you will mix up an abstract representa- 
tion of the whole with its casual changes of form. Remember that if 
it can be said of Buddhi-Manas that it is unconditionally immortal, the 
same cannot be said of the lower Manas, still less of Taijasa, which is 
merely an attribute. Neither of these, neither Manas nor Taijasa, can 
exist apart from Buddhi, the divine soul, because the first (Manas) is, 
in its lower aspect, a qualificative attribute of the terrestrial personality, 
and the second (Taijasa) is identical with the first, because it is the 
same Manas only with the light of Buddhi reflected in it. In its turn, 
Buddhi would remain only an impersonal spirit without this element 
which it borrows from the human soul, which conditions and makes of it, 
in this illusive universe, as it were something separate from the universal 
soul for the whole period of the cycle of incarnation. Say rather that 
Buddhi-Manas can neither die nor lose its united self-consciousness in 
Eternity, nor the recollection of the previous incarnations in which the 
two i.e., the spiritual and the human soul had been closely linked 
together. But it is not so in the case of a materialist, whose human 
soul not only receives nothing from the divine soul, but even refuses to 
recognize its existence. You can hardly apply this axiom to the attri- 
butes and qualifications of the human soul, for it would be like saying 
that because your divine soul is immortal, therefore the bloom on your 
cheek must also be immortal; whereas this bloom, like Taijasa, is 
simply a transitory phenomenon. 

Enq. Do I understand you to say that we must not confuse in our minds 
the 7ioumenon with the phenomenon, the cause with its effect? 

Theo. I do say so, and repeat that, limited to Manas or the human 
soul alone, the radiance of Taijasa itself becomes a mere question of 
time ; because both immortality and consciousness after death become, 
for the terrestrial personality of man, simply conditioned attributes, as 
they depend entirely on conditions and beliefs created by the human 
soul itself during the life of its body. Karma acts incessantly : we reap 
in our after-life only the fruit of that which we have ourselves sown in 
this. 

Enq. But if my Ego can, after the destruction of my body, become 
plunged in a state of entire unconsciousness, then where can be the punish- 
ment for the sins of my past life? 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. IO9 

Theo. Our philosophy teaches that karmic punishment reaches the 
Ego only in its next incarnation. After death it receives only the 
reward for the unmerited sufferings endured during its past incarna- 
tion.* The whole punishment after death, even for the materialist, 
consists, therefore, in the absence of any reward, and the utter loss of 
the consciousness of one's bliss and rest. Karma is the child of the 
terrestrial Ego, the fruit of the actions of the tree which is the objective 
personality visible to all, as much as the fruit of all the thoughts and 
even motives of the spiritual "I" ; but Karma is also the tender mother, 
who heals the wounds inflicted by her during the preceding life, before 
she begins to torture the Ego by inflicting new wounds. If it may be 
said that there is not a mental or physical suffering in the life of a 
mortal which is not the direct fruit and consequence of some sin in a 
preceding existence; on the other hand, since the man does not preserve 
the slightest recollection of it in his actual life, feels himself not de- 
serving of such punishment, and therefore thinks he suffers for no 
guilt of his own, he is thus sufficiently entitled to the fullest consola- 
tion, rest, and bliss in his post mortem existence. Death ever comes to 
our spiritual selves as a deliverer and friend. For the materialist, who, 
notwithstanding his materialism, was not a bad man, the interval 
between the two lives will be like the unbroken and placid sleep of a 
child, either entirely dreamless, or filled with pictures of which he will 
have no definite perception ; while for the average mortal it will be a 
dream as vivid as life, and full of realistic bliss and visions. 

Enq. Then the personal man must always go on suffering blindly the 
karmic penalties which the Ego has incurred? 

Theo. Not quite so. At the solemn moment of death every man, 
even when death is sudden, sees the whole of his past life marshalled 
before him, in its minutest details. For one short instant the personal 
becomes one with the individual and all-knowing Ego. But this 
instant is enough to show him the whole chain of causes which have 
been at work during his life. He sees and now understands himself as 
he is, unadorned by flattery or self-deception. He reads his life, re- 

* Some Theosophists have taken exception to this phrase, but the words are those of Master, and 
the meaning attached to the word " unmerited " is that given above. In the Theosophical Sif tings, 
Vol. I. No. 6, a phrase, criticized subsequently in Lucifer, was used which was intended to convey the 
same idea. In form, however, it was awkward and open to the criticism directed against it; but the 
essential idea was that men often suffer from the effects of the actions done by others, effects which 
thus do not strictly belong to their own Karma and for these sufferings they of course deserve 
compensation. 



IIO THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

maining as a spectator looking down into the arena he is quitting; he 
feels and knows the justice of all the suffering that has overtaken him. 

Enq.- Does this happen to everyone? 

Theo. Without any exception. Very good and holy men see, we 
are taught, not only the life they are leaving, but even several pre- 
ceding lives in which were produced the causes that made them what 
they were in the life just closing. They recognize the law of Karma 
in all its majesty and justice. 

Enq. Is there anything corresponding to this before re-birth ? 

Theo. There is. As the man at the moment of death has a retro- 
spective insight into the life he has led, so, at the moment he is reborn 
on to earth, the Ego, awaking from the state of Devachan, has a 
prospective vision of the life which awaits him, and realizes all the 
causes that have led to it. He realizes them, and sees futurity, because 
it is between Devachan and re-birth that the Ego regains his full 
manasic consciousness, and rebecomes for a short time the god he was, 
before, in compliance with karmic law, he first descended into matter 
and incarnated in the first man of flesh. The "golden thread" sees all 
its "pearls" and misses not one of them. 

WHAT IS REALLY MEANT BY ANNIHILATION. 
Enq. / have heard some Theosophists speak of a golden thread on which 
their lives were strung. What do they mean by this? 

Theo. In the Hindu sacred books it is said that that which under- 
goes periodical incarnation is the sitirdtmd, which means literally the 
"thread soul." It is a synonym of the reincarnating Ego Manas con- 
joined with Buddhi which absorbs the manasic recollections of all 
our preceding lives. It is so called, because, like the pearls on a thread, 
so is the long series of human lives strung together on that one thread. 
In one of the Upanishads these recurrent re-births are likened to the 
life of a mortal which oscillates periodically between sleep and waking. 

Enq. This, I must say, does not seem very clear, and I will tell you 
why. For the man who awakes, another day continences, but he is the same 
in soul and body as he was the day before ; whereas at every i?icamation a 
full change takes place not only of the external envelope, sex, and personality, 
but even of the mental and psychic capacities. The simile does not seem to 
me quite correct. The man who arises from sleep remembers quite clearly 
what he has done yesterday, the day before, and even months and years ago. 
But none oftis has the slightest recollection of a preceding life or of any fact 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. Ill 

or event concerning it. I may forget in the morning what I have dreamed 
during the night, still I knotv that I have slept and have the certainty that 
I lived during sleep ; but what rccollcctio7i can I have of my past incarnation 
until the moment of death ? How do you reconcile this ? 

Theo. Some people do recollect their past incarnations during life ; 
but these are Buddhas and Initiates. This is what the Yogis call samma- 
sambziddha, or the knowledge of the whole series of one's past incarnations. 

Enq. But we ordinary mortals who have not reached samma-sam- 
buddha, how a?'e we to understand this simile? 

Theo. By studying it and trying to understand more correctly the 
three kinds and characteristics of sleep. Sleep is a general and immu- 
table law for man as for beast, but there are different kinds of sleep and 
still more different dreams and visions. 

Enq. But this takes us to another subject. Let us return to the materi- 
alist who, though not denying dreams for he could hardly do so yet denies 
immortality in general and the survival of his own individuality. 

Theo. And the materialist, without knowing it, is right. In one 
who has no inner perception of, and faith in, the immortality of his soul, 
that soul can never become Buddhi-Taijasa, but will remain simply 
Manas, and for Manas alone there is no immortality possible. In order 
to live a conscious life in the world to come, one has first of all to 
believe in that life during terrestrial existence. On these two aphor- 
isms of the Secret Science all the philosophy as to post mortem con- 
sciousness and the immortality of the soul is built. The Ego receives 
always according to its deserts. After the dissolution of the body, 
there commences for it a period of full awakened consciousness, or a 
state of chaotic dreams, or an utterly dreamless sleep undistinguishable 
from annihilation, and these are the three kinds of sleep. If our 
physiologists find the cause of dreams and visions in an unconscious 
preparation for them during the waking hours, why cannot the same 
be admitted for the post mortem dreams? I repeat it: death is sleep. 
After death, before the spiritual eyes of the soul, begins a performance 
according to a programme learned and very often unconsciously com- 
posed by ourselves : the practical carrying out of correct beliefs or of 
illusions which have been created by ourselves. The Methodist will be 
Methodist, the Mussulman a Mussulman, at least for some time in a 
perfect fool's paradise of each man's creation and making. These are 
the post mortem fruits of the tree of life. Naturally, our belief or un- 



112 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

belief in the fact of conscious immortality is unable to influence the 
unconditioned reality of the fact itself, once that it exists ; but the belief 
or unbelief in that immortality as the property of independent or 
separate entities, cannot fail to give colour to that fact in its applica- 
tion to each of these entities. Now do you begin to understand it? 

Enq. I think I do. The materialists, disbelievi?ig in everything that 
cannot be proven to them by their five se?ises, or by scientific reasoning, based 
exclusively on the data furnished by these senses in spite of their inadequacy, 
and rejecting every spiritual manifestation, accept life as the only co?isciotis 
existence. Therefore according to their beliefs so will it be unto them. They 
will lose their personal Ego, and will plunge into a dreamless sleep until a 
new awakening. Is it so ? 

Theo. Almost so. Remember the practically universal teaching of 
the two kinds of conscious existence the terrestrial and the spiritual. 
The latter must be considered real from the very fact that it is inhabited 
by the eternal, changeless and immortal Monad; whereas the incarnat- 
ing Ego dresses itself up in new- garments which are entirely different from 
those of its previous incarnations, and in which all except its spiritual 
prototype is doomed to a change so radical as to leave no trace behind. 

Enq. How so? Can my conscious terrestrial "I" perish not only for a 
time, like the consciousness of the materialist, but so entirely as to leave no 
trace behind? 

Theo. According to the teaching, it must so perish and in its 
entirety, all except the principle which, by uniting itself with the 
Monad, thereby becomes a purely spiritual and indestructible essence, 
one with it in the eternity. But in the case of an out-and-out material- 
ist, in whose personal "I" no Buddhi has ever reflected itself, how can 
that Buddhi carry away into the eternity one particle of that terrestrial 
personality? Your spiritual "I" is immortal; but from your present 
self it can carry away into eternity only that which has become worthy 
of immortality, namely, the simple aroma of the flower that has been 
mown down by death. 

Enq. Well, and the flower, the terrestrial '*/" ? 

Theo. The flower, as all past and future flowers which have blos- 
somed and will have to blossom on the mother bough, the sutrdimd, all 
children of one root or Buddhi will return to dust. Your present "I," 
as you yourself know, is not the body now sitting before me, nor yet is 
it what I would call Manas-Sutratma, but Sutratma-Buddhi. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 113 

Enq. But this does not explain to me, at all, why you call life after death 
immortal, infinite and real, and the terrestrial life a simple phantom or 
illusion; since even that post mortem life has limits, however much wider 
they may be than those of terrestrial life. 

Theo. No doubt. The spiritual Ego of man moves in eternity like 
a pendulum between the hours of birth and death. But if these hours, 
marking the periods of life terrestrial and life spiritual, are limited in 
their duration, and if even the very number of such stages in eternity 
between sleep and awakening, illusion and reality, is also limited, on 
the other hand, the spiritual pilgrim is eternal. And so the only reality 
in our conception is the hours of man's post mortem life, when, dis- 
embodied during the period of that pilgrimage which we call "the 
cj^cle of re-births" he stands face to face with truth and not the 
mirages of his transitory earthly existences. Such intervals, however, 
their limitation notwithstanding, do not prevent the Ego, while ever 
perfecting itself, from following undeviatingly, though gradually and 
slowly, the path to its last transformation, when, having reached its 
goal, it becomes a divine being. These intervals and stages help 
towards this final result instead of hindering it; and without such 
limited intervals the divine Ego could never reach its ultimate goal. 
I have given you once already a familiar illustration by comparing the 
Ego, or the individuality, to an actor, and its numerous and various 
incarnations to the parts it plays. Will you call these parts or their 
costumes the individuality of the actor himself? Like that actor, the 
Ego is forced, during the cycle of necessity, which continues up to the 
very threshold of parinirvdna, to play many parts which may be un- 
pleasant to it. But as the bee collects its honey from every flower, 
leaving the rest as food for the earthly worms, so does our spiritual 
individuality, whether we call it sutratmd. or Ego. Collecting from 
every terrestrial personality, into which Karma forces it to incarnate, 
the nectar alone of the spiritual qualities and self-consciousness, it 
unites all these into one whole and emerges from its chrysalis as the 
glorified Dhyan Chohan. So much the worse for those terrestrial per- 
sonalities from which it could collect nothing. Such personalities 
assuredly cannot consciously outlive their terrestrial existence. 

Enq. This, then, it seems that, for the terrestrial personality, i?nmor- 
tality is still conditional. Is, then, immortality itself 'not unconditional ? 

Theo. Not at all. But immortality cannot touch the non-existent: 

for all that which exists as sat, or emanates from sat, immortality and 

9 



114 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

eternity are absolute. Matter is the opposite pole of spirit, and yet the 
two are one. The essence of all this, i.e., spirit, force and matter, or 
the three in one, is as endless as it is beginningless; but the form 
acquired by this triple unity during its incarnations, its externality, is 
certainly only the illusion of our personal conceptions. Therefore do 
we call Nirvana and the universal life alone a reality, relegating the 
terrestrial life, its terrestrial personality included, and even its deva- 
chanic existence, to the phantom realm of illusion. 

Enq. But why in such a case call sleep the reality, and waking the 
illusion ? 

Theo. It is simply a comparison made to facilitate the grasping of 
the subject, and from the standpoint of terrestrial conceptions it is a 
very correct one. 

Enq. And still I ca?mot understand, if the life to come is based on jus- 
tice and merited retribution for all our terrestrial suffering, how in the case 
of materialists, many of whom are really honest and charitable men, there 
should remain of their personality nothing but the refuse of a faded flower. 

Theo. Such a thing was never stated. No materialist, however 
unbelieving, can die for ever in the fulness of his spiritual individuality. 
What was said is that consciousness can disappear either fully or 
partially in the case of a materialist, so that no conscious remains of 
his personality survive. 

Enq. But surely this is annihilation ? 

Theo. Certainly not. One can sleep a dead sleep and miss several 
stations during a long railway journey, without the slightest recollec- 
tion or consciousness, and awake at another station and continue the 
journey past innumerable other halting-places till the end of the 
journey or the goal is reached. Three kinds of sleep were mentioned 
to you : the dreamless, the chaotic, and the one which is so real, that 
dreams become full realities to the sleeper. If you believe in the latter 
why can you not believe in the former? According to the after life a 
man has believed in and expected, such is the life he will have. He 
who expected no life to come will have an absolute blank, amounting 
to annihilation, in the interval between the two births. This is just the 
carrying out of the programme we spoke of, a programme created by 
the materialists themselves. But there are various kinds of materialists, 
as you say. A selfish, wicked egoist, one who never shed a tear for any 
one but himself, thus adding entire indifference to the whole world to 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 115 

his unbelief, must, at the threshold of death, drop his personality for ever. 
This personality having no tendrils of sympathy for the world around and 
hence nothing to attach it to sutratma, it follows that with the last breath 
every connection between the two is broken. There being no Devachan 
for such a materialist, the sutratma will reincarnate almost immediately. 
But those materialists who erred in nothing but their disbelief will over- 
sleep but one station. And the time will come when such ex-materialists 
will perceive themselves in the eternity and perhaps repent that they lost 
even one day, one station, from the life eternal. 

Enq.. Still, would it not be more correct to say that death is birth into 
a new life, or a return once more into eternity ? 

Theo. You may if you like. Only remember that births differ, and 
that there are births of still-born beings, which are failures of nature. 
Moreover, with your fixed Western ideas about material life, the words 
"living" and "being" are quite inapplicable to the pure subjective 
state of post mortem existence. Save in a few philosophers who are not 
read by the many, and who themselves are too confused to present a 
distinct picture of it,' your Western ideas of life and death have become 
so narrow, that on the one hand they have led to crass materialism, 
and on the other, to the still more material conception of the other life, 
which the Spiritualists have formulated in their "summer-land." 
There the souls of men eat, drink, marry, and live in a paradise quite 
as sensual as that of Mohammed, and even less philosophical. Nor 
are the average conceptions of the uneducated Christians any better; 
if possible, they are still more material. What between truncated 
angels, brass trumpets, golden harps, and material hell-fires, the Chris- 
tian heaven seems like a fairy scene at a Christmas pantomime. 

It is because of these narrow conceptions that you find such difficulty 
in understanding. It is just because the life of the disembodied soul, 
while possessing all the vividness of reality, as in certain dreams, is 
devoid of every grossly objective form of terrestrial life, that the 
Eastern philosophers have compared it with visions of sleep. 

DEFINITE WORDS FOR DEFINITE THINGS. 

Enq. Do you not think that it is because there are no definite and fixed 
terms to indicate each "principle" in man, that such a confusion of ideas 
arises in our minds with respect to the respective functions of these principles ? 

Theo. I have thought of this myself. The whole trouble has arisen 
from our having begun with Sanskrit names in our expositions of, and 



Il6 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

discussion about, the "principles," instead of immediately coining, for 
the use of Theosophists, their equivalents in English. We must try 
and remedy this now. 

Enq. You will do well, as it may avoid farther conftision; no two theo- 
sophical writers, it seems to me, have hitherto agreed to call the same prin- 
ciple by the same name. 

Theo. The confusion is more apparent than real, however. I have 
heard some of our Theosophists expressing surprise, and criticizing 
several essays speaking of these principles. When examined, how- 
ever, there was no worse mistake in them than the use of the word 
"soul" to cover the three principles without specifying the distinctions. 
The first, and positively the clearest of our theosophical writers, Mr. 
A. P. Sinnett, has some comprehensive and admirably-written passages 
on the "Higher Self."* Nevertheless, his real idea has also been mis- 
conceived by some, owing to his using the word "soul" in a general 
sense. Yet here are a few passages which will show you how clear and 
comprehensive is all that he writes on the subject: 

The human soul, once launched on the streams of evolution as a human indivi- 
duality^ passes through alternate periods of physical and relatively spiritual exist- 
ence. It passes from the one plane, or stratum, or condition of nature to the 
other under the guidance of its karmic affinities; living in incarnations the life 
which its Karma has preordained; modifying its progress within the limitations of 
circumstances, and developing fresh Karma by its use or abuse of opportunities 
it returns to spiritual existence (Devachan) after each physical life through the 
intervening region of Kamaloka for rest and refreshment and for the gradual 
absorption into its essence, as so much cosmic progress, of the life's experience 
gained "on earth" or during physical existence. This view of the matter will, 
moreover, have suggested many collateral inferences to anyone thinking over the 
subject; for instance, that the transfer of consciousness from the Kamaloka to the 
devachanic stage of this progression would necessarily be gradual; % that in truth, 
no hard-and-fast line separates the varieties of spiritual conditions, that even the 
spiritual and physical planes, as psychic faculties in living people show, are not so 
hopelessly walled off from one another as materialistic theories would suggest; that 
all states of nature are all around us simultaneously, and appeal to different percep- 
tive faculties; and so on. . . . It is clear that during physical existence people 
who possess psychic faculties remain in connection with the planes of superphysical 
consciousness; and although most people may not be endowed with such faculties, 
we all, as the phenomena of sleep, even, and especially . . . those of somnam- 

* See Transactions of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, No. 7 : Oct., 1885. 

+ The reincarnating Ego, or human soul, as he called it; the "causal body" with the Vedantins. 

t The length of this "transfer" depends, however, on the degree of spirituality in the ex- 
personality of the disembodied Ego. For those whose lives were very spiritual this transfer, though 
gradual, is very rapid. The time becomes longer with the materialistically inclined. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. I17 

bulism or mesmerism, show, are capable of entering into conditions of conscious- 
ness that the five physical senses have nothing to do with. We the souls within 

us are not as it were altogether adrift in the ocean of matter. We clearly retain 

some surviving interest or rights in the shore from which, for a time, we have 
floated off. The process of incarnation, therefore, is not fully described when we 
speak of an alternate existence on the physical and spiritual planes, and thus 
picture the soul as a complete entity slipping entirely from the one state of 
existence to the other. The more correct definitions of the process would probably 
represent incarnation as taking place on this physical plane of nature by reason of 
an efflux emanating from the soul. The spiritual realm would all the while be the 
proper habitat of the soul, which would never entirely quit it; and that non- 
ma terializable portion of the soul which abides permanently on the spiritual plane 
may fitly, perhaps, be spoken of as the Higher Self. 

This "Higher Self" is Atma, and of course it is "non-niaterializ- 
able," as Mr. Sinnett says. Even more, it can never be objective 
under any circumstances, even to the highest spiritual perception. 
For Atman or the "Higher Self" is really Brahma, the Absolute, and 
indistinguishable from it. In hours of samadhi, the higher spiritual 
consciousness of the Initiate is entirely absorbed in the One Essence, 
which is Atman, and therefore, being one with the whole, there can be 
nothing objective for it. Now some of our Theosophists have got 
into the habit of using the words "Self" and "Ego" as synonymous; 
of associating the term "Self" with only man's higher individual or 
even personal "Self" or Ego, whereas this term ought never to be 
applied except to the One Universal Self. Hence the confusion. When 
speaking of Manas, the "causal body," and connecting it with the 
Buddhic radiance, we may call it the "Higher Ego," never the "Higher 
Self." For even Buddhi, the spiritual soul, is not the Self, but the 
vehicle only of Self. All the other selves such as the individual self 
and personal self ought never to be spoken or written of without their 
qualifying and characteristic adjectives. 

Thus in the above most excellent essay on the "Higher Self," the 
term is applied to the sixth principle or Buddhi of course in conjunc- 
tion with Manas, as without such union there would be no thinking 
principle or element in the spiritual soul and has in consequence 
given rise to just such misunderstandings. The statement that "a 
child does not acquire its sixth principle or become a morally re- 
sponsible being capable of generating Karma until seven years old," 
proves what is meant therein by the term "Higher Self." Therefore, 
the able author is quite justified in explaining that, after the "Higher 
Self" has passed into the human being and saturated the personality 



n8 



the; key to theosophy. 



in some of the finer organizations only with its consciousness, "people 
with psychic faculties may indeed perceive this Higher Self through 
their finer senses from time to time." But so also are those, who limit 
the term "Higher Self" to the Universal Divine Principle, "justified" 
in misunderstanding him. For, when, without being prepared for this 
shifting of metaphysical terms,* we read that while "fully manifesting 
on the physical plane . . . the Higher Self still remains a con- 
scious spiritual Ego on the corresponding plane of nature" we are 
apt to see in the "Higher Self" of this sentence Atma, and in the 
spiritual Ego Manas, or rather Buddhi-Manas, and forthwith to criti- 
cize the whole thing as incorrect. 

To avoid henceforth such misapprehensions, I propose to translate 
the occult Eastern terms into their English equivalents, and offer these 
for future use. 

Atma, the inseparable ray of the Universal and 
One Self. It is the God above, more than 
within, us. Happy the man who succeeds in 
saturating his Inner Ego with it! 
the spiritual soul or Buddhi, in close union with 
Manas, the mind-principle, without which the 
former is no Ego at all, but only the Atmic 
Vehicle. 

Manas, the "fifth" principle, so called, in- 
dependently of Buddhi. The mind-principle 
is only the Spiritual Ego when merged into 
one with Buddhi; no materialist being sup- 
posed to have in him such an Ego, however 
great his intellectual capacities. It is the 
permanent individuality or the reincarnating 
Ego. 

the physical man in conjunction with his lower 
self, i.e., animal instincts, passions, desires, etc. 
It is called the false personality, and consists of 
the lower Manas combined with Kama Rupa, 
and operating through the physical body and its 
phantom or double. 

* "Shifting of metaphysical terms" applies here only to the shifting of their translated equivalents 
from the Eastern expressions ; for to this day there have never existed any such terms in English ; 
every Theosophist having to coin his own terms to render his thought. It is high time, then, to 
settle on some definite nomenclature. 



The Higher Self is 



The Spiritual 
Divine Ego is 



The Inner, or 
Higher Ego, is 



( 



The Lower, or Per- 
sonal Ego, is 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. II9 

The remaining principle, Prana, or life, is, strictly speaking, the 
radiating force or energy of Atma as the Universal Life and the 
One Self Its lower or rather (in its effects) more physical (because 
manifesting) aspect: Prana or life permeates the whole being of the 
objective universe; and is called a principle only because it is an indis- 
pensable factor and the deus ex machina of the living man. 

Knq. This division will answer better, I believe, as it is so much simpli- 
fied in its combinatioyis. The other is much too metaphysical. 

Theo. If outsiders as well as Theosophists would agree to it, it 
would certainly make matters much more comprehensible. 



X. 

ON THE NATURE OF OUR THINKING PRINCIPLE. 



THE MYSTERY OF THE EGO. 
Enq. In the quotation you brought forward a little while ago from the 
Buddhist Catechism I perceive a discrepancy which I zcould like to hear 
explained. It is there stated that the skandhas memory included change 
with every new incarnatio?i. And yet, it is asserted that the reflection of the 
past lives, which, we are told, are entirely made up of skandhas, "must 
survive." At the present moment I am not quite clear in my mind as to 
what it is precisely that survives, and I would like to have it explained. 
What is it? Is it only that "reflection" or those skandhas, or always that 
same Ego, the Manas ? 

Theo. I have just explained that the reincarnating principle, or 
that which we call the divine man, is indestructible throughout the 
life-cycle ; indestructible as a thinking entity, and even as an ethereal 
form. The "reflection" is only the spiritualized remembrance, during 
the devachanic period, of the ex-personality Mr. A. or Mrs. B. with 
which the Ego identifies itself during that period. Since the deva- 
chanic period is but the continuation of the earth-life, so to say the 
very acme and pith, in an unbroken series, of the few happy moments 
in that now past existence the Ego has to identify itself with the 
personal consciousness of that earth-life if anything shall remain of it. 

Enq. This means that the Ego, no tzc it list abiding its divine nature, passes 
every such period between two incarnations in a state of mental obscuratio?i, 
or temporary insanity. 

Theo. You may regard it as you like. Believing that, outside the 
One Reality, nothing is more than a passing illusion the whole 
universe^ included we do not view it as insanity, but as a very natural 
sequence or development of the terrestrial life. What is life ? A 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 121 

bundle of the most varied experiences, of daily changing ideas, emo- 
tions, and opinions. In our youth we are often enthusiastically devoted 
to an ideal, to some hero or heroine whom we try to follow and revive ; 
a few years later, when the freshness of our youthful feelings has faded 
out and sobered down, we are the first to laugh at our fancies. And yet 
there was a day when we had so thoroughly identified our own person- 
ality with that of the ideal in our mind especially if it was that of a 
living being that it became entirely merged and lost in our ideal. Can 
it be said of a man of fifty that he is the same being that he was at 
twenty? The inner man is the same; the outward living personality 
is completely transformed and changed. Would you also call these 
changes in the human mental states insanity ? 

Knq. How would you name them, and especially how would yon explain 
the permanence of one a?id the evanescence of the other? 

Theo. We have our own doctrine ready, and to us it offers no diffi- 
culty. The clue lies in the double consciousness of our mind, and also, 
in the dual nature of the mental principle. There is a spiritual con- 
sciousness the manasic mind illumined by the light of Buddhi which 
subjectively perceives abstractions, and a sentient consciousness the 
lower manasic light inseparable from our physical brain and senses. 
The latter consciousness is held in subjection by the brain and physi- 
cal senses, and, being in its turn equally dependent on them, must 
of course fade out and finally die with the disappearance of the brain 
and physical senses. It is only the spiritual consciousness, whose 
root lies in eternity, which survives and lives for ever, and may, there- 
fore, be regarded as immortal. Everything else belongs to passing 
illusions. 

Enq. What do you really undersia?id by illusion in this case? 

Theo. It is very well described in the above mentioned essay on the 
"Higher Self," in which the author says: 

The theory we are considering (the interchange of ideas between the Higher Ego 
and the lower self) harmonizes very well with the treatment of this world in which 
we live as a phenomenal world of illusion, the spiritual planes of nature being on 
the other hand the noumenal world or plane of reality. That region of nature in 
which, so to speak, the permanent soul is rooted is more real than that in which its 
transitory blossoms appear for a brief space to wither and fall to pieces, while the 
plant recovers energy for sending forth a fresh flower. Supposing flowers only 
were perceptible to ordinary senses, and their roots existed in a state of nature 



122 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

intangible and invisible to us, philosophers in such a world who divined that there 
were such things as roots in another plane of existence would be apt to say of the 
flowers, These are not the real plants; they are of no relative importance, merely 
illusive phenomena of the moment. 

This is what I mean. It is not the world in which blossom the transi- 
tory and evanescent flowers of personal lives which is the real permanent 
world; but that one in which we find the root of consciousness, the 
root which is beyond illusion and dwells in the eternity. 

Enq. What do you mean by the root dwelling in eternity? 

Theo. I mean by this root the thinking entity, the Ego which incar- 
nates, whether we regard it as an angel, a spirit, or a force. Of that 
which falls under our sensuous perceptions only what grows directly 
from, or is attached to, this invisible root above, can partake of its im- 
mortal life. Hence every noble thought, idea and aspiration, of the 
personality it informs, proceeding from and fed by this root, must 
become permanent. As to the physical consciousness, as it is a quality 
of the sentient but lower "principle" Kama Rupa or animal instinct 
illuminated by the lower manasic reflection, or the human soul it must 
disappear. It is the higher consciousness which displays activity, while 
the body is asleep or paralyzed; our memory registering but feebly 
and inaccurately because automatically such experiences, and often 
failing to be even slightly impressed by them. 

Enq. But how is it that Manas, although you call it nous, a "god," is 
so weak during its incarnations, as to be actually conquered and fettered by 
its body? 

Theo. I might retort with a similar question and ask : How is it that 
he, whom you regard as "God of Gods" and the One Living God, is so 
weak as to allow evil (or the devil) to have the best of him as much as 
of all his creatures, both while in heaven, and also during the time he was 
incarnated on this earth? You are sure to reply again: This is a mys- 
tery ; and we are forbidden to pry into the mysteries of God. But as 
we are not forbidden to do so by our religious philosophy, I answer that, 
unless a God descends as an avatara, no divine principle can be other- 
wise than cramped and paralyzed by turbulent animal matter. Hetero- 
geneity will always have the upper hand over homogeneity, on this 
plane of illusions, and the nearer an essence is to its root-principle, 
primordial homogeneity, the more difficult it is for the latter to assert 
itself on earth. Spiritual and divine powers lie dormant in every 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 1 23 

human being; and the wider the sweep of his spiritual vision the 
mightier will be the God within him. But few men can feel that God. 
As an average rule, deity is always bound and limited in our thought by 
earlier conceptions, ideas inculcated in us from childhood, therefore, it 
is so difficult for you to understand our philosophy. 

Enq. And is it this Ego of ours which is our God? 

Theo. Not at all; "a God" is not the universal deity, but only a 
spark from the one ocean of Divine Fire. Our God within us, or "our 
Father in secret" is what we call the Higher Self, Atma. Our incar- 
nating Ego was a God in its origin, as were all the primeval emanations 
of the One Unknown Principle. But, since its "fall into matter," 
having to incarnate throughout the cycle, in succession, from first to 
last, it is no longer a free and happy God, but a poor pilgrim on his 
way to regain that which he has lost. I can answer you more fully by 
repeating what is said of the Inner Man in Isis Unveiled (ii. 593): 

From the remotest antiquity mankind as a whole have always been convinced of 
the existence of a personal spiritual entity within the personal physical man. This 
inner entity was more or less divine, according to its proximity to the crown. . . . 
The closer the union, the more serene man's destiny, the less dangerous the ex- 
ternal conditions. This belief is neither bigotry nor superstition, only an ever- 
present, instinctive feeling of the proximity of another spiritual and invisible 
world, which, though it be subjective to the senses of the outward man, is perfectly 
objective to the inner ego. Furthermore, they believed that there are external and 
internal conditions which affect the determination of our will upon our actions. They 
rejected fatalism, for fatalism implies a blind course of some still blinder power. 
But they believed in destiny (or Karma), which from birth to death every man is 
weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this 
destiny is guided either by that presence termed by some the guardian angel, or by 
our more intimate astral inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the man 
of flesh (or the personality). Both these lead on . . . man, but one of them 
must prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and im- 
placable law of compensation {and retribution) steps in and takes its course, follow- 
ing faithfully the fluctuations (of the conflict). When the last strand is woven, and 
man is seemingly enwrapped in the net-work of his own doing, then he finds him- 
self completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes 
him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or like a feather carries him 
away in a whirlwind raised by his own actions. 

Such is the destiny of the man the true Ego, not the automaton, the 
shell that goes by that name. It is for this man to become the con- 
queror over matter. 



124 THE K EY TO THEOSOPHY. 

THE COMPLEX NATURE OF MANAS. 
Enq. But you wanted to tell me something of the essential nature of 
Marias, and of the relation in zvhich the skandhas of physical man stand 
to it. 

Theo. It is this nature, mysterious, protean, beyond any grasp, and 
almost shadowy in its correlations with the other principles, that is so 
difficult to realize, and still more difficult to explain. Manas is a prin- 
ciple, and yet it is an entity and individuality, or Ego. He is a God, 
and yet he is doomed to an endless cycle of incarnations, for each of 
which he is made responsible, and for each of which he has to suffer. 
All this seems as contradictory as it is puzzling; nevertheless, there are 
hundreds of people, even in Europe, who realize all this perfectly, for 
they comprehend the Ego not only in its integrity but in its many 
aspects. But, if I would make myself comprehensible, I must begin 
at the beginning and give you the genealogy of this Ego in a few lines. 

Enq. Say on. 

Theo. Try to imagine a spirit, a celestial being, whether we call it 
by one name or another, divine in its essential nature, yet not pure 
enough to be one with the Ale, and consequently, having to purify 
its nature so that it may finally reach that goal. It can do so only 
by passing individually and personally, i.e., spiritually and physically, 
through every experience and feeling that exists in the manifold or 
differentiated universe. It has, therefore, after gaining experience in 
the lower kingdoms, and having ascended higher and still higher with 
every rung on the ladder of being, to pass through every experience 
on the human planes. In its very essence it is thought, and is, there- 
fore, called in its plurality manasa-putras, or "sons of the (universal) 
mind." This individualized thought is what we Theosophists call the 
real human Ego, the thinking Entity imprisoned in a case of flesh and 
bones. This is surely a spiritual entity, not matter, and such entities 
are the incarnating Egos, informing the bundle of animal matter called 
mankind, who are called manasa-putras and. are "minds." But once 
imprisoned, or incarnate, their essence becomes dual; that is to say, 
the rays of the eternal Divine Mind, considered as individual entities, 
assume a two-fold attribute, (a) their essential inherent characteristic, 
heaven-aspiring mind or higher Manas, and (b) the human quality of 
thinking, or animal cogitation, rationalized owing to the superiority of 
the human brain, the kama-tending or lower Manas. One gravitates 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 1 25 

toward Buddhi, the other tends downward, to the seat of passions and 
animal desires. The latter have no room in Devachan, nor can they 
associate with the divine triad which ascends as one into mental bliss. 
Yet it is the Ego, the manasic entity, which is held responsible for all 
the sins of the lower attributes, just as a parent is answerable for the 
transgressions of the child, so long as the latter remains irresponsible. 
Eno. Is this "child" the personality? 

Theo. It is. But when it is stated that the personality dies with 
the body, that is not all. The body, which was only the objective 
symbol of Mr. A. or Mrs. B., fades away with all the material skandhas, 
which are the visible expressions of it. But all that which during life 
constituted the spiritual bundle of experiences, the noblest aspirations, 
undying affections, and unselfish nature of Mr. A. or Mrs. B., clings for 
the time of the devachanic period to the Ego, and the Ego is identified 
with the spiritual portion of the terrestrial entity, which has now 
passed away out of sight. The actor is so imbued with the role he has 
lately played that he dreams of it during the whole devachanic night, 
and this vision continues till the hour strikes for him to return to the 
stage of life to enact another part. 

Enq. But how is it that this doctrine, which you say is as old as think- 
ing men, has found no room, say, in Christian theology? 

Theo. You are mistaken, it has; only theology has disfigured it out 
of all recognition, as it has many other doctrines. Theology calls the 
Ego the angel that God gives us at the moment of our birth, to take 
care of our soul. Theological logic instead of holding that "angel" 
responsible for the transgressions of the poor helpless "soul," makes 
the latter punishable for all the sins of both flesh and mind! It is the 
soul, the immaterial "breath" of God and his alleged "creation," which, 
by some most amazing intellectual juggler}', is doomed to burn in a 
material hell without ever being consumed,* while the "angel" escapes 
scot-free, after folding his white pinions and wetting them with a few 
tears. Aye, these are our "ministering spirits," the "messengers of 
mercy" who are sent, Bishop Mant tells us 

to fulfil 

Good for salvation's heirs, for us they still 
Grieve when we sin, rejoice when we repent. 



* Being of "an asbestos-like nature," according to the eloquent and fiery expression of a modern 
English Tertullian. 



126 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Yet it becomes evident that if all the Bishops the world over were 
asked to define once for all what they mean by soul and its functions, 
they would be as unable to do so as to show us any shadow of logic in 
the orthodox belief! 

THE DOCTRINE IS TAUGHT IN ST. JOHN'S GOSPEL. 

Enq. To this the adherents of this belief might answer, that if even 
the orthodox dogma does promise the impenitent sinner and materialist a 
bad time of it in a rather too realistic inferno, it gives them, on the other 
hand, a cha?ice for repentance to the last mimite. Moreover they do ?iot 
teach annihilation, or loss of personality, which comes to the same thing. 

Theo. If the Church teaches nothing of the kind, on the other 
hand, Jesus does; and that is something to those, at least, who place 
Christ higher than Christianity. 

Enq. Does Christ teach anything of the sort ? 

Theo. He does ; and every well-informed Occultist and even Kabalist 
will tell you so. Christ, or the fourth Gospel at any rate, teaches rein- 
carnation and also the annihilation of the personality, if you will only 
forget the dead letter and hold to the esoteric spirit. Remember verses 
i and 2 in chapter xv of St. John. What does the parable speak about 
if not of the upper triad in man? Atma is the " husbandman" the 
spiritual Ego, or Buddhi (Christos), the "vine," while the animal and 
vital soul, the personality, is the "branch." "I am the true vine, and 
my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not 
fruit he taketh away ... As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself 
except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I 
am the vine, ye are the branches. ... If a man abide not in me 
he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered" and cast into the fire 
and burned. 

Now we explain it in this way. Disbelieving in the hell-fires which 
theology discovers as underlying the threat to the "branches," we say 
that the "husbandman" means Atma, the symbol for the infinite, im- 
personal principle,* while the "vine" stands for the spiritual soul, 
Christos, and each "branch" represents a new incarnation. 

Enq. But what proofs have you to support such an arbitrary interpre- 
tation ? 

* During the Mysteries, it is the hierophant, the "Father," who planted the "vine." Every 
symbol has seven keys to it. The discloser of the plerbma was always called " Father." 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 1 27 

Theo. Universal symbology is a warrant for its correctness and 
that it is not arbitrary. Hennas says of "God" that he "planted the 
vineyard," i.e., he created mankind. In the Kabalah, it is shown that 
the Aged of the Aged, or the "Long Face," plants a "vineyard," typify- 
ing mankind, and a "vine," meaning life. The Spirit of "King Messiah" 
is, therefore, shown as washing his garments in the wine from above, 
from the creation of the world.* And King Messiah is the Ego purified 
by "washing his garments" i.e., his personalities in re-birth in the 
"wine from above," or Buddhi. Adam, or A-dam, is "blood." The 
life of the flesh is in the blood nephesh, soul {Leviticus, xvii). And 
Adam-Kadmon is the Only-Begotten. Noah also plants a vineyard 
the allegorical hot-bed of future humanity. As a consequence of the 
adoption of the same allegory, we find it reproduced in the Codex 
Nazarczus. Seven vines our seven races with their seven saviours or 
Buddhas are procreated. These seven vines spring from Jukabar Zivo, 
and Aebel Zivo waters them.f When the blessed will ascend among 
the creatures of Light, they shall see Javar Zivo, Lord of Life, and 
the First Vine.^: These kabalistic metaphors are thus naturally re- 
peated in the Gospel according to St. John. 

Let us not forget that even according to those philosophies which 
ignore our septenary division in the human system the Ego, or think- 
ing man, is called the Logos, or the "Son" of soul and spirit. "Manas 

is the adopted son of King and Queen " (the esoteric 

equivalents for Atma and Buddhi), says an occult work. He is the 
"man-god" of Plato, who crucifies himself in "space," or the duration 
of the life cycle, for the redemption of matter. This he does by incar- 
nating over and over again, thus leading mankind onward to perfec- 
tion, and making thereby room for lower forms to develop into higher. 
Not for even one life does he cease progressing himself and also help- 
ing all physical nature to progress; even the occasional, very rare, 
event of his losing one of his personalities in the case of the latter 
being entirely devoid of even a spark of spirituality helps towards his 
individual progress. 

Enq. But surely, if the Ego is held responsible for the transgressions of 
its personalities, it has to answer also for the loss, or rather the complete 
annihilation, of one of such. 

* Zohar, xl. 10. 

t Codex Nazar^us, Liber Adami Appellatusa. r.latth. Norberg, iii. 60, 61. 

t Ibid., ii. 281. 



128 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Theo. Not at all, unless it has done nothing to avert this dire fate. 
But if, notwithstanding all its efforts, its voice, the voice of conscience, 
has been unable to penetrate through the wall of matter, then the 
obtuseness of the latter which proceeds from the imperfect nature of 
the material, is classed with other failures of nature. The Ego is suffi- 
ciently punished by the loss of Devachan, and especially by having to 
incarnate almost immediately. 

Enq. This doctrine of the possibility of losing one's soul or personality, 
do you call it? militates against the ideal theories of both Christians and 
Spiritualists, though Swedenborg adopts it to a certain extent, in what he 
calls "spiritual death''' Christians and Spiritualists will never accept it. 

Theo. This can in no way alter. a fact in nature, if it be a fact, or 
prevent such a thing occasionally taking place. The universe and 
everything in it, moral, mental, physical, psychic, or spiritual, is built 
on a perfect law of equilibrium and harmony. As said before in Isis 
Unveiled, the centripetal force could not manifest itself without the 
centrifugal in the harmonious revolutions of the spheres, and all forms 
and the progress of such forms are products of this dual force in nature. 
Now the spirit, or Buddhi, is the centrifugal, and the soul, or Manas, 
the centripetal spiritual energy; and to produce one result they have 
to be in perfect union and harmony. Break or damage the centripetal 
motion of the earthly soul tending toward the centre which attracts it; 
arrest its progress by clogging it with a heavier weight of matter than 
it can bear, or thau is fit for the devachanic state, and the harmony of 
the whole will be destroyed. Personal life, or perhaps rather its ideal 
reflection, can only be continued if sustained by the two-fold force ; 
that is, by the close union of Buddhi and Manas in every re-birth or 
personal life. The least deviation from harmony damages it; and when 
it is destroyed beyond redemption the two forces separate at the 
moment of death. During a brief interval the personal form called 
indifferently kdma-rhpa and maydvi-rtipa the spiritual efflorescence of 
which, attaching itself to the Ego, follows it into Devachan and gives 
to the permanent individuality its personal colouring, for the time, so to 
speak, is carried off to remain in Kama Loka and to be gradually annihi- 
lated. For it is after the death of the utterly depraved, the unspiritual 
and the wicked beyond redemption, that the critical and supreme 
moment arrives. If during life, the ultimate and desperate effort of 
the Inner Self (Manas), to unite something of the personality with 
itself and the high glimmering ray of the divine Buddhi, is thwarted; 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 120, 

if this ray is allowed to be more and more shut out from the ever- 
thickening crust of the physical brain, the spiritual Ego or Manas, 
once freed from the body, remains severed entirely from the ethereal 
relic of the personality; and the latter, or Kama Rupa, following its 
earthly attractions, is drawn into and remains in Hades, which we call 
Kama L,oka. These are "the withered branches" mentioned by Jesus 
as being cut off from the "vine." Annihilation, however, is never 
instantaneous, and may require centuries sometimes for its accomplish- 
ment. But there the personality remains along with the remnants of 
other more fortunate personal Egos, and becomes with them a shell 
and an elementary. As said in Isis Unveiled, it is these two classes 
of "spirits," the shells and the elementaries, which are the leading 
"stars" on the great spiritual stage of "materializations." And you 
may be sure of it, it is not they who incarnate ; and, therefore it is that 
so few of these "dear departed ones" know anything of reincarnation, 
and thereby mislead the Spiritualists. 

Enq. But does not the author of Isis Unveiled stand accused of having 
preached against 7'cincarnation ? 

Theo. By those who have misunderstood what was said, yes. At 
the time that work was written reincarnation was not believed in by 
any Spiritualists, either English or American, and what is said there of 
reincarnation was directed against the French Spiritists, whose theory 
is as uiiphilosophical and absurd as the Eastern teaching is logical and 
self-evident in its truth. The re'incarnationists of the Allan Kardec 
school believe in an arbitrary and immediate reincarnation. With 
them, the dead father can incarnate in his own unborn daughter, and so 
on. They have neither Devachau, Karma, nor any philosophical theory 
that would warrant or prove the necessity of consecutive re-births. 
But how can the author of Isis Unveiled argue against karmic reincar- 
nation, at long intervals varying between 1,000 and 1,500 years, when it 
is the fundamental belief of both Buddhists and Hindus? 

Enq. Then you reject the theories of both the Spiritists and the Spiri- 
tualists, in their entirety ? 

Theo. Not in their entirety, but only with regard to their respective 
fundamental beliefs. Both rely on what their "spirits" tell them; and 
both disagree as much with each other as we Theosophists disagree 
with both. Truth is one; and when we hear the French spooks 
preaching reincarnation, and the English spooks denying and de- 



130 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

nouncing the doctrine, we say that either the French or the English 
"spirits" do not know what they are talking about. We believe with 
the Spiritualists and the Spiritists in the existence of "spirits," or 
invisible beings endowed with more or less intelligence. But, while in 
our teachings their kinds and genera are legion, our opponents admit of 
no other than human disembodied "spirits," which, to our knowledge, 
are mostly kamalokic shells. 

Enq. You seem very bitter against "spirits." As you have given me 
your views and your reaso?is for disbelieving in the materialization of, and 
direct communication in seances with the disembodied spirits or the "spirits 
of the dead" would you mind enlightening me as to one more fact ? Why 
are some Theosophists never tired of saying how da?igerotis is intercourse 
with spirits, and mediumship ? Have they any particular reason for this ? 

Theo. We must suppose so. I know / have. Owing to my 
familiarity for over half a century with these invisible, but only too 
tangible and undeniable "influences," from the conscious elementals 
and semi-conscious shells, down to the utterly senseless and non- 
descript spooks of all kinds, I claim a certain right to my views. 

Enq. Can you give an instance or instances to show why these practices 
should be regarded as dangerous ? 

Theo. This would require more time than I can give you. Every 
cause must be judged by the effects it produces. Go over the history 
of Spiritualism for the last fifty years, ever since its reappearance in 
this century in America and judge for yourself whether it has done 
its votaries more good or harm. Pray understand me. I do not speak 
against real spiritualism, but against the modern movement which goes 
under that name, and the so-called philosophy invented to explain its 
phenomena. 

Enq. Do you not believe in their phenomena at all? 

Theo. It is because I believe in them with too good reason, and 
save some cases of deliberate fraud know them to be as true as that 
you and I live, that all my being revolts against them. Once more I 
speak only of physical, not mental or even psychic phenomena. L,ike 
attracts like. There are several high-minded, pure, good men and 
women, known to me personally, who have passed years of their lives 
under the direct guidance and even protection of high "spirits," 
whether disembodied or planetary. But these intelligences are not of 
the type of the "John Kings" and the "Ernests" who figure in seance- 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 131 

rooms. These intelligences guide and control mortals only in rare and 
exceptional cases to which they are attracted and magnetically drawn 
by the karmic past of the individual. It is not enough to sit "for de- 
velopment" in order to attract them. That only opens the door to a 
swarm of spooks, good, bad and indifferent, to which the medium be- 
comes a slave for life. It is against such promiscuous mediumship and 
intercourse with goblins that I raise my voice, not against spiritual 
mysticism. The latter is ennobling and holy; the former is of just the 
same nature as the phenomena of two centuries ago, for which so many 
witches and wizards have been made to suffer. Read Glanvil and other 
authors on the subject of witchcraft, and you will find recorded there 
the parallels of most, if not all, of the physical phenomena of nine- 
teenth century "Spiritualism." 

Enq. Do you mean to suggest that it is all witchcraft and nothing more? 

Theo. I mean that, whether conscious or unconscious, all this deal- 
ing with the dead is necromancy, and a most dangerous practice. For 
ages before Moses such raising of the dead was regarded by all the in- 
telligent nations as sinful and cruel, inasmuch as it disturbs the i"est 
of the souls and interferes with their evolutionary development into 
higher states. The collective wisdom of all past centuries has ever been 
loud in denouncing such practices. Finally, I say, what I have never 
ceased repeating orally and in print for fifteen years: While some of 
the so-called "spirits" do not know what they are talking about, 
repeating merely, like poll-parrots, what they find in the mediums' and 
other people's brains, others are most dangerous, and can only lead 
one to evil. These are two self-evident facts. Go into spiritualistic 
circles of the Allan Kardec school, and you find "spirits" asserting re- 
incarnation and speaking like Roman Catholics born. Turn to the 
"dear departed ones" in England and America, and you will hear them 
denying reincarnation through thick and thin, denouncing those who 
teach it, and holding to Protestant views. Your best, your most power- 
ful mediums, have all suffered in health of body and mind. Think of 
the sad end of Charles Foster, who died in an asylum, a raving lunatic ; 
of Slade, an epileptic; of Eglinton the best medium now in England 
subject to the same disease. I/)ok back over the life of D. D. Home, 
a man whose mind was steeped in gall and bitterness, who never had a 
good word to say of anyone whom he suspected of possessing psychic 
powers, and who slandered every other medium to the bitter end. This 
Calvin of Spiritualism suffered for years from a terrible spinal disease, 



132 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

brought on by his intercourse with the "spirits," and died a perfect 
wreck. Think again of the sad fate of poor Washington Irving Bishop. 
I knew him in New York, when he was fourteen, and he was undeni- 
ably a medium. It is true that the poor man stole a march on his 
"spirits," and baptized them "unconscious muscular action," to the 
great gaudium of all the corporations of highly learned and scientific 
fools, and to the replenishment of his own pocket. But de mortuis nil 
nisi bonum; his end was a sad one. He had strenuously concealed his 
epileptic fits the first and strongest symptom of genuine mediumship 
and who knows whether he was dead or in a trance when the post 
mortem examination was performed? His relatives insist that he was 
alive, if we are to believe Reuter's telegrams. Finally, behold the veteran 
mediums, the founders and prime movers of modern Spiritualism the 
Fox sisters. After more than forty years of intercourse, the "angels" 
have led them to become incurable sots, who are now denouncing, in 
public lectures, their own life-long work and philosophy as a fraud. 
What kind of "spirits" must they be who prompted them, I ask you? 

Enq. But is your infere?ice a correct one? 

Theo. What would you infer if the best pupils of a particular school 
of singing broke down from overstrained sore throats? That the 
method followed was a bad one? So I think the inference is equally 
fair with regard to Spiritualism when we see their best mediums fall a 
prey to such a fate. We can only say: Let those who are interested in 
the question judge the tree of Spiritualism by its fruits, and ponder 
over the lesson. We Theosophists have always regarded the Spiri- 
tualists as brothers having the same mystic tendency as ourselves, but 
they have always regarded us as enemies. We, being in possession of 
an older philosophy, have tried to help and warn them ; but they have 
repaid us by reviling and traducing us and our motives in every possible 
way. Nevertheless, the best English Spiritualists say just as we do, 
wherever they treat of their belief seriously. Hear "M.A. Oxon" con- 
fessing this truth : 

Spiritualists are too much inclined to dwell exclusively on the intervention of 
external spirits in this world of ours, and to ignore the powers of the incarnate Spirit.* 

Why vilify and abuse us, then, for saying precisely the same? Hence- 
forward, we will have nothing more to do with Spiritualism. And now 
let us return to reincarnation. 

* Second Sight, Introduction. 



XI. 

ON THE MYSTERIES OF REINCARNATION. 



PERIODICAL RE-BIRTHS. 

Enq. You mean, then, that we have all lived on earth before, in many 
past incarnations, and shall go on so living? 

Theo. I do. The life-cycle, or rather the cycle of conscious life, 
begins with the separation of the mortal animal-man into sexes, and 
will end with the close of the last generation of men in the seventh 
round and seventh race of mankind. Considering we are only in the 
fourth round and fifth race, its duration is more easily imagined than 
expressed. 

Enq. And we keep on incarnat'mg in new perso?ialities all the time? 

Theo. Most assuredly so; because this life-cycle or period of in- 
carnation may be best compared to human life. As each such life is 
composed of days of activity separated by nights of sleep or of inaction, 
so, in the incarnation-cycle, an active life is followed by a devachanic 
rest. 

Enq. And it is this succession of births that is generally defined as re- 
incarnation ? 

Theo. Just so. It is only through these births that the perpetual 
progress of the countless millions of Egos toward final perfection, and 
a final rest as long as was the period of activity, can be achieved. 

Enq. And what is it that regulates the duration, or special qualities of 
these incarnations ? 

Theo. Karma, the universal law of retributive justice. 

Enq. Is it an intelligent law? 

Theo. For the materialist, who calls the law of periodicity which 
regulates the marshalling of bodies, and all the other laws in nature, 



134 ^HE K ^Y TO THEOSOPHY. 

blind forces and mechanical laws, no doubt Karma would be a law of 
chance and no more. For us, no adjective or qualification could de- 
scribe that which is impersonal and not an entity, but a universal 
operative law. If you question me about the causative intelligence in 
it, I must answer you I do not know. But if you ask me to define its 
effects and tell you what these are in our belief, I may say that the ex- 
perience of thousands of ages has shown us that they are absolute and 
unerring equity, wisdom, and intelligence. For Karma in its effects is 
an unfailing redresser of human injustice, and of all the failures of 
nature; a stern adjuster of wrongs; a retributive law which rewards 
and punishes with equal impartiality. It is, in the strictest sense, "no 
respecter of persons," though, on the other hand, it can neither be pro- 
pitiated, nor turned aside by prayer. This is a belief common to 
Hindus and Buddhists, who believe in Karma. 

Enq. In this Christian dogmas contradict both, and I doubt whether 
any Christian will accept the teaching. 

Theo. No; and Inman gave the reason for it many years ago. As 
he puts it : 

The Christians will accept any nonsense, if promulgated by the Church as a 
matter of faith . . . the Buddhists hold that nothing which is contradicted by 
sound reason can be a true doctrine of Buddha. 

The Buddhists do not believe in any pardon for their sins, except 
after an adequate and just punishment for each evil deed or thought in 
a future incarnation, and a proportionate compensation to the parties 
injured. 

Enq. Where is it so stated? 

Theo. In most of their sacred works. In the Wheel of the Law 
(p. 57) you may find the following theosophical tenet: 

Buddhists believe that every act, word or thought has its consequence, which will 
appear sooner or later in the present or in the future state. Evil acts will produce 
evil consequences, good acts will produce good consequences: prosperity in this 
world, or birth in heaven [Devachan] ... in the future state. 

Enq. Christians believe the same thing, do they not? 

Theo. Oh, no ; they believe in the pardon and the remission of all 
sins. They are promised that if they only believe in the blood of 
Christ an innocent victim! in the blood offered by Him for the expia- 
tion of the sins of the whole of mankind, it will atone for every mortal 
sin. And we believe neither in vicarious atonement, nor in the possi- 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 135 

bility of the remission of the smallest sin by any god, not even by a 
personal Absolute or Infinite, if such a thing could have any existence. 
What we believe in, is strict and impartial justice. Our idea of the 
unknown Universal Deity, represented by Karma, is that it is a power 
which cannot fail, and can, therefore, have neither wrath nor mercy, but 
only absolute equity, which leaves every cause, great or small, to work 
out its inevitable effects. The saying of Jesus, "with what measure 
you mete it shall be measured to you again" {Matt., vii. 2), neither by 
expression nor implication points to any hope of future mercy or salva- 
tion by proxy. This is why, recognizing as we do in our philosophy the 
justice of this statement, we cannot recommend too strongly mercy, 
charity, and forgiveness of mutual offences. "Resist not evil," and 
"render good for evil," are Buddhist precepts, and were first preached 
in view of the implacability of karmic law. For man to take the law 
into his own hands is in any case a sacrilegious presumption. Human 
law may use restrictive, not punitive measures; but a man who, believ- 
ing in Karma, still revenges himself, still refuses to forgive every injury, 
whereby he would render good for evil is a criminal and only hurts 
himself. As Karma is sure to punish the man who has wronged 
another by seeking to inflict an additional punishment on one's enemy, 
and instead of leaving that punishment to the great Law adding to it 
one's own mite, we only beget thereby a cause for the future reward of 
our enemy and a future punishment for ourself. The unfailing "regu- 
lator" in each incarnation affects the quality of its successor, and the 
sum of the merit or demerit in preceding incarnations determines the 
following re-birth. 

Enq. Are we, then, to infer a man 's past from his present? 

Theo. Only so far as to believe that his present life is what it justly 
should be, to atone for the sins of the past life. Of course seers and 
great adepts excepted we cannot as average mortals know what those 
sins were. From our paucity of data, it is impossible for us to determine 
even what an old man's youth must have been; neither can we, for like 
reasons, draw final conclusions merely from what we see in the life of 
some man, as to what his past life may have been. 

WHAT IS KARMA ? 

Enq. But what is Karma ? 

Theo. As I have said, we consider it as the ultimate law of the 
universe, the source, origin, and fount of all other laws which exist 



136 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

throughout nature. Karma is the unerring law which adjusts effect to 
cause, on the physical, mental and spiritual planes of being. As no 
cause remains without its due effect from greatest to least, from a cosmic 
disturbance down to the movement of your hand, and as like produces 
like, Karma is that unseen and unknown law which adjusts wisely, in- 
telligently and equitably each effect to its cause, tracing the latter back 
to its producer. Though itself unknowable, its action is perceivable. 

Knq. Then it is the "absolute," the "unknowable" again, and is not 
of much value as an explanation of the problems of life. 

Theo. On the contrary. For, though we do not know what Karma 

is per se, and in its essence, we do know how it works, and we can define 

and describe its mode of action with accuracy. We only do not know 

its ultimate cause, just as modern philosophy universally admits that 

Jthe ultimate cause of a thing is "unknowable." 

Enq. And what has Theosophy to say in regard to the solution of the 
more practical needs of humanity? What is the explanation which it 
offers of the awful suffering and dire necessity prevalent among the so-called 
"lower classes" ? 

Theo. To be pointed; according to our teaching, all these great 
social evils the distinction of classes in society, and of the sexes in 
the affairs of life, the unequal distribution of capital and of labour all 
are due to what we tersely but truly denominate Karma. 

Enq. But, surely, all these evils which seem to fall upon the masses 
somewhat indiscriminately are not actual merited and individual Karma? 

Theo. No, they cannot be so strictly defined in their effects as to 
show that each individual environment, and the particular conditions 
of life in which each person finds himself, are nothing more than the 
retributive Karma which the individual has generated in a previous 
life. We must not lose sight of the fact that every atom is subject to 
the general law governing the whole body to which it belongs, and 
here we come upon the wider track of the Karmic law. Do you not 
perceive that the aggregate of individual Karma becomes that of the 
nation to which those individuals belong, and further, that the sum 
total of national Karma is that of the world? The evils that you speak 
of are not peculiar to the individual or even to the nation, they are 
more or less universal; and it is upon this broad line of human inter- 
dependence that the law of Karma finds its legitimate and equable 
issue. 



'The; key to theosophy. 137 

Enq. Do I, then, understand that the law of Karma is not necessarily 
an individual law ? 

Theo. That is just what I mean. It is impossible that Karma 
could readjust the balance of power in the world's life and progress, 
unless it had a broad and general line of action. It is held as a truth 
among Theosophists that the interdependence of humanity is the 
cause of what is called distributive Karma, and it is this law which 
affords the solution to the great question of collective suffering and its 
relief. It is an occult law, moreover, that no man can rise superior to 
his individual failings, without lifting, be it ever so little, the whole body 
of which he is an integral part. In the same way no one can sin, nor 
suffer the effects of sin, alone. In reality, there is no such thing as 
"separateness"; and the nearest approach to that selfish state, which 
the laws of life permit, is in the intent or motive. 

Enq. And are there no means by which the distributive or national 
Karma might be concentrated or collected, so to speak, and brought to its 
natural and legitimate fulfilment without all this protracted suffering? 

Theo. As a general rule, and within certain limits which define the 
age to which we belong, the law of Karma cannot be hastened or re- 
tarded in its fulfilment. But of this I am certain, the point of possi- 
bility in either of these directions has never yet been touched. listen 
to the following recital of one phase of national suffering, and then ask 
yourself whether, admitting the working power of individual, relative, 
and distributive Karma, these evils are not capable of extensive modifi- 
cation and general relief. What I am about to read to you is from the 
pen of a national saviour, one who, having overcome self, and being 
free to choose, has elected to serve humanity, in bearing at least as 
much as a woman's shoulders can possibly bear of national Karma. 
This is what she says : 

Yes. Nature always does speak, don't you think ? only sometimes we make so 
much noise that we drown her voice. That is why it is so restful to go out of the 
town and nestle awhile in the Mother's arms. I am thinking of the evening on 
Hampstead Heath when we watched the sun go down ; but oh ! upon what suffering 
and misery that sun had set! A lady brought me yesterday a big hamper of wild 
flowers. I thought some of my East-end family had a better right to it than I, 
and so I took it down to a very poor school in Whitechapel this morning. You 
should have seen the pallid little faces brighten ! Thence I went to pay for some 
dinners at a little cookshop for some children. It was in a back street, narrow, 
full of jostling people; stench indescribable, from fish, meat, and other comestibles, 



138 The key to theosophy. 

all reeking in a sun that, in Whitechapel, festers instead of purifying. The cook- 
shop was the quintessence of all the smells. Indescribable meat-pies at id., loath- 
some lumps of "food" and swarms of flies, a very altar of Beelzebub! All about, 
babies on the prowl for scraps, one, with the face of an angel, gathering up cherry- 
stones as a light and nutritious form of diet. I came westward with every nerve 
shuddering and jarred, wondering whether anything can be done with some parts 
of London save swallowing them up in an earthquake and starting their inhabitants 
afresh, after a plunge into some purifying Lethe, out of which not a memory 
might emerge ! And then I thought of Hampstead Heath, and pondered. If by 
any sacrifice one could win the power to save these people, the cost would not be 
worth counting; but, you see, they must be changed and how can that be wrought? 
In the condition they now are, they would not profit by any environment in which 
they might be placed; and yet, in their present surroundings they must continue to 
putrefy. It breaks my heart, this endless, hopeless misery, and the brutish degrada- 
tion that is at once its outgrowth and its root. It is like the banyan tree; every 
branch roots itself and sends out new shoots. What a difference between these 
feelings and the peaceful scene at Hampstead ! and yet we who are the brothers 
and sisters of these poor creatures, have only a right to use Hampstead Heaths to 
gain strength to save Whitechapels. [Signed by a name too respected and too well 
known to be given to scoffers. .] 

Enq. That is a sad btd beautiful letter, and I think it presents with 
painful conspicuity the tei'rible workings of 'what you have called "relative" 
and "distributive" Kart?ia. But alas! there seems no immediate hope of 
any relief short of an earthquake, or some such general ingulf ment. 

Theo. What right have we to think so while one-half of humanity 
is in a position to effect an immediate relief of the privations which 
are suffered by their fellows? When every individual has contributed 
to the general good what he can of monej 7 , of labour, and of ennobling 
thought, then, and only then, will the balance of national Karma be 
struck, and until then we have no right nor any reasons for saying that 
there is more life on the earth than nature can support. It is reserved 
for the heroic souls, the saviours of our race and nation, to find out the 
cause of this unequal pressure of retributive Karma, and by a supreme 
effort to readjust the balance of power, and save the people from a 
moral ingulfment a thousand times more disastrous and more per- 
manently evil than the like physical catastrophe, in which you seem to 
see the only possible outlet for this accumulated misery. 

Enq. Well, then, tell me generally how you describe this law of 
Karma ? 

Theo. We describe Karma as that law of readjustment which ever 
tends to restore disturbed equilibrium in the physical, and broken har- 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. I39 

mony in the moral world. We say that Karma does not act in this or 
that particular way always ; but that it always does act so as to restore 
harmony and preserve the balance of equilibrium, in virtue of which 
the universe exists. 

Knq. Give me an illustration. 

Theo. Later on I will give you a full illustration. Think now of 
a pond. A stone falls into the water and creates disturbing waves. 
These waves oscillate backwards and forwards till at last, owing to the 
operation of what physicists call the law of the dissipation of energy, 
they are brought to rest, and the water returns to its condition of calm 
tranquillity. Similarly all action, on every plane, produces disturbance 
in the balanced harmony of the universe, and the vibrations so produced 
will continue to roll backwards and forwards, if the area is limited, till 
equilibrium is restored. But since each such disturbance starts from 
some particular point, it is clear that equilibrium and harmony can 
only be restored by the reconverging to that same point of all the forces 
which were set in motion from it. And here you have proof that the 
consequences of a man's deeds, thoughts, etc., must all react upon 
himself with the same force with which they were set in motion. 

Enq. But I see nothing of a moral character about this law. It looks 
to me like the simple physical law that action and reaction are equal arid 
opposite. 

Theo. I am not surprised to hear you say that. Europeans have 
got so much into the ingrained habit of considering right and wrong, 
good and evil, as matters of an arbitrary code of law laid down either 
by men, or imposed upon them by a personal God. We Theosophists, 
however, say that "good" and "harmony," and "evil" and "dis- 
harmony," are synonymous. Further we maintain that all pain and 
suffering are results of want of harmony, and that the one terrible and 
only cause of the disturbance of harmony is selfishness in some form 
or other. Hence Karma gives back to every man the actual consequences 
of his own actions, without any regard to their moral character; but 
since he receives his due for all, it is obvious that he will be made to 
atone for all sufferings which he has caused, just as he will reap in joy 
and gladness the fruits of all the happiness and harmony he had helped 
to produce. ; I can do no better than quote for your benefit certain 
passages from books and articles written by those of our Theosophists 
who have a correct idea of Karma. 



I40 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Knq. / wish you would, as your literature seems to be very spari?ig on 
this subject. 

Theo. Because it is the most difficult of all our tenets. Some short 
time ago there appeared the following objection from a Christian pen: 

Granting that the teaching in regard to Theosophy is correct, and that "man 
must be his own saviour, must overcome self and conquer the evil that is in his 
dual nature, to obtain the emancipation of his soul" what is man to do after he 
has been awakened and converted to a certain extent from evil or wickedness? 
How is he to get emancipation, or pardon, or the blotting out of the eyil or wicked- 
ness he has already done ? 

To this Mr. J. H. Connelly replies very pertinently that no one can 
hope to "make the theosophical engine run on the theological track." 
As he has it : 

The possibility of shirking individual responsibility is not among the concepts 
of Theosophy. In this faith there is no such thing as pardoning, or "blotting out 
of evil or wickedness already done," otherwise than by the adequate punishment 
therefor of the wrong-doer and the restoration of the harmony in the universe that 
had been disturbed by his wrongful act. The evil has been his own, and while 
others must suffer its consequences, atonement can be made by nobody but himself. 

The condition contemplated . . . in which a man shall have been "awakened 
and converted to a certain extent from evil or wickedness," is that in which a man 
shall have realized that his deeds are evil and deserving of punishment. In that 
realization a sense of personal responsibility is inevitable, and just in proportion to 
the extent of his awakening or "converting" must be the sense of that awful 
responsibility. While it is strong upon him is the time when he is urged to accept 
the doctrine of vicarious atonement. 

He is told that he must also repent, but nothing is easier than that. It is an 
amiable weakness of human nature that we are quite prone to regret the evil we 
have done when our attention is called, and we have either suffered from it our- 
selves or enjoyed its fruits. Possibly, close analysis of the feeling would show us 
that that which we regret is rather the necessity that seemed to require the evil as 
a means of attainment of our selfish ends than the evil itself. 

Attractive as this prospect of casting our burden of sins, "at the foot of' the cross" 
may be to the ordinary mind, it does not commend itself to the Theosophic stu- 
dent. He does not apprehend why the sinner by attaining knowledge of his evil 
can thereby merit any pardon for or the blotting out of his past wickedness; or 
why repentance and future right living entitle him to a suspension in his favour of 
the universal law of relation between cause and effect. The results of his evil deeds 
continue to exist; the suffering caused to others by his wickedness is not blotted 
out. The Theosophical student takes the result of wickedness upon the innocent 
into his problem. He considers not only the guilty person, but his victims. 

Evil is an infraction of the laws of harmony governing the universe, and the 
penalty thereof must fall upon the violator of that law himself. Christ uttered 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 141 

the warning, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee," and St. Paul said, 
"Work out your own salvation. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also 
reap." That, by the way, is a tine metaphoric rendering of the sentence of the 
Puranas far antedating him that "every man reaps the consequences of his own 
acts." 

This is the principle of the law of Karma which is taught by Theosophy. 
Sinnett, in his Esoteric Buddhism, rendered Karma as "the law of ethical causa- 
tion." "The law of retribution," as Mdme. Blavatsky translates its meaning, is 
better. It is the power which 

Just though mysterious leads us on unerring 
Through ways unmarked from guilt to punishment. 

But it is more. It rewards merit as unerringly and amply as it punishes demerit. 
It is the outcome of every act, of thought, word and deed, and by it men mould 
themselves, their lives and happenings. Eastern philosophy rejects the idea of a 
newly created soul for every baby born. It believes in a limited number of monads, 
evolving and growing more and more perfect through their assimilation of many 
successive personalities. Those personalities are the product of Karma, and it is 
by Karma and reincarnation that the human monad in time returns to its source 
absolute deity. 

E. D. Walker, in his Reincarnation, offers the following explanation : 
Briefly, the doctrine of Karma is that we have made ourselves what we are by 
former actions, and are building our future eternity by present actions. There is 
no destiny but what we ourselves determine. There is no salvation or condemna- 
tion except what we ourselves bring about. . . . Because it offers no shelter for 
culpable actions and necessitates a sterling manliness, it is less welcome to weak 
natures than the easy religious tenets of vicarious atonement, intercession, for- 
giveness and death-bed conversions. ... In the domain of eternal justice the 
offence and the punishment are inseparably connected as the same event, because 
there is no real distinction between the action and its outcome. . . . It is 
Karma, or our old acts, that draws us back into earthly life. The spirit's abode 
changes according to its Karma; and this Karma forbids any long continuance in 
one condition, because it is always changing. So long as action is governed by 
material and selfish motives, just so long must the effect of that action be mani- 
fested in physical re-births. Only the perfectly selfless man can elude the gravita- 
tion of material life. Few have attained this, but it is the goal of mankind. 

And then the writer quotes from the Secret Doctrine : 

Those who believe in Karma have to believe in destiny, which, from birth to 
death, every man is weaving, thread by thread, around himself, as a spider does his 
cobweb; andithis destiny is guided either by the heavenly voice of the invisible 
prototype outside of us, or by our more intimate astral or inner man, who is but 
too often the evil genius of the embodied entity called man. Both these lead on 
the outward man, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of 
the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation steps in and takes 
its course, faithfully following the fluctuations. When the last strand is woven, 



142 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

and man is seemingly enwrapped in the network of his own doing, then he finds 
himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. . . . 

An Occultist or a philosopher will not speak of the goodness or cruelty of Provi- 
dence; but, identifying it with Karma-Nemesis, he will teach that, nevertheless, it 
guards the good and watches over them in this as in future lives; and that it 
punishes the evil-doer aye, even to his seventh re-birth so long, in short, as the 
effect of his having thrown into perturbation even the smallest atom in the infinite 
world of harmony has not been finally readjusted. For the only decree of Karma 
an eternal and immutable decree is absolute harmony in the world of matter as 
it is in the world of spiiit. It is not, therefore, Karma that rewards or punishes, 
but it is we who reward or punish ourselves according to whether we work with, 
through and along with nature, abiding by the laws on which that harmony 
depends, or break them. 

Nor would the ways of Karma be inscrutable were men to work in union and 
harmony, instead of disunion and strife. For our ignorance of those ways which 
one portion of mankind calls the ways of Providence, dark and intricate; while 
another sees in them the action of blind fatalism; and a third, simple chance, with 
neither gods nor devils to guide them would surely disappear if we would but 
attribute all these to their correct cause. . . . 

We stand bewildered before the mystery of our own making and the riddles of 
life that we will not solve, and then accuse the great Sphinx of devouring us. But 
verily there is not an accident of our lives, not a misshapen day, or a misfortune, 
that could not be traced back to our own doings in this or in another life 

The law of Karma is inextricably interwoven with that of reincarnation 

It is only this doctrine that can explain to us the mysterious problem of good and 
evil, and reconcile man to the terrible and apparent injustice of life. Nothing but 
such certainty can quiet our revolted sense of justice. For, when one unacquainted 
with the noble doctrine looks around him and observes the inequalities of birth 
and fortune, of intellect and capacities; when one sees honour paid to fools and 
profligates, on whom fortune has heaped her favours by mere privilege of birth, and 
their nearest neighbour, with all his intellect and noble virtues far more deserving 
in every way perishing for want and for lack of sympathy; when one sees all this 
and has to turn away, helpless to relieve the undeserved suffering, one's ears ring- 
ing and heart aching with the cries of pain around him that blessed knowledge of 
Karma alone prevents him from cursing life and men as well as their supposed 
creator 

This law, whether conscious or unconscious, predestines nothing and no one. It 
exists from and in eternity truly, for it is eternity itself; and as such, since no act 
can be coequal with eternity, it cannot be said to act, for it is action itself. It is 
not the wave which drowns the man, but the personal action of the wretch who 
goes deliberately and places himself under the impersonal action of the laws that 
govern the ocean's motion. Karma creates nothing, nor does it design. It is man 
who plants and creates causes, and karmic law adjusts the effects, which adjustment 
is not an act but universal harmony, tending ever to resume its original position, 
like a bough, which, bent down too forcibly, rebounds with corresponding vigour. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 143 

If it happen to dislocate the arm that tried to bend it out of its natural position, 
shall we say it is the bough which broke our arm or that our own folly has brought 
us to grief? Karma has never sought to destroy intellectual and individual liberty, 
like the god invented by the monotheists. It has not involved its decrees in dark- 
ness purposely to perplex man, nor shall it punish him who dares to scrutinize its 
mysteries. On the contrary, he who through study and meditation unveils its 
intricate paths, and throws light on those dark ways, in the windings of which so 
many men perish owing to their ignorance of the labyrinth of life is working for 
the good of his fellow-men. Karma is an absolute and eternal law in the world of 
manifestation; and as there can be only one Absolute, as one eternal, ever-present 
Cause, believers in Karma cannot be regarded as atheists or materialists, still less as 
fatalists, for Karma is one with the Unknowable, of which it is an aspect, in its 
effects in the phenomenal world. 

Another able Theosophic writer, Mrs. P. Sinnett, in her Purpose of 
Theosophy, says: 

Every individual is making Karma either good or bad in each action and 
thought of his daily round, and is at the same time working out in this life the 
Karma brought about by the acts and desires of the last. When we see people 
afflicted by congenital ailments it may be safely assumed that these ailments are the 
inevitable results of causes started by themselves in a previous birth. It may be 
argued that, as these afflictions are hereditary, they can have nothing to do with a 
past incarnation ; but it must be remembered that the Ego, the real man, the indi- 
viduality, has no spiritual origin in the parentage by which it is reembodied, but it 
is drawn by the affinities which its previous mode of life attracted round it into the 
current that carries it, when the time comes for re-birth, to the home best fitted 

for the development of those tendencies This doctrine of Karma, when 

properly understood, is well calculated to guide and assist those who realize its 
truth to a higher and better mode of life, for it must not be forgotten that not only 
our actions but our thoughts also are most assuredly followed by a crowd of cir- 
cumstances that will influence for good or for evil our own future, and, what is 
still more important, the future of many of our fellow-creatures. If sins of 
omission and commission could in any case be only self-regarding, the fact on 
the sinner's Karma would be a matter of minor consequence. The effect that 
every thought and act through life carries with it for good or evil a corresponding 
influence on other members of the human family renders a strict sense of justice, 
morality, and unselfishness so necessary to future happiness or progress. A crime 
once committed, an evil thought sent out from the mind, are past recall no 
amount of repentance can wipe out their results in the future. Repentance, if 
sincere, will deter a man from repeating errors; it cannot save him or others from 
the effects of those already produced, which will most unerringly overtake him 
either in this life or in the next re-birth. 

Mr. J. H. Connelly proceeds : 

The believers in a religion based upon such doctrine are willing it should be com- 
pared with one in which man's destiny for eternity is determined by the accidents 



144 TH;E key to theosophy. 

of a single, brief earthly existence, during which he is cheered by the promise that 
"as the tree falls so shall it lie"; in which his brightest hope, when he wakes up to 
a knowledge of his wickedness, is the doctrine of vicarious atonement, and in 
which even that is handicapped, according to the Presbyterian Confession of Faith. 

"By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels 
are predestinated unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death. 

"These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained are particularly and 
unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot 
be either increased or diminished. ... As God hath appointed the elect tmto 
glory. . . . Neither are any other redeemed by Christ effectually called, justified, 
adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only. 

"The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel 
of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the 
glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by and to ordain them to 
dishonour and wrath for their sin to the praise of his glorious justice." 

This is what the able defender says. Nor can we do any better than 
wind up the subject as he does, by a quotation from a magnificent 
poem. As he says: 

The exquisite beauty of Edwin Arnold's exposition of Karma in The Light of 
Asia tempts to its reproduction here, but it is too long for quotation in full. Here 
is a portion of it : 

Karma all that total of a soul 

Which is the things it did, the thoughts it had, 
The "self" it wove with woof of viewless time 
Crossed on the warp invisible of acts. 
******* 

Before beginning and without an end, 

As space eternal and as surety sure, 
Is fixed a Power divine which moves to good, 

Only its laws endure. 

It will not be contemned of anyone; 

Who thwarts it loses, and who serves it gains; 
The hidden good it pays with peace and bliss, 

The hidden ill with pains. 

It seeth everywhere and marketh all ; 

Do right it recompenseth ! Do one wrong 
The equal retribution must be made, 

Though Dharma tarry long. 

It knows not wrath nor pardon ; utter-true, 
Its measures mete, its faultless balance weighs; 

Times are as naught, to-morrow it will judge 
Or after many days. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 145 

Such is the law which moves to righteousness, 

Which none at last can turn aside or stay ; 
The heart of it is love, the end of it 

Is peace and consummation sweet. Obey. 

And now I advise you to compare our Theosophic views upon Karma, 
the law of retribution, and say whether they are not both more philo- 
sophical and just than this cruel and idiotic dogma which makes of 
"God" a senseless fiend; the tenet, namely, that the "elect only" will 
be saved, and the rest doomed to eternal perdition ! 

Enq. Yes, I see what you mean generally; but I wish you could give 
some concrete example of the action of Karma. 

Theo. That I cannot do. We can only feel sure, as I said before, 
that our present lives and circumstances are the direct results of our 
own deeds and thoughts in lives that are past. But we, who are not 
seers or initiates, cannot know anything about the details of the work- 
ing of the law of Karma. 

Enq. Can anyone, even an adept or seer, follow out this karmic process 
of readjustment in detail? 

Theo. Certainly: "those who know" can do so by the exercise of 
powers which are latent even in all men. 

WHO ARE THOSE WHO KNOW? 

Enq. Does this hold equally of ourselves as of others ? 

Theo. Equally. As just said, the same limited vision exists for all, 
save for those who have reached, in the present incarnation, the acme 
of spiritual vision and clairvoyance. We can only perceive that, if 
things ought to have been different with us, they would have been 
different; that we are what we have made ourselves, and have only 
what we have earned for ourselves. 

Enq. I am afraid such a conception would only embitter us. 

Theo. I believe it is precisely the reverse. It is disbelief in the 
just law of retribution that is more likely to awaken every combative 
feeling in man. A child, as much as a man, resents a punishment, or 
even a reproof, he believes to be unmerited, far more than he does a 
severer punishment, if he feels that it is merited. Belief in Karma is 
the highest motive for reconcilement to one's lot in this life, and the 
very strongest incentive towards effort to better the succeeding re- 
birth. Both of these, indeed, would be destroyed if we supposed that 



146 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

our lot was the result of anything but strict law, or that destiny was in 
any other hands than our own. 

Enq. You have just asserted that this system of reincarnation under 
karmic law commended itself to reason, justice, and the moral sense. But, 
if so, is it not at some sacrifice of the ge?itler qualities of sympathy and 
pity, and thus a hardening of the finer instincts of human nature? 

Theo. Only apparently, not really. No man can receive more or 
less than his deserts without a corresponding injustice or partiality to 
others; and a law which could be averted through compassion would 
bring about more misery than it saved, more irritation and curses than 
thanks. Remember also, that we do not administer the law, if we do 
create causes for its effects; it administers itself; and again, that the 
most copious provision for the manifestation of jtist compassion and 
mercy is shown in the state of Devachan. 

Enq. You speak of adepts as being an exception to the rule of our 
ge?ieral ignorance. Do they really know more than we do of reincarnation 
and after states ? 

Theo. They do, indeed. By the training of faculties we all possess, 
but which they alone have developed to perfection, they have entered 
in spirit these various planes and states we have been discussing. For 
long ages, one generation of adepts after another has studied the 
mysteries of being, of life, death, and re-birth, and all have taught 
in their turn some of the facts so learned. 

Enq. And is the production of adepts the aim of Theosophy ? 

Theo. Theosophy considers humanity as an emanation from divinity 
on its return path thereto. At an advanced point upon the path, adept- 
ship is reached by those who have devoted several incarnations to its 
achievement. For, remember well, no man has ever reached adeptship 
in the Secret Sciences in one life; but many incarnations are necessary 
for it after the formation of a conscious purpose and the beginning of 
the needful training. Many may be the men and women in the very 
midst of our Society who have begun this uphill work toward illumi- 
nation several incarnations ago, and who yet, owing to the personal 
illusions of the present life, are either ignorant of the fact, or on the 
road to losing every chance, in this existence, of progressing any 
farther. They feel an irresistible attraction toward occultism and the 
"higher life," and yet are too personal and self-opinionated, too much 
in love with the deceptive allurements of mundane life and the world's 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 147 

ephemeral pleasures, to give them up ; and so lose their chance in their 
present birth. But, for ordinary men, for the practical duties of daily- 
life, such a far-off result is inappropriate as an aim and quite ineffective 
as a motive. 

Enq. What, then, may be their object or distinct purpose in joining the 
Thcosophical Society ? 

Theo. Many are interested in our doctrines and feel instinctively 
that they are truer than those of any dogmatic religion. Others have 
formed a fixed resolve to attain the highest ideal of man's duty. 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE; OR, 
BLIND AND REASONED FAITH. 

Enq. You say that they accept and believe in the doctrines of Thcosophy. 
But, as they do not belong to those adepts you have just mentioned, then they 
must accept yozir teachings on " blind ' faith P In what does this differ from 
that of eonve?itional religions ? 

Theo. As it differs on almost all the other points, so it differs on 
this one. What you call "faith," and that which is "blind faith," in 
reality, with regard to the dogmas of the Christian religions, becomes 
with us knowledge, the logical sequence of things we know, about facts 
in nature. Your doctrines are based upon interpretation, therefore 
upon the seco?id-hand testimony of seers ; ours upon the unvarying and 
invariable testimony of seers. The ordinary Christian theology, for 
instance, holds that man is a creature of God, of three component parts 
body, soul, and spirit all essential to his integrity, and all, either in 
the gross form of physical earthly existence or in the etherealized form 
of post- resurrection experience, needed to so constitute him for ever; 
each man having thus a permanent existence separate from other men, 
and from the Divine. Theosophy, on the other hand, holds that, man 
being an emanation from the unknown, yet ever present and infinite 
Divine Essence, his body and everything else is impermanent, hence 
an illusion ; spirit alone in him being the one enduring substance, and 
even that losing its separated individuality at the moment of its com- 
plete reunion with the Universal Spirit. 

Enq. If we lose even our individuality, then it becomes simply anni- 
hilation ? 

Theo. I say it does not, since I speak of separate, not of universal 
individuality. This individuality becomes as a part transformed into 



148 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

the whole; the "dewdrop" is not evaporated, but becomes the sea. Is 
physical man annihilated, when from a fcetus he becomes an old man? 
What kind of Satanic pride must be ours if we place our infinitesimally 
small consciousness and individuality higher than the universal and 
infinite consciousness ! 

Enq. It follows, then, that there is, de facto, no man, but all is spirit? 

Theo. You are mistaken. It follows that the union of spirit with 
matter is but temporary; or, to put it more clearly, since spirit and 
matter are one, being the two opposite poles of the universal manifested 
substance spirit loses its right to the name so long as the smallest 
particle and atom of its manifesting substance still clings to any form, 
the result of differentiation. To believe otherwise is "blind faith." 

Enq. Thus it is 071 knowledge, not on faith, that you assert that the 
permanent principle, the spirit, simply makes a transit through matter? 

Theo. I would put it otherwise and say: We assert that the appear- 
ance of the permanent and one principle spirit as matter is transient, 
and, therefore, no better than an illusion. 

Enq. Very well; and this, given out o?i knowledge, not faith ? 

Theo. Just so. But as I see very well what you are driving at, I 
may just as well tell you that we hold faith, such as you advocate, to 
be a mental disease, and real faith, i.e., the pistis of the Greeks, as 
"belief based on knowledge," whether supplied by the evidence of 
physical or spiritual senses. 

Enq. What do you mean ? 

Theo. If it is the difference between the two that you want to 
know, I mean that between faith on authority and faith on one's spiritual 
intuition, there is a very great difference. 

Enq. What is it ? 

Theo. One is human credulity and superstition, the other human 
belief and intuition. As Professor Alexander Wilder says in his Intro- 
duction to the Eleusinian Mysteries: 

It is ignorance which leads to profanation. Men ridicule what they do not 
properly understand .... The undercurrent of this world is set towards one 
goal; and inside of human credulity .... is a power almost infinite, a holy 
faith capable of apprehending the supremest truths of all existence. 

Those who limit that "credulity" to human authoritative dogmas 
alone, will never fathom that power nor even perceive it in their 

/ 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 149 

natures. It is stuck fast to the external plane and is unable to bring 
forth into play the essence that rules it; for to do this they have to 
claim their right of priva te judgmen t, and this they never dare to do. 

Enq. And is it this "intuition" which forces you to reject God as a 
personal father, ruler and governor of the universe? 

Theo. Precisely. We believe in an ever unknowable Principle, 
for only blind aberration can make one maintain that the universe, 
thinking man, and all the marvels contained even in the world of 
matter, could have grown without some intelligent powers to bring 
about the extraordinarily wise arrangement of all its parts. Nature 
may err, and often does in its details and the external manifestations 
of its materials, never in its inner causes and results. Ancient pagans 
held far more philosophical views on this question than modern philo- 
sophers, whether Agnostics, Materialists or Christians; and no pagan 
writer has ever yet advanced the proposition that cruelty and mercy 
are not finite feelings, and can therefore be made the attributes of an 
infinite God. Their gods, therefore, were all finite. The Siamese 
author of the Wheel of the Law, expresses the same idea about your 
personal God as ourselves; he says (p. 25): 

A Buddhist might believe in the existence of a God, sublime above all human 
qualities and attributes a perfect God, above love, and hatred, and jealousy, 
calmly resting in a quietude that nothing could disturb, and of such a God he 
would speak no disparagement, not from a desire to please him or fear to offend 
him, but from natural veneration; but he cannot understand a God with the at- 
tributes and qualities of men, a God who loves and hates, and shows anger; a 
Deity who, whether described as by Christian missionaries or by Mahometans or 
Brahmins,* or Jews, falls below his standard of even an ordinary good man. 

Enq. Faith for faith, is not the faith of the Christian who believes, in 
his human helplessness and humility, that there is a merciful Father in 
Heaven who will protect him from temptation, help him in life, and forgive 
him his transgressions, better than the cold and proud, almost fatalistic faith 
of the Buddhists, Vedantins, and Theosophists ? 

Theo. Persist in calling our belief "faith" if you will. But once 
we are again on this ever- recurring question, I ask in my turn: Faith 
for faith, is not the one based 011 strict logic and reason better than the 
one which is based simply on human authority or hero-worship? Our 
"faith" has all the logical force of the arithmetical truism that two and 

* Sectarian Brahnians are here meant. The Parabrahman of the Vedantins is the Deity we accept 

and believe in. 



150' THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

two will produce four. Your faith is like the logic of some emotional 
women, of whom Tourgenyeff said that for them two and two were 
generally five, and a tallow candle into the bargain. Yours is a faith, 
moreover, which clashes not only with every conceivable view of jus- 
tice and logic, but which, if analyzed, leads man to his moral perdition, 
checks the progress of mankind, and, jjositively making of might, right 
transforms every second man into a Cain to his brother Abel. 

Enq. To what do you allude? 

HAS GOD THE RIGHT TO FORGIVE? 
Theo. To the doctrine of "atonement"; I allude to that dangerous 
dogma in which you believe, and which teaches us that no matter how 
enormous our crimes against the laws of God and of man, we have but 
to believe in the self-sacrifice of Jesus for the salvation of mankind, 
and his blood will wash out every stain. It is now twenty years that I 
have preached against it, and I may now draw your attention to a para- 
graph from his U?iveiled, written in 1875. This is what Christianity 
teaches, and what we combat : 

God's mercy is boundless and unfathomable. It is impossible to conceive of a 
human sin so damnable that the price paid in advance for the redemption of the 
sinner would not wipe it out if a thousandfold worse. And furthermore, it is never 
too late to repent. Though the offender wait until the last minute of the last hour 
of the last day of his mortal life, before his blanched lips utter the confession of 
faith, he may go to Paradise; the dying thief did so, and so may all others as vile. 
These are the assumptions of the Church, and of the clergy; assumptions banged 
at the heads of your countrymen by England's favourite preachers, right in the 
"light of the nineteenth century" this most paradoxical age of all! 

Now to what does it lead? 

Enq. Does it not make the Christian happier than the Buddhist or 
Brahman ? 

Theo. No; not the educated man, at any rate, since the majority of 
these have long since virtually lost all belief in this cruel dogma. But 
it leads those who still believe in it more easily to the threshold of every 
conceivable crime, than any other I know of. Let me quote to you from 
his Unveiled once more (ii. 542, 543) : 

If we step outside the little circle of creed and consider the universe as a whole 
balanced by the exquisite adjustment of parts, how all sound logic, how the faintest 
glimmering sense of justice, revolts against this Vicarious Atonement! If the 
criminal sinned only against himself, and wronged no one but himself; if by sincere 
repentance he could cause the obliteration of past events, not only from the memory 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 151 

of man, but also from that imperishable record, which no deity not even the 
Supremest of the Supreme can cause to disappear, then this dogma might not be 
incomprehensible. But to maintain that one may wrong his fellow-man, kill, dis- 
turb the equilibrium of society and the natural order of things, and then through 
cowardice, hope, or compulsion, matters not be forgiven by believing that the 
spilling of one blood washes out the other blood spilt this is preposterous! Can 
the results of a crime be obliterated even though the crime itself should be 
pardoned? The effects of a cause are never limited to the boundaries of the cause, 
nor can the results of crime be confined to the offender and his victim. Every 
good as well as evil action has its effects, as palpably as the stone flung into calm 
water. The simile is trite, but it is the best ever conceived, so let us use it. The 
eddying circles are greater and swifter as the disturbing object is greater or smaller, 
but the smallest pebble, nay, the tiniest speck, makes its ripples. And this disturb- 
ance is not alone visible and on the surface. Below, unseen, in every direction 
outward and downward drop pushes drop until the sides and bottom are touched 
by the force. More, the air above the water is agitated, and this disturbance 
passes, as the physicists tell us, from stratum to stratum out into space for ever and 
ever; an impulse has been given to matter, and that is never lost, can never be 
recalled! . . . 

So with crime, and so with its opposite. The action may be instantaneous, the 
effects are eternal. When, after the stone is once flung into the pond, we can recall 
it to the hand, roll back the ripples, obliterate the force expended, restore the 
etheric waves to their previous state of non-being, and wipe out every trace of the 
act of throwing the missile, so that Time's record shall not show that it ever 
happened, then, then we may patiently hear Christians argue for the efficacy of this 
Atonement 

and cease to believe in Karmic L,aw. As it now stands, we call upon 
the whole world to decide, which of our two doctrines is the most 
appreciative of deific justice, and which is more reasonable, even on 
simple human evidence and logic. 

?Z2 



Enq. Yet millions believe. in the Christian dogma and are hat 

Theo. Pure sentimentalism overpowering their thinking faculties, 
which no true philanthropist or altruist will ever accept. It is not 
even a dream of selfishness, but a nightmare of the human intellect. 
IyOok where it leads to, and tell me the name of that pagan country 
where crimes are more easily committed or more numerous than in 
Christian lands. Look at the long and ghastly annual records of 
crimes committed in European countries; and behold Protestant and 
Biblical America. There, conversions effected in prisons are more 
numerous than those made by public revivals and preaching. 

See how the ledger-balance of Christian justice (!) stands. Red-handed mur- 
derers, urged on by the demons of lust, revenge, cupidity, fanaticism, or mere 



152 the key to theosophy. 

brutal thirst for blood, who kill their victims, in most cases, without giving them 
time to repent or call on Jesus. These, perhaps, died sinful, and, of course con- 
sistently with theological logic met the reward of their greater or lesser offences. 
But the murderer, overtaken by human justice, is imprisoned, wept over by senti- 
mentalists, prayed with and at, pronounces the charmed words of conversion, and 
goes to the scaffold a redeemed child of Jesus! Except for the murder, he would 
not have been prayed with, redeemed, pardoned. Clearly this man did well to 
murder, for thus he gained eternal happiness! And how about the victim, and his, 
or her family, relatives, dependents, social relations; has justice no recompense for 
them ? Must they suffer in this world and the next, while he who wronged them 
sits beside the "holy thief" of Calvary, and is for ever blessed? On this question 
the clergy keep a prudent silence.* 

And now you know why Theosophists whose fundamental belief 
and hope is justice for all, in heaven as on earth, and in Karma reject 
this dogma. 

Knq. The ultimate destiny of man, then, is not a heaven presided over 
by God, but the gradual transformation of matter into its primordial ele- 
ment, spirit? 

Theo. It is to that final goal to which all tends in nature. 

Knq. Do not some of you regard this association or " fall of spirit into 
matter" as evil, and re-birth as a sorrozv? 

ThEO. Some do, and therefore strive to shorten their period of pro- 
bation on earth. It is not, however, an unmixed evil, since it ensures 
the experience upon which we mount to knowledge and wisdom. I 
mean that experience which teaches that the needs of our spiritual 
nature can never be met by other than spiritual happiness. As long 
as we are in the body, we are subjected to pain, suffering and all the 
disappointing incidents occurring during life. Therefore, and to pal- 
liate this, we finally acquire knowledge which alone can afford us relief 
and hope of a better future. 

* /sis Unveiled, ibid. 



XII. 

WHAT IS PRACTICAL THEOSOPHY? 



DUTY. 

Enq. Why, then, the need for re-births, since all alike fail to secure a 
Permanent peace? 

Theo. Because the final goal cannot be reached in any way but 
through life experiences, and because the bulk of these consists in 
pain and suffering. It is only through the latter that we can learn. 
Jo} r s and pleasures teach us nothing; they are evanescent, and can 
only in the long run bring satiety. Moreover, our constant failure to 
find any permanent satisfaction in life which would meet the wants of 
our higher nature, shows us plainly that those wants can be met only 
on their own plane, to wit the spiritual. 

Enq. Is the natural result of this a desire to quit life by one means or 

another? 

Theo. If you mean by such desire "suicide," then I say, most 
decidedly not. Such a result can never be a "natural" one, but is ever 
due to a morbid brain disease, or to most decided and strong material- 
istic views. It is the worst of crimes and dire in its results. But if by 
desire, you mean simply aspiration to reach spiritual existence, and not 
a wish to quit the earth, then I would call it a very natural desire 
indeed. Otherwise voluntary death would be an abandonment of our 
present post and of the duties incumbent on us, as well as an attempt 
to shirk karmic responsibilities, and thus involve the creation of new 
Karma. 

Enq. But if actions on the material plane are unsatisfying, why should 
duties, which are such actions, be imperative? 

Theo. First of all, because our philosophy teaches us that the 
object of doing our duties to all men first and to ourselves last is not 



154 THK K:EY TO THEOSOPHY. 

the attainment of personal happiness, but of the happiness of others ; 
the fulfilment of right for the sake of right, not for what it may bring 
us. Happiness, or rather contentment, may indeed follow the per- 
formance of duty, but is not and must not be the motive for it. 

Knq. What do you understand precisely by "duty" in Theosophy ? It 
cannot be the Christian duties preached by Jesus and his Apostles, since you 
recognize neither. 

Theo. You are once more mistaken. What } t ou call "Christian" 
duties were inculcated by every great moral and religious reformer ages 
before the Christian era. All that was great, generous, heroic, was, in 
days of old, not only talked about and preached from pulpits as in our 
own time, but acted upon sometimes by whole nations. The history of 
the Buddhist reform is full of the most noble and most heroically un- 
selfish acts. " Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; 
love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous : not rendering evil for evil, 
or railing for railing: but contrariwise, blessing" was practically carried 
out by the followers of Buddha, several centuries before Peter. The 
ethics of Christianity are grand, no doubt; but as undoubtedly they are 
not new, and have originated as " Pagan" duties. 

Knq. And how zvoidd you define these duties, or " duty" in general, as 
you understand the term ? 

Theo. Duty is that which is due to humanity, to our fellow-men, 
neighbours, family, and especially that which we owe to all those who 
are poorer and more helpless than we are ourselves. This is a debt 
which, if left unpaid during life, leaves us spiritually insolvent and 
moral bankrupts in our next incarnation. Theosophy is the quint- 
essence of duty. 

Knq. So is Christianity when rightly understood and carried out. 

Theo. No doubt it is; but then, were it not a lip-religion in prac- 
tice, Theosophy would have little to do amidst Christians. Unfortu- 
nately it is but such lip-ethics. Those who practise their duty towards 
all, and for duty's own sake, are few; and fewer still are those who 
perform that duty, remaining content with the satisfaction of their own 
secret consciousness. It is 

The public voice 
Of praise that honours virtue and rewards it 

which is ever uppermost in the minds of the "world-renowned" philan- 
thropists. Modern ethics are beautiful to read about and hear dis- 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHV. 155 

cussed: but what are words unless converted into actions? Finally: 
if you ask me how we understand theosophical duty practically and in 
view of Karma, I may answer you that our duty is to drink to the last 
drop without a murmur, whatever contents the cup of life may have in 
store for us, to pluck the roses of life only for the fragrance they may 
shed on others, and to be ourselves content but with the thorns, if that 
fragrance cannot be enjoyed without depriving some one else of it. 

Enq. All this is very vague. What do you do more than Christians do ? 

Theo. It is not what we members of the Theosophical Society do 
though some of us try our best but how much farther Theosophy 
leads to good than modern Christianity does. I say action, enforced 
action, instead of mere intention and talk. A man may be what he 
likes, the most worldly, selfish and hard-hearted of men, even a deep- 
dyed rascal, and it will not prevent him from calling himself a Chris- 
tian, or others from so regarding him. But no Theosophist has the 
right to this name, unless he is thoroughly imbued with the correctness 
of Carlyle's truism: "The end of man is an action and not a thought, 
though it were the noblest" and unless he sets and models his daily 
life upon this truth. The profession of a truth is not yet the enactment 
of it ; and the more beautiful and grand it sounds, the more loudly 
virtue or duty is talked about instead of being acted upon, the more 
forcibly it will always remind one of the Dead Sea fruit. Cant is the 
most loathsome of all vices; and cant is the most prominent feature of 
the greatest Protestant country of this century England. 

Enq. What do you co?isider as due to humanity at large? 

Theo. Full recognition of equal rights and privileges for all, with- 
out distinction of race, colour, social position, or birth. 

Enq. When tvould you consider such due not given ? 

Theo. When there is the slightest invasion of another's right be 
that other a man or a nation; when there is any failure to show him 
the same justice, kindness, consideration or mercy which we desire for 
ourselves. The whole present system of politics is built on the obli- 
vion of such rights, and the most fierce assertion of national selfishness. 
The French say: "Like master, like man"; they ought to add: "Like 
national policy, like citizen." 

Enq. Do you take any part in politics ? 

Theo. As a society, we carefully avoid them, for the reasons given 



156 the key to theosophy. 

below. To seek to achieve political reforms before we have effected 
a reform in human nature, is like putting new wine into old bottles. 
Make men feel and recognize in their innermost hearts what is their 
real, true duty to all men, and every old abuse of power, every iniqui- 
tous law in the national policy, based on human, social or political 
selfishness, will disappear of itself. Foolish is the gardener who tries to 
weed his flower-bed of poisonous plants by cutting them off from the 
surface of the soil, instead of tearing them out by the roots. No last- 
ing political reform can be ever achieved with the same selfish men at 
the head of affairs as of old. 

THE RELATIONS OF THE T. S. TO POLITICAL REFORMS. 
Enq. The Theosophical Society is not, then, a political organization? 

Theo. Certainly not. It is international in the highest sense in 
that its members comprise men and women of all races, creeds, and 
forms of thought, who work together for one object, the improvement 
of humanity; but as a society it takes absolutely no part in any national 
or party politics. 

Enq. Why is this ? 

Theo. For the very reasons I have mentioned. Moreover, political 
action must necessarily vary with the circumstances of the time and 
with the idiosyncrasies of individuals. While, from the very nature of 
their position as Theosophists, the members of the T. S. are agreed on 
the principles of Theosophy, or they would not belong to the Society 
at all, it does not thereby follow that they agree on every other subject. 
As a society they can only act together in matters which are common 
to all that is, in Theosophy itself; as individuals, each is left perfectly 
free to follow out his of her particular line of political thought and ac- 
tion, so long as this does not conflict with Theosophical principles or 
hurt the Theosophical Society. 

Enq. But surely the T. S. does not stand altogether aloof from the 
social questio7is which are now so fast coming to the front ? 

Theo. The very principles of the T. S. are a proof that it does not 
or, rather, that most of its members do not so stand aloof. If 
humanity can only be developed mentally and spiritually by the en- 
forcement, first of all, of the soundest and most scientific physiological 
laws, it is the bounden duty of all who strive for this development to 
do their utmost to see that those laws shall be generally carried out. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 157 

All Theosophists are only too sadly aware that, in Occidental countries 
especially, the social condition of large masses of the people renders it 
impossible for either their bodies or their spirits to be properly trained, 
so that the development of both is thereby arrested. As this training 
and development is one of the express objects of Theosophy, the T. S. 
is in thorough sympathy and harmony with all true efforts in this 
direction. 

Enq. But what do you mean by "true efforts''' ? Each social reformer 
has his own panacea, and each believes his to be the one and only thing 
which can improve and save humanity. 

ThEO. Perfectly true, and this is the real reason why so little satis- 
factory social work is accomplished. In most of these panaceas there 
is no really guiding principle, and there is certainly no one principle 
which connects them all. Valuable time and energy are thus wasted ; 
for men, instead of cooperating, strive one against the other, often, it 
is to be feared, for the sake of fame and reward rather than for the 
great cause which they profess to have at heart, and which should be 
supreme in their lives. ' 

Enq. Hozv, then, should Thcosophical principles be applied so that social 
cooperation may be promoted and true efforts for social amelioration be 
carried o?i ? 

Theo. L,et me briefly remind you what these principles are Uni- 
versal Unity and Causation; Human Solidarity; the Law of Karma; 
Reincarnation. These are the four links of the golden chain which 
should bind humanity into one family, one Universal Brotherhood. 

Enq. How? 

Theo. In the present state of society, especially in so-called civi- 
lized countries, we are continually brought face to face with the fact 
that large numbers of people are suffering from misery, poverty and 
disease. Their physical condition is wretched, and their mental and 
spiritual faculties are often almost dormant. On the other hand, many 
persons at the opposite end of the social scale are leading lives of care- 
less indifference, material luxury, and selfish indulgence. Neither of 
these forms of existence is mere chance. Both are the effects of the 
conditions which surround those who are subject to them, and the 
neglect of social duty on the one side is most closely connected with 
the stunted and arrested development on the other. In sociology, as 
in all branches of true science, the law of universal causation holds 



158 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

good. But this causation necessarily implies, as its logical outcome, 
that human solidarity on which Theosophy so strongly insists. If the 
action of one reacts on the lives of all, and this is the true scientific 
idea, then it is only by all men becoming brothers and all women 
sisters, and by all practising in their daily lives true brotherhood and 
true sisterhood, that the real human solidarity, which lies at the root 
of the elevation of the race, can ever be attained. It is this action and 
interaction, this true brotherhood and sisterhood, in which each shall 
live for all and all for each, which is one of the fundamental Theo- 
sophical principles that every Theosophist should be bound, not only to 
teach, but to carry out in his or her individual life. 

Knq. All this is very well as a general principle, but hoiv would you 
apply it in a concrete way ? 

Theo. IyOok for a moment at what you would call the concrete facts 
of human society. Contrast the lives not only of the masses of the 
people, but of many of those who are called the middle and upper 
classes, with what they might be under healthier and nobler conditions, 
where justice, kindness, and love were paramount, instead of the 
selfishness, indifference, and brutality which now too often seem to 
reign supreme. All good and evil things in humanity have their roots 
i n human character, and this character is, and has been, conditioned by 
the endless chain of cause and effect. But this conditioning applies to 
the future as well as to the present and the past. Selfishness, indiffer- 
ence, and brutality can never be the normal .state of the race to believe 
so would be to despair of humanity, and that no Theosophist can do. 
Progress can be attained, and only attained, by the development of the 
nobler qualities. Now, true evolution teaches us that by altering the 
surroundings of the organism we can alter and improve the organism ; 
and in the strictest sense this is true with regard to man. Every Theo- 
sophist, therefore, is bound to do his utmost to help on, by all the means 
in his power, every wise and well-considered social effort which has for 
its object the amelioration of the condition of the poor. Such efforts 
should be made with a view to their ultimate social emancipation, or 
the development of the sense of duty in those who now so often neglect 
it in nearly every relation of life. 

Enq. Agreed. But who is to decide whether social efforts are wise or 
unwise? 

Theo. No one person and no society can lay down a hard-and-fast 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 159 

rule in this respect. Much must necessarily be left to the individual 
judgment. One general test may, however, be given. Will the pro- 
posed action tend to promote that true brotherhood which it is the aim 
of Theosophy to bring about? No real Theosophist will have much 
difficulty in applying such a test ; once he is satisfied of this, his duty 
will lie in the direction of forming public opinion. And this can be 
attained only by inculcating those higher and nobler conceptions of 
public and private duties which lie at the root of all spiritual and 
material improvement. In every conceivable case he himself must be 
a centre of spi ritual action, and from him and his own daily individual 
life must radiate those higher spiritual forces which alone can re- 
generate his fellow-men. 

Enq. But why should he do this? Are not he and all, as you teach, 
conditioned by their Karma, and must riot Karma necessarily work itself 
out on certain lines ? 

Theo. It is this very law of Karma which gives strength to all that 
I have said. The individual cannot separate himself from the race, 
nor the race from the individual. The law of Karma applies equally 
to all, although all are not equally developed. In helping on the 
development of others, the Theosophist believes that he is not only 
helping them to fulfil their Karma, but that he is also, in the strictest 
sense, fulfilling his own. It is the development of humanity, of which 
both he and they are integral parts, that he has always in view, and he 
knows that any failure on his part to respond to the highest within him 
retards not only himself but all, in their progressive march. By his 
actions, he can make it either more difficult or more easy for humanity 
to attain the next higher plane of being. 

Enq. How does this bear on the fourth of the principles you mentioned, 
viz., reincarnation ? 

Theo. The connection is most intimate. If our present lives 
depend upon the development of certain principles which are a 
growth from the germs left by a previous existence, the law holds 
good as regards the future. Once grasp the idea that universal causa- 
tion is not merely present, but past, present and future, and every 
action on our present plane falls naturally and easily into its true 
place, and is seen in its true relation to ourselves and to others. Every 
mean and selfish action sends us backward and not forward, while 
every noble thought and every unselfish deed are stepping-stones to 



l6o THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

the higher and more glorious planes of being. If this life were all, 
then in many respects it would indeed be poor and mean ; but regarded 
as a preparation for the next sphere of existence, it may be used as the 
golden gate through which we may pass, not selfishly and alone, but in 
company with our fellows, to the palaces which lie beyond. 

ON SELF-SACRIFICE. 

Enq. Is equal justice to all and love to every creature the highest 
standard of Theosophy ? 

Theo. No ; there is an even far higher one. 

Enq. What can it be? 

Theo. The giving to others more than to oneself self-sacrifice. 
Such was the standard and abounding measure which marked so pre- 
eminently the greatest teachers and masters of humanity such as 
Gautama Buddha in history, and Jesus of Nazareth in the gospels. 
This trait alone was enough to secure them the perpetual reverence 
and gratitude of the generations of men that came after them. We 
say, however, that self-sacrifice has to be performed with discrimina- 
tion; and such a self-abandonment, if made without justice, or blindly, 
regardless of subsequent results, may often prove not only to have 
been made in vain, but even to be harmful. One of the fundamental 
rules of Theosophy is, justice to oneself viewed as a unit of collective 
humanity, not as a personal self justice, not more but not less than to 
others; unless, indeed, by the sacrifice of the one Self we can benefit 
the many. 

Enq. Could you make your idea clea?'cr by giving an instance? 

Theo. There are many instances to illustrate it in history. Self- 
sacrifice for the practical good of many, or several people, Theosophy 
holds far higher than self-abnegation for a sectarian idea, such as that 
of "saving the heathen from damnation," for instance. In our opinion, 
Father Damien, the young man of thirty who offered his whole life in 
sacrifice for the benefit and alleviation of the sufferings of the lepers 
at Molokai, who, after living for eighteen years alone with them, finally 
caught the loathsome disease and died, has not died in vain. He has 
given relief and relative happiness to thousands of miserable wretches. 
He has brought to them consolation, mental and physical. He threw 
a streak of light into the black and dreary night of an existence, the 
hopelessness of which is unparalleled in the records of human suffer- 
ing. He was a true Theosophist, and his memory will live for ever in 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. l6l 

our annals. In our sight, this poor Belgian priest stands immeasur- 
ably higher than, for instance, all those sincere but vain-glorious fools, 
the missionaries who have sacrificed their lives in the South Sea 
Islands or China. What good have they done? They went in one 
case to those who were not yetrioe for any truth; and in the other to a 
nation whose systems of religious philosophy are as grand as any, if 
only the men who have them would live up to the standard of their 
Confucius and other sages. They died victims of irresponsible canni- 
bals and savages, and of popular fanaticism and hatred. Whereas, by 
going to the slums of Whitechapel, or some other such locality of those 
that stagnate right under the blazing sun of our civilization, full of 
Christian savages and mental leprosy, they might have done real good, 
and preserved their lives for a better and worthier cause. 

Enq. But the Christians do not think so. 

Theo. Of course not, for 'they act on an erroneous belief. They 
nink that by baptizing the body of an irresponsible savage they save 
his soul from damnation. One church forgets her martyrs, the other 
beatifies and raises statues to such men as Labre, who sacrificed his 
body for forty years only to benefit the vermin which it bred. Had we 
the means to do so, we would raise a statue to Father Damien, the true, 
practical saint, and perpetuate his memory for ever as a living exemplar 
of Theosophical heroism and of Buddha- and Christ-like mercy and 
self-sacrifice. 

Enq. Then you regard self-sacrifice as a duty ? 

Theo. We do; and explain it by showing that altruism is an integral 
p art of self-development . But we have to discriminate. A man has no 
right to starve himself to death that another man may have food, unless 
the life of that man is obviously more useful to the many than is his 
own life. But it is his duty to sacrifice his own comfort, and to work 
for others if they are unable to work for themselves. It is his duty 
to give all that is wholly his own and can benefit no one but himself if 
he selfishly keeps it from others. Theosophy teaches self-abnegation, 
but does not teach rash and ^ useless self-sacrifice, nor does it justify 
fanaticism. 

Enq. But hoiu are we to reach such an elevated status ? 

Theo. By the enlightened application of our precepts to practice. 
By the use of our higher reason, spiritual intuition and moral sense, 
and by following the dictates of what we call "the still small voice" of 



162 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

our conscience, which is that of our Ego, and speaks louder in us than 
the earthquakes and the thunders of Jehovah, wherein "the L,ord is 
not." 

Enq. If such are our duties to humanity at large, what do you under- 
stand by our duties to our immediate surroundings ? 

Theo. Just the same, plus those that arise from special obligations 
with regard to family ties. 

Enq. Then it is not true, as it is said, that no sooner does a man enter 
into the Theosophical Society than he begins to be gradually severed from 
his wife, children, and family duties ? 

Theo. It is a groundless calumny, like so many others. The first 
of the Theosophical duties is to do one's duty by all men, and especially 
by those to whom one's specific responsibilities are due, because one has 
either voluntarily undertaken them such as marriage ties or because 
one's destiny has allied one to them such as those we owe to parents 
or next of kin. 

Enq. And what may be the duty of a Theosophist to himself? 

Theo. To control and conquer, through the Higher Self, the lower 
self. To purify himself inwardly and morally; to fear no one, and 
nought, save the tribunal of his own conscience. Never to do a thing 
by halves; i.e., if he thinks it the right thing to do, let him do it openly 
and boldly, and if wrong, never touch it at all. It is the duty of a 
Theosophist to lighten his burden by thinking of the wise aphorism of 
Epictetus, who says: 

Be not diverted from your duty by any idle reflection the silly world may make 
upon you, for their censures are not in your power, and consequently should not be 
any part of your concern. 

Enq. But suppose a member of your Society should plead inability to 
practise altruism to other people, on the ground that " charity begins at 
home " ; urging that he is too busy, or too poor, to be?iefit mankind or even 
any of its units what are your rules in such a case? 

Theo. No man, on any pretext whatever, has a right to say that he 
can do nothing for others. "By doing the proper duty in the proper 
place, a man may make the world his debtor," says an English writer. 
A cup of cold water given in time to a thirsty wayfarer is a nobler duty 
and of more worth, than a dozen dinners given away, out of season, 
to men who can afford to pay for them. No man who has not got it in 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 163 

him will ever become a Theosophist; but he may remain a member of 
our Society all the same. We have no rules by which we can force any 
man to become a practical Theosophist, if he does not desire to be one. 

Enq. The?i why does he enter the Society at all? 

Theo. That is best known to him who does so. For, here again, 
we have no right to prejudge a person, not even if the voice of a whole 
community should be against him, and I may tell you why. In our 
day, vox populi so far as regards the voice of the educated, at any rate 
is no longer vox del, but ever that of prejudice, of selfish motives, 
and often simply of unpopularity. Our duty is to sow seeds broadcast 
for the future, and see they are good ; not to stop to enquire why we 
should do so, and how and wherefore we are obliged to lose our time, 
since those who will reap the harvest in days to come will never be 
ourselves. 

ON CHARITY. 

Enq. How do you Theosophists regard the Christian duly of charity? 

Theo. What charity do you mean? Charity of mind, or practical 
charity on the physical plane? 

Enq. / mean practical charity, as your idea of universal brotherhood 
would include, of course, charity of mind. 

Theo. Then you have in your mind the practical carrying out of 
the commandments given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount? 

Enq. Precisely so. 

Theo. Then why call them "Christian"? For, although their 
Saviour preached and practised them, the last thing the Christians of 
to-day think of is to carry them out in their lives. 

Enq. And yet many are those who pass their lives in dispensing charity. 

Theo. Yes, out of the surplus of their great fortunes. But point 
out to ine that Christian, among the most philanthropic, who would 
give the shivering and starving thief who steals his coat his cloak also; 
or offer his right cheek to him who smites him on the left, and never 
think of resenting it? 

Enq. Ah, but you must remember that these precepts have not to be 
taken literally. Times and circumstances have changed since Christ's day. 
Moreover, He spoke in parables. 

Theo. Then why do not your Churches teach that the doctrine of 



II 



/ 



164 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

damnation and hell-fire is to be understood as a parable too? Why do 
some of your most popular preachers, while virtually allowing these 
parables to be understood as you take them, insist on the literal mean- 
ing of the fires of hell and the physical tortures of an "asbestos-like" 
soul? If one is a parable, then the other is. If hell-fire is a literal 
truth, then Christ's commandments in the Sermon on the Mount have 
to be oheyed to the very letter. And I tell you that many who do not 
believe in the divinity of Christ like Count I,eo Tolstoi and more than 
one Theosophist do carry out these noble and universal precepts 
literally; and many more good men and women wou ld do_so , were 
they not more than certain that such a walk in life would very probably 
land them in a lunatic asylum so Christian are your laws ! 

Enq. But surely every one knows that millions and millions are spent 
annually on private and public charities? 

Theo. Oh, yes; and half of it sticks to the hands it passes through 
before getting to the needy; while a good portion of the remainder 
gets into the hands of professional be ggars , who are too lazy to work, 
thus doing no good whatever to those who are really in misery and 
suffering. Have you not heard that the first result of the great outflow 
of charity towards the East-end of London was to raise the rents in 
Whitechapel some 20 per cent? 

Enq. What would you do, then ? 

Theo. Act individuall y and not collectively; follow the Northern 
Buddhist precepts : 

Never put food into the mouth of the hungry by the hand of another. 

Never let the shadow of thy neighbour [a third person] come between thyself 
and the object of thy bounty. 

Never give to the sun time to dry a tear before thou hast wiped it. 

Never give money to the needy, or food to the priest, who begs at thy door, 
through thy servants, lest thy money should diminish gratitude, and thy food turn 
to gall. 

Enq. But how ca?i this be applied practically ? 

Theo. The Theosophical idea of charity means personal exertion for 
others; personal mercy and kindness; personal interest in the welfare of 
those who suffer; personal sympathy, forethought and assistance in their 
troubles or needs. Theosophists do not believe in giving money 
through other people's hands or organizations. We believe in giving 
to the money a thousandfold greater power and effectiveness by our 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 1 65 

personal contact and sympathy with those who need it. We believe in 
relieving the starvation of the soul, as much if not more than the 
emptiness of the stomach; for gratitude does more good to the man 
who feels it, than to him for whom it is felt. Where is the gratitude 
which your "millions of pounds" should have called forth, or the good 
feelings provoked by them ? Is it shown in the hatred of the East-end 
poor for the rich, in the growth of the party of anarchy and disorder, or 
by those thousands of unfortunate working girls, victims to the "sweat- 
ing" system, driven daily to eke out a living by going on the streets? 
Do your helpless old men and women thank you for the workhouses; 
or your poor for the poisouously unhealthy dwellings in which they 
are allowed to breed new generations of diseased, scrofulous and 
rickety children, only to put money into the pockets of the insatiable 
Shylocks who own houses? Therefore it is that every sovereign of all 
those "millions," contributed by good and would-be charitable people, 
falls like a burning curse instead of a blessing on the poor whom it 
should relieve. We call this generating national Karma, and terrible |j 
will be its results on the day of reckoning. '' 

THEOSOPHY FOR THE MASSES. 
Enq. And you think that Theosophy would, by stepping in, help to 
remove these evils, under the practical and adverse conditions of our modern 
life? 

Theo. Had we more money, and had not most of the Theosophists 
to work for their daily bread, I firmly believe we could. 

Enq. How? Do you expect that your doctrines could ever take hold of 
the uneducated masses, whe?i they are so abstruse and difficult that well- 
educated people can hardly understand them ? 

Theo. You forget one thing; that your much-boasted modern edu - I 
cation is precisely that which makes it difficult for you to understand 
Theosophy. Your mind is so full of intellectual subtleties and precon- 
ceptions that your natural intuition and perception of truth cannot act. 
It does not require metaphysics or education to make a man understand 
the broad truths of Karma and reincarnation. Look at the millions of 
poor and uneducated Buddhists and Hindus, to whom Karma and re- 
incarnation are solid realities, simply because their minds have never 
been cramped and distorted by being forced into an unnatural groove. 
They have never had the innate human sense of justice perverted in 
them by being told to believe that their sins would be forgiven because 



1 66 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

another man had been put to death for their sakes. And the Buddhists, 
note well, live up to their beliefs without a murmur against Karma, or 
what they regard as a just punishment; whereas the Christian populace 
neither lives up to its moral ideal, nor accepts its lot contentedly. 
Hence murmuring and dissatisfaction, and the intensity of the struggle 
for existence in Western lands. 

Knq. But this contentedness, which you praise so much, would do away 
with all motive for exertion and bring progress to a standstill. 

Theo. And we, Theosophists, say that your vaunted progress and 
civilization are no better than a host of will-o'-the-wisps, flickering over 
a marsh which exhales a poisonous and deadly miasma. This, because 
we see selfishness, crime, immorality, and all the evils imaginable, 
pouncing upon unfortunate mankind from this Pandora's box which 
you call an age of progress, and increasing pari passu with the growth 
of your material civilization. At such a price, better the inertia and 
inactivity of Buddhist countries, which have resulted only as a conse- 
quence of ages of political slavery. / 

Knq. Then are all these metaphysics and mysticism with which you 
occupy yourself so much, of no importance ? 

Theo. To the masses, who need only practical guidance and sup- 
port, they are not of much consequence; but for the educated, the 
natural leaders of the masses, those whose modes of thought and action 
will sooner or later be adopted by these masses, they are of the greatest 
importance. It is only by means of the philosophy that an intelligent 
and educated man can avoid the intellectual suicide of believing on 
blind faith; and it is only by assimilating the strict continuity and 
logical coherence of the Eastern, if not Esoteric, doctrines, that he can 
realize their truth. Conviction breeds enthusiasm, and "enthusiasm," 
says Bulwer Lytton, "is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes 
no victories without it"; while Emerson most truly remarks that "every 
great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is the 
triumph of enthusiasm." And what is more calculated to produce such 
a feeling than a philosophy so grand, so consistent, so logical, and so 
all-embracing as our Eastern doctrines? 

Enq. And yet its enemies are very numerous, and every day Theosophy 
acquires new opponents. 

ThEO. And this is precisely what proves its intrinsic excellence and 
value. People hate only the things they fear, and no one goes out of 



THE key to theosophy. 167 

his way to overthrow that which neither threatens nor rises beyond 
mediocrity. 

Enq. Do you hope to impart this enthusiasm, one day, to the masses? 

Theo. Why not; since history tells us that the masses adopted 
Buddhism with enthusiasm, while, as said before, the practical effect 
upon them of this philosophy of ethics is still shown by the smallness 
of the percentage of crime amongst Buddhist populations as compared 
with every other religion ? The chief point is, to uproot that most fer- 
tile source of all crime and immorality the belief that it is possible 
for men to escape the consequences of their own actions. Once teach '< 
them that greatest of all laws, Karma and reincarnation, and besides 
feeling in themselves the true dignity of human nature, they will turn 
from evil and eschew it as they would a physical danger. 

HOW MEMBERS CAN HELP THE SOCIETY. 

Enq. How do you expect the Fclloxvs of your Society to help in the work ? 

Theo. First by studying and comprehending the theosophical doc- 
trines, so that they may teach others, especially the young people. 
Secondly, by taking every opportunity of talking to others and ex- 
plaining to them what Theosophy is and what it is not; by removing 
misconceptions and spreading an interest in the subject. Thirdly, by 
assisting in circulating our literature, by buying books when they have 
the means, by lending and giving them and by inducing their friends 
to do so. Fourthly, by defending the Society from the unjust asper- 
sions cast upon it, by every legitimate device in their power. Fifth, 
and most important of all, by the example of their own lives. 

Enq. But all this literature, to the spread of which you attach so much 
importance, does not seem to me of much practical use in helping mankind. 
This is not practical charity. 

Theo. We think otherwise. We hold that a good book which gives 
people food for thought, which strengthens and clears their minds, and 
enables them to grasp truths which they have dimly felt but could not 
formulate we hold that such a book does a real, substantial good. As 
to what you call practical deeds of charity, to benefit the bodies of our 
fellow-men, we do what little we can: but, as I have already told you, 
most of us are poor, whilst the Society itself has not even the money to 
pay a staff of workers. All of us who toil for it, give our labour gratis, 
and in most cases money as well. The few who have the means of 
doing what are usually called charitable actions, follow the Buddhist 



'I 



l68 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

precepts and do their work themselves, not by proxy or by subscribing 
publicly to charitable funds. What the Theosophist has to do above 
all is to forget his personality. 

WHAT A THEOSOPHIST OUGHT NOT TO DO. 

Enq. Have you any prohibitory laws or clauses for Theosophists in your 
Society ? 

Theo. Many, but, alas! none of them are enforced. They express 
the ideal of our organization but the practical application of such 
things we are compelled to leave to the discretion of the Fellows them- 
selves. Unfortunately, the state of men's minds in the present century 
is such that, unless we allow these clauses to remain, so to speak, 
obsolete, no man or woman would dare to risk joining the Theosophical 
Society. This is precisely why I feel forced to lay such a stress on the 
difference between true Theosophy and its hard-struggling and well- 
intentioned, but still unworthy vehicle, the Theosophical Society. 

Enq. May I be told what are these perilous reefs in the open sea of 
Theosophy ? 

Theo. Well may you call them reefs, as more than one otherwise 
sincere and well-meaning F.T.S. has had his Theosophical canoe 
shattered into splinters on them! And yet to avoid certain things 
seems the easiest thing in the world to do. For instance, here is a 
series of such negatives, screening positive Theosophical duties: 

No Theosophist should be silent when he hears evil reports or 
slanders spread about the Society, or innocent persons, whether they 
be his colleagues or outsiders. 

Enq. But suppose what one hears is the truth, or may be true without 
one knowing it ? 

Theo. Then you must demand good proofs of the assertion, and 
hear both sides impartially before you permit the accusation to go 
uncontradicted. You have no right to believe in evil, until you get 
undeniable proof of the correctness of the statement. 

Enq. And what should you do then ? 

Theo. Pity and forbearance, charity and long-suffering, ought to be 
always there to prompt us to excuse our sinning brethren, and to pass 
the gentlest sentence possible upon those who err. A Theosophist 
ought never to forget what is due to the shortcomings and infirmities 
of human nature. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 1 69 

Enq. 0?ighl he to forgive entirely in such cases? 

Theo. In every case, especially he who is sinned against. 

Enq. But if by so doing, he risks injuring or allows others to be in- 
jured ? What ought he to do then ? 

Theo. His duty; that which his conscience and higher nature sug- 
gest to him; but only after mature deliberation. Justice consists in 
doing no injury to any living being; but justice commands us also 
never to allow injury to be done to the many, or even to one innocent 
person, by allowing the guilty one to go unchecked. 

Enq. What are the other negative clauses? 

Theo. No Theosophist ought to be contented with an idle or 
frivolous life, doing no real good to himself and still less to others. 
He should work for the benefit of the few who need his help if he is 
unable to toil for humanity, and thus work for the advancement of the 
Theosophical cause. 

Enq. This demands an exceptional nature, and would come rather hard 
up07i some persons. 

Theo. Then they had better remain outside of the T. S. instead of 
sailing under false colours. No one is asked to give more than he can 
afford, whether in devotion, time, work or money. 

Enq. What comes next? 

Theo. No working member should set too great value on his per- 
sonal progress or proficiency in Theosophic studies; but must be 
prepared rather to do as much altruistic work as lies in his power. He 
should not leave the whole of the heavy burden and responsibility of 
the Theosophical movement on the shoulders of the few devoted 
workers. Each member ought to feel it his duty to take what share 
he can in the common work, and help it by every means in his power. 

Enq. This is but just. What comes next? 

Theo. No Theosophist should place his personal vanity, or feelings, 
above those of his Society as a body. He who sacrifices the latter, or 
other people's reputations on the altar of his personal vanity, worldly 
benefit, or pride, ought not to be allowed to remain a member. One 
cancerous limb diseases the whole body. 

Enq. Is it the duty of every member to teach others a?id preach Theo- 
sophy ? 



170 the key to theosophy. 

Theo. It is indeed. No fellow has a right to remain idle, on the 
excuse that he knows too little to teach. For he may always be sure 
that he will find others who know still less than himself. And also it 
is not until a man begins to try to teach others, that he discovers his 
own ignorance and tries to remove it. But this is a minor clause. 

Enq. What do you consider, then, to be the chief of these negative Theo- 
sophical duties ? 

Theo. To be ever prepared to recognize and confess one's faults. 
To rather sin through exaggerated praise than through too little appre- 
ciation of one's neighbour's efforts. Never to backbite or slander 
another person. Always to say openly and direct to his face anything 
you have against him. Never to make yourself the echo of anything 
you may hear against another, nor harbour revenge against those who 
happen to injure you. 

Enq. But it is often dangerous to tell people the truth to their faces. 
Do you not think so? I know of one of your members who was bitterly 
offended, left the Society, and became its greatest enemy, only because he was 
told some unpleasant truths to his face, and was blamed for them. 

Theo. Of such we have had many. No member, whether promi- 
nent or insignificant, has ever left us without becoming our bitter 
enemy. 

Enq. How do you account for it? 

Theo. It is simply this. Having been, in most cases, intensely 
devoted to the Society at first, and having lavished upon it the most 
exaggerated praises, the only possible excuse such a backslider can 
make for his subsequent behaviour and past short-sightedness, is to 
pose as an innocent and deceived victim, thus casting the blame from his 
own shoulders on to those of the Society in general, and its leaders 
especially. Such persons remind one of the old fable about the man 
with a distorted face, who broke his looking-glass in the belief that it 
reflected his countenance crookedly. 

Enq. But what makes these people turn against the Society ? 

Theo. Wounded vanity in some form or other, almost in every case. 
Generally, because their dicta and advice are not taken as final and 
authoritative; or else, because they are of those who would rather reign 
in hell than serve in heaven. Because, in short, they cannot bear to 
stand second to anybody in anything. So, for instance, one member 



The key to theosophy. 171 

a true "Sir Oracle" criticized, and almost defamed every member in 
the T. S. to outsiders as much as to Theosophists, under the pretext 
that they were all "untheosophical," blaming them precisely for what 
he was himself doing all the time. Finally, he left the Society, giving 
as his reason a profound conviction that we were all (the founders 
especially) frauds! Another one, after intriguing in every possible 
way to be placed at the head of a large Section of the Society, finding 
that the members would not have him, turned against the founders of 
the T. S., and became their bitterest enemy, denouncing one of them 
whenever he could, simply because the latter could not, and would not, 
force him upon the members. This was simply a case of an outrageous 
wounded vanity. Still another wanted to, and virtually did, practise 
black magic i.e., undue personal psychological influence on certain 
Fellows, while pretending devotion and every theosophical virtue. 
When this was put a stop to, the member broke with Theosophy, and 
now slanders and lies against the same hapless leaders in the most 
virulent manner, endeavouring to break up the Society by blackening 
the reputation of those whom that worthy person was unable to 
deceive. 

Enq. What would you do with such characters ? 

Theo. Leave them to their Karma. Because one person does evil 
that is no reason for others to do so. 

Enq. But, to return to slander, where is the line of demarcation between 
backbiting and just criticism to be drawn? Is it not one's duty to warn 
one 's friends and neighbours against those whom one knows to be dangerous 
associates? 

Theo. If by allowing them to go on unchecked other persons may 
be thereby injured, it is certainly our dut)^ to obviate the danger by 
warning them privately. But true or false, no accusation against 
another person should ever be spread abroad. If true, and the fault 
hurts no one but the sinner, then leave him to his Karma. If false, 
then you will have avoided adding to the injustice in the world. 
Therefore, keep silent about such things with every one not directly 
concerned. But if your discretion and silence are likely to hurt or 
endanger others, then I add : Speak the truth at all costs, and say, with 
Annesly: "Consult duty, not events." There are cases when one is 
forced to exclaim: "Perish discretion, rather than allow it to interfere 
with duty." 



172 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Enq. Methinks, if you carry out these maxims, you are likely to reap a 
nice crop of troubles! 

Theo. And so we do. We have to admit that we are now open to 
the same taunt as the early Christians were. "See, how these Theo- 
sophists love one another!" may now be said of us without a shadow 
of injustice. 

Enq. Admitting yourself that there is at least as much, if not more, 
backbiting, slandering, and quarrelling in the T. S. as in the Christian 
Churches, let alone Scientific Societies ; zvhat kind of brotherhood is this, 
may I ask ? 

Theo. A very poor specimen, indeed, as at present, and until care- 
fully sifted and reorganized, no better than all others. Remember, 
however, that human nature is the same in the Theosophical Society as 
out of it. Its members are no saints: they are at best sinners trying to 
do better, and liable to fall back owing to personal weakness. Add to 
this that our "Brotherhood" is no recognized or established body, and 
stands, so to speak, outside of the pale of jurisdiction. Besides which, 
it is in a chaotic condition, and more unjustly unpopular than any other 
body. What wonder, then, that those members who fail to carry out its 
ideal should, after leaving the Society, turn for sympathetic protection 
to our enemies, and pour all their gall and bitterness into their too 
willing ears! Knowing that they will find support, sympathy, and 
ready credence for every accusation, however absurd, that it may please 
them to launch against the Theosophical Society, they hasten to do so, 
and vent their wrath on the innocent looking-glass, which reflected too 
faithfully their faces. People never forgive those whom they have 
w 7 ronged. The sense of kindness received, and repaid by them with 
ingratitude, drives them into a madness of self-justification before the 
world and their own consciences. The former is but too ready to 
believe in anything said against a Society it hates. The latter but I 
will say no more, fearing I have already said too much. 

Enq. Your position does not seem to me a very enviable o?ie. 

Theo. It is not. But do you not think that there must be something 
very noble, very exalted, very true, behind the Society and its philo- 
sophy, when the leaders and the founders of the movement still con- 
tinue to work for it with all their strength? They sacrifice to it all 
comfort, all worldly prosperity and success, even to their good name 
and reputation aye, even to their honour to receive in return inces- 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 173 

sant and ceaseless obloquy, relentless persecution, untiring slander, 
constant ingratitude, and misunderstanding of their best efforts, blows 
and buffets from all sides when by simply dropping their work they 
would find themselves immediately released from every responsibility, 
shielded from every further attack. 

Bnq. / confess, szuh a perseverance seems to me very astounding, and 
I wondered why you did all this. 

Theo. Believe me for no self-gratification; only in the hope of 
training a few individuals to carry on our work for humanity with its 
original programme when the founders are dead and gone. They have 
already found a few such noble and devoted souls to replace them. 
The coming generations, thanks to these few, will find the path to 
peace a little less thorny, and the way a little widened, and thus all 
this suffering will have produced good results, and their self-sacrifice 
will not have been in vain. At present, the main, fundamental object 
of the Society is to sow germs in the hearts of men, which may in time 
sprout, and under more propitious circumstances lead to a healthy 
reform, conducive of more happiness to the masses than they have 
hitherto enjoyed. 



XIII. 

ON THE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE THEO- 
SOPHICAL SOCIETY. 



THEOSOPHY AND ASCETICISM. 

Enq. / have heard people say that your rules require all members to be 
vegetarians, celibates, and rigid ascetics ; but you have not told me anything 
of the sort yet. Can you tell me the truth once for all about this? 

Theo. The truth is that our rules require nothing of the kind. 
The Theosophical Society does not even expect, far less require of 
any of its members that they should be ascetics in any way, except if 
you call that asceticism that they should try and benefit other people 
and be unselfish in their own lives. 

Enq. But still many of your members are strict vegetarians, and openly 
avozv their intention of remaining unmarried. This, too, is most often the 
case with those who take a prominent part in connection with the work of 
your Society. 

Theo. That is only natural, because most of our really earnest 
workers are members of the inner section of the Society, about which 
I told you before. 

Enq. Oh! then you do require ascetic practices in that imier section ? 

Theo. No ; we do not require or enjoin them even there; but I see 
that I had better give you an explanation of our views on the subject 
of asceticism in general, and then you will understand about vege- 
tarianism and so on. 

Enq. Please proceed. 

Theo. As I have already told you, most people who become really 
earnest students of Theosophy, and active workers in our Society, wish 
to do more than study theoretically the truths we teach. They wish to 
know the truth by their own direct personal experience, and to study 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 175 

occultism with the object of acquiring the wisdom and power, which 
they feel they need in order to help others, effectually and judiciously, 
instead of blindly and at haphazard. Therefore, sooner or later, they 
join the inner section. 

Enq. But you said that "ascetic practices" are not obligatory even in 
that i?iner section. 

Theo. No more they are; but the first thing which the members 
learn there is a true conception of the relation of the body, or physical 
sheath, to the inner, the true man. The relation and mutual inter- 
action between these two aspects of human nature are explained and 
demonstrated to them, so that they soon become imbued with the 
supreme importance of the inner man over the outer case or body. 
They are taught that blind unintelligent asceticism is mere folly; that 
such conduct as that of St. L,abre of which I spoke before, or that of 
the Indian Fakirs and jungle ascetics, who cut, burn, and macerate 
their bodies in the most cruel and horrible manner, is simply self- 
torture for selfish ends, i.e., to develop will-power, but is perfectly 
useless for the purpose of assisting true spiritual, or theosophic, 
development. 

Enq. / see, you regard only moral asceticism as necessary. It is as a 
means to an end, that end being the perfect equilibrium of the inner nature 
of matt, and the attainment of complete mastery over the body with all its 
passions and desires. 

Theo. Just so. But these means must be used intelligently and 
wisely, not blindly and foolishly; like an athlete who is training and 
preparing for a great contest, not like the miser who starves himself 
into illness that he may gratify his passion for gold. 

Enq. I understand now your general idea; but let us see how you apply 
it i?i practice. How about vegetarianism, for instance. 

Theo. One of the great German scientists has shown that every 
kind of animal tissue, however you may cook it, still retains certain 
marked characteristics of the animal to which it belonged, and these 
characteristics can be recognized. Apart from that also, every one 
knows by the taste what meat he is eating. We go a step farther, and 
prove that when the flesh of animals is assimilated by man as food, it 
imparts to him, physiologically, some of the characteristics of the 
animal it came from. Moreover, occult science teaches and proves this 
to its students by ocular demonstration, showing also that this "coarsen- 



176 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

ing" or "animalizing" effect on man is greatest from the flesh of the 
larger animals, less for birds, still less for fish and other cold-blooded 
animals, and least of all when he eats only vegetables. 

Enq. Then would it be better not to eat at all? 

Theo. If he could live without eating, of course it would. But as 
the matter stands, he must eat to live, and so we advise really earnest 
students to eat such food as will least clog and weight their brains and 
bodies, and will have the smallest effect in hampering and retarding the 
development of their intuition, their inner faculties and powers. 

JZ^Q. Then you do not adopt all the arguments which vegetarians in 
general are in the habit of usiiig? 

Theo. Certainly not. Some of their arguments are very weak, and 
often based 011 assumptions which are quite false. But on the other 
hand, many of the things they say are quite true. For instance, we 
believe that much disease, and especially the great predisposition to 
disease which is becoming so marked a feature in our time, is very 
largely due to the eating of meat, and especially of tinned meats. But 
it would take too long to go thoroughly into this question of vege- 
tarianism on its merits; so please pass on to something else. 

Enq. One question more. What are your members of the inner section 
to do with regard to their food when they are ill? 

Theo. Follow the best practical advice they can get, of course. Do 
you not grasp yet that we never impose any hard-and-fast obligations 
in this respect ? Remember once for all that in all such questions we 
take a rational, and never a fanatical, view of things. If from illness 
or long habit a man cannot go without meat, why, by all means let him 
eat it. It is no crime ; it will only retard his progress a little; for after 
all is said and done, the purely bodily actions and functions are of far 
less importance than what a man thinks and feels, what desires he en- 
courages in his mind, and allows to take root and grow there. 

Knq. Then with regard to the use of wine and spirits, I suppose you do 
not advise people to drink them ? 

Theo. They are worse for his moral and spiritual growth than 
meat, for alcohol in all its forms has a direct, marked, and very dele- 
terious influence on man's psychic condition. Wine and spirit drink- 
ing is only less destructive to the development of the inner powers, 
than the habitual use of hashish, opium, and similar drugs. 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 177 

THEOSOPHY AND MARRIAGE. 

Enq. Now to another question; mtist a man marry or remain a celibate? 

Theo. It depends on the kind of man you mean. If you refer 
to one who intends to live in the world, one who, even though a good, 
earnest Theosophist, and an ardent worker for our cause, still has ties 
and wishes which bind him to the world, who, in short, does not feel 
that he has done for ever with what men call life, and that he desires 
one thing and one thing only to know the truth, and to be able to 
help others then for such a one I say there is no reason why he 
should not marry, if he likes to take the risks of that lottery where 
there are so many more blanks than prizes. Surely. 30U cannot believe 
us so absurd and fanatical as to preach against marriage altogether? 
On the contrary, save in a few exceptional cases of practical occultism, 
marriage is the only remedy against immorality. 

Enq. But why cannot one acquire this knowledge and power when living 
a married life ? 

Theo. My dear sir, I cannot go into physiological questions with 
you; but I can give you an obvious and, I think, a sufficient answer, 
which will explain to you the moral reasons we give for it. Can a man 
serve two masters? No! Then it is equally impossible for him to 
divide his attention between the pursuit of occultism and a wife. If 
he tries to, he will, assuredly fail in doing either properly; and, let me 
remind you, practical occultism is far too serious and dangerous a 
study for a man to take up, unless he is in the most deadly earnest, 
and ready to sacrifice all, himself first of all, to gain his end. But this 
does not apply to the members of our inner section. I am only refer- 
ring to those who are determined to tread that path of discipleship 
which leads to the highest goal. Most, if not all of those who join our 
inner section, are only beginners, preparing themselves in this life to 
enter in reality upon that path in lives to come. 

THEOSOPHY AND EDUCATION. 
Enq. One of your strongest arguments for the inadequacy of the exist- 
ing forms of religion in the West, as also to some extent the materialistic 
philosophy which is now so popular, but which you seem to consider as an 
abomination of desolation, is the large amount of misery and wretched?iess 
which undeniably exists, especially in our great cities. But surely you must 
recognize how much has been, and is being done to remedy this slate of things 
by the spread of education and the diffusion of in-tclligcnce. 



178 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Theo. The future generations will hardly thank you for such a 
"diffusion of intelligence," nor will your present education do much 
good to the poor starving masses. 

Enq. Ah ! but you must give us time. It is only a few years since we 
began to edtccate the people. 

Theo. And what, pray, has your Christian religion been doing ever 
since the fifteenth century, once you acknowledge that the education 
of the masses has not been attempted till now the very work, if ever 
there could be one, which a Christian, i.e., a Christ-following church 
and people, ought to perform? 

Enq. Well, you may be right ; but now 

Theo. Just let us consider this question of education from a broad 
standpoint, and I will prove to you that you are doing harm not good, 
with many of your boasted improvements. The schools for the poorer 
children, though far less useful than they ought to be, are good in 
contrast with the vile surroundings to which they are doomed by your 
modern society. The infusion of a little practical Theosophy would 
help a hundred times more in life the poor suffering masses than all 
this infusion of useless intelligence. 

Enq. But, really 

Theo. Let me finish, please. You have opened a subject on which 
we Theosophists feel deeply, and I must have my say. I quite agree 
that there is a great advantage to a small child bred in the slums, 
having the gutter for playground, and living amid continued coarse- 
ness of gesture and word, in being placed daily in a bright, clean 
school-room hung with pictures, and often gay with flowers. There it 
is taught to be clean, gentle, orderly; there it learns to sing and to 
play; has toys that awaken its intelligence; learns to use its fingers 
deftly; is spoken to with a smile instead of a frown; is gently rebuked 
or coaxed instead of cursed. All this humanizes the children, arouses 
their brains and renders them susceptible to intellectual and moral 
influences. The schools are not all they might be and ought to be; 
but, compared with the homes, they are paradises ; and they are slowly 
reacting on the homes. But while this is true of many of the Board 
Schools, your system deserves the worst one can say of it. 

Enq. So be it; go on. 

Theo. What is the real object of modern education? Is it to culti- 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 1 79 

vate and develop the mind in the right direction ; to teach the dis- 
inherited and hapless people to carry with fortitude the burden of life 
allotted them by Karma; to strengthen their will; to inculcate in them 
the love of one's neighbour and the feeling of mutual interdependence 
and brotherhood ; and thus to train and form the character for practical 
life? Not a b it of jt. And yet, these are undeniably the objects of all 
true education. No one denies it; all your educationalists admit it, 
and talk very big indeed on the subject. But what is the practical 
result of their action? Every young man and bo3% nay, every one of 
the younger generation of schoolmasters will answer: "The object of 
modern education is to pass examinations," a system not to develop 
right emulation, but to generate and breed jealousy, envy, hatred 
almost, in young people for one another, and thus train them for a life 
of ferocious selfishness and struggle for honours and emoluments 
instead of kindly feeling. 

Enq. / must admit you are right there. 

Theo. And what are these examinations the terror of modern boy- 
hood and youth? They are simply a method of classification by which 
the results of your school teaching are tabulated. In other words, they 
form the practical application of the modern science method to the 
genus homo, qua intellection. Now science teaches that intellect is a 
result of the mechanical interaction of the brain-stuff; therefore it is 
only logical that modern education should be almost entirely me- 
chanical a sort of automatic machine for the fabrication of intellect 
by the ton. Very little experience of examinations is enough to show 
that the education they produce is simply a training of the physical 
memory, and, sooner or later, all your schools will sink to this level. 
As to any real, sound cultivation of the thinking and reasoning power, 
it is simply impossible while everything has to be judged by the results 
as tested by competitive examinations. Again, school training is of 
the very greatest importance in forming character, especially in its 
moral bearing. Now, from first to last, your modern S) 7 stem is based 
on the so-called scientific revelations: "the struggle for existence" / 
and the "survival of the fittest." All through his early life, every man J 
has these driven into him by practical example and experience, as well 
as by direct teaching, till it is impossible to eradicate from his mind the 
idea that "self," the lower, personal, animal self, is the end-all, and 
be-all, of life. Here you get the great source of all the after-misery, 
crime, and heartless selfishness, which you admit as much as I do. 



!8o THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Selfishness, as said over and over again, is the curse of humanity, and 
the prolific parent of all the evils and crimes in this life; and it is your 
schools which are the hotbeds of such selfishness. 

Enq. That is all very fine as generalities, but I should like a few facts, 
and to learn also how this can be remedied. 

Theo. Very well, I will try and satisfy you. There are three great 
divisions of scholastic establishments, board, middle-class 'and public 
schools, running up the scale from the most grossly commercial to the 
idealistic classical, with many permutations and combinations. The 
practical commercial begets the modern side, and the ancient and 
orthodox classical reflects its heavy respectability even as far as the 
School Board pupil teacher's establishments. Here we plainly see the 
scientific and material commercial supplanting the effete orthodox and 
classical. Neither is the reason very far to seek. The objects of this 
branch of education are, then, pounds, shillings, arid pence, the summum 
bonum of the nineteenth century. Thus, the energies generated by the 
brain molecules of its adherents are all concentrated on one point, and 
are, therefore, to some extent, an organized army of educated and 
speculative intellects of the minority of men, trained against the hosts of 
the ignorant, simple-minded masses doomed to be vampirized, lived and 
sat upon by their intellectually stronger brethren. Such training is not 
only untheosophical, it is simply unchristian. Result: the direct out- 
come of this branch of education is an overfiooding of the market with 
money-making machines, with heartless selfish men animals who 
have been most carefully trained to prey on their fellows and take 
advantage of the ignorance of their weaker brethren ! 

Knq. Well, but you cannot assert that of our great public schools, at any 
rate. 

Theo. Not exactly, it is true. But though the form is different, the 
animating spirit is the same: untheosophical and unchristian, whether 
Eton and Harrow turn out scientists or divines and theologians. 

Enq. Surely you do not mean to call Eton and Harrow "commercial" ? 

Theo. No. Of course the classical system is above all things respect- 
able, and in the present day is productive of some good. It still remains 
the favourite at our great public schools, where not only an intellectual, 
but also a social education is obtainable. It is, therefore, of prime im- 
portance that the dull boys of aristocratic and wealthy parents should 
go to such schools to meet the rest of the young life of the "blood" and 



The key to theosophy. 181 

money classes. But unfortunately there is a huge competition even for 
entrance ; for the moneyed classes are increasing, and poor but clever 
boys seek to enter the public schools by the rich scholarships, both at 
the schools themselves and from them to the universities. 

Enq. According to this view, the wealthier" dullards" have to work even 
harder than their poorer fellows. 

Theo. It is so. But, strange to say, the faithful of the cult of the 
"survival of the fittest" do not practise their creed; for their whole 
exertion is to make the naturally unfit supplant the fit. Thus, by ' 
bribes of large sums of money, they allure the best teachers from their 
natural pupils to mechanicalize their naturally unfit progeny into pro- i| 
fessions which they uselessly overcrowd. 

Enq. And you attribute all this to what ? 

Theo. All this is owing to the perniciousness of a system which 
turns out goods to order, irrespective of the natural proclivities and 
talents of the youth. The poor little candidate for this progressive 
paradise of learning, comes almost straight from the nursery to the 
treadmill of a preparatory school for sons of gentlemen. Here he is 
immediately seized upon by the workmen of the materio-intellectual 
factory, and crammed with L,atin, French and Greek Accidence, Dates 
and Tables, so that if he have any natural genius it is rapidly squeezed 
out of him by the rollers of what Carlyle has so well-called "dead 
vocables." 

Enq. But surely he is taught something besides "dead vocables" and 
much of that which may lead him direct to Theosophy, if not e?itirely into 
the Theosophical Society ? 

Theo. Not much. For of history, he will attain only sufficient 
knowledge of his own particular nation to fit him with a steel armour 
of prejudice against all other peoples, and be steeped in the foul cess- 
pools of chronicled national hate and blood-thirstiness; and surely, 
you would not call that Theosophy? 

Enq. What are your further objectio?is ? 

Theo. Added to this is a smattering of selected, so-called, biblical 
facts, from the study of which all intellect is eliminated. It is simply 
a memory lesson, the why of the teacher being a why of circumstances 
and not of reason. 

Enq. Yes; but I have heard you congratulate yourself at the ever- 



182 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

increasing number of the agnostics and atheists in our day, so that it 
appears that even people trained in the system you abuse so heartily do learn 
to think and reason for themselves. 

Theo. Yes ; but it is rather owing to a health}' reaction from that 
system than due to it. We immeasurably prefer agnostics, and even 
rank atheists, in our Society, to bigots of whatever religion. An 
agnostic's mind is ever opened to the truth; whereas the latter blinds 
the bigot like the sun does an owl. The best i.e., the most truth- 
loving, philanthropic, and honest of our Fellows were, and are, 
agnostics and atheists, in the sense of disbelievers in a personal God. 
But there are no free-thinking boys and girls, and generally early 
training will leave its mark behind in the shape of a cramped and dis- 
torted mind. A proper and sane system of education should produce 
the most vigorous and liberal mind, strictly trained in logical and 
accurate thought, and not in blind faith. How can you ever expect 
good results, while you pervert the reasoning faculty of your children 
by bidding them believe in the miracles of the Bible on Sunday, while 
for the six other days of the week you teach them that such things are 
scientifically impossible ? 

Enq. What would you have, then ? 

Theo. If we had money, we would found schools which would turn 
out something else than reading and writing candidates for starvation. 
Children should above all be taught self-reliance, love for all men, 
altruism, mutual charity, and more than anything else, to think and 
reason for themselves. We would reduce the purely mechanical work 
of the memory to an absolute minimum, and devote the time to the 
development and training of the inner senses, faculties and latent capa- 
cities. We would endeavour to deal with each child as a unit, and to 
educate it so as to produce the most harmonious and equal unfoldment 
of its powers, in order that its special aptitudes should find their full 
natural development. We should aim at creating free men and women, 
free intellectually, free morally, unprejudiced in all respects, and above 
all things, unselfish. And we believe that much if not all of this could 
be obtained by proper and truly theosophical education. 

WHY, THEN, IS THERE SO MUCH PREJUDICE AGAINST THE T. S.f 
Enq. If Theosophy is even half of what you say, why should there exist 
such a, terrible ill-feeling against it? This is eve?i more of a problem than 
anything else. 



The key to theosophy. 183 

ThEO. It is; but you must bear in mind how many powerful ad- 
versaries we have aroused ever since the formation of our Society. As 
I just said, if the Theosophical movement were one of those numerous 
modern crazes, as harmless at the end as they are evanescent, it would 
be simply laughed at as it is now by those who still do not understand 
its real purport and left severely alone. But it is nothing of the kind. 
Intrinsically, Theosophy is the most serious movement, of t his age ; and 
one, moreover, which threatens the very life of most of the time- 
honoured humbugs, prejudices, and social evils of the day those evils 
which fatten and make happy the upper ten and their imitators and 
sycophants, the wealthy dozens of the middle classes, while they 
positively crush and starve out of existence the millions of the poor. 
Think of this, and you will easily understand the reason of such a 
relentness persecution by those others who, more observant and per- 
spicacious, do see the true nature of Theosophy, and therefore 
dread it. 

Enq. Do you mean to tell me that it is because a fezv have understood 
what Theosophy leads to, that they try to crush the movement? But if 
Theosophy leads only to good, surely you cannot be prepared to utter such a 
terrible accusation of perfidious hearllessness and treachery even against 

those fezv ? 

Theo. I am so prepared, on the contrary. I do not call the enemies 
we have had to battle with during the first nine or ten years of the 
Society's existence either powerful or dangerous; but only those who 
have arisen against us in the last three or four years. And these 
neither speak, write nor preach against Theosophy, but work in silence 
and behind the backs of the foolish puppets who act as their visible 
marionettes. Yet, if invisible to most of the members of our Society, 
they are well known to the true Founders and the protectors of our 
Society. But they must remain for certain reasons unnamed at 
present. 

Enq. And are they k?wwn to many of you, or to yourself alone? 

Theo. I never said that / knew them. I may or may not know 
them but I know of them, and this is sufficient; and I defy them to 
do their worst. They may achieve great mischief and throw confusion 
into our ranks, especially among the faint-hearted, and those who can 
judge only by appearances. They will not crush the Society, do what 
they may. Apart from these truly dangerous enemies dangerous, 



184 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

however, only to those Theosophists who are unworthy of the name, 
and whose place is rather outside than within the T. S. the number of 
our opponents is more than considerable. 

EnQ. / have heard many Theosophists speak of a "power behind the 
Society" and of certain " Mahdtmds," mentioned also in Mr. Sinnett's 
works, that are said to have founded the Society, to watch over and pro- 
tect it. 

Theo. You may laugh, but it is so. 



XIV. 

THE THEOSOPHICAL "MAHATMAS." 



ARE THEY "SPIRITS OF LIGHT' OR "GOBLINS DAMN'D"? 
Enq. Who are, then, those whom you call your "Masters" ? Some say 
they are "spirits" or so?ne other kind of supernatural beings, while others 
call them "myths." 

Theo. They are neither. I once heard one outsider say to another 
that they were a sort of "male mermaids," whatever such a creature 
may be. But if you listen to what people say, you will never have a 
true conception of them. In the first place they are living men, born 
as we are born, and doomed to die like every other mortal. 

Enq. Yes, but it is rumoured that some of them are a thousand years 
old. Is this true? 

Theo. As true as the miraculous growth of hair on the head of 
Meredith's Shagpat. Truly, like the "Identical," no Theosophical 
shaving has hitherto been able to crop it. The more we deny them, 
the more we try to set people right, the more absurd do the inventions 
become. I have heard of Methuselah being 969 years old; but, not 
being forced to believe in it, have laughed at the statement, for which 
I was forthwith regarded by many as a blasphemous heretic. 

Enq. Seriously, though, do they outlive the ordinary age of men ? 

Theo. What do you call the ordinary age? I remember reading in 
the Lancet of a Mexican who was almost 190 years old; but I have 
never heard of mortal man, layman, or adept, who could live even half 
the years allotted to Methuselah. Some adepts do exceed, by a good 
deal, what you would call the ordinary age; yet there is nothing 
miraculous in it, and very few of them care to live very long. 

Enq. But what does the word " Mahatma" really mea?i ? 

Theo. Simply "great soul" great through moral elevation and in- 



1 86 'THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

tellectual attainment. If the title of "great" is given to a drunken soldier 
like Alexander, why should we not call those "great" who have achieved 
far greater conquests in Nature's secrets, than Alexander ever did on the 
field of battle? Besides, the term is an Indian and a very old word. 

Enq. And why do you call them "Masters" ? 

Theo. We call them "Masters" because they are our teachers; and 
because from them we have derived all the Theosophical truths, how- 
ever inadequately some of us may have expressed, and others under- 
stood, them. They are men of great learning, and still greater holiness 
of life, whom we term Initiates. They are not ascetics in the ordinary 
sense, though they certainly remain apart from the turmoil and strife 
of your Western world. 

Enq. But is it not selfish thus to isolate themselves? 

Theo. Where is the selfishness? Does not the fate of the Theo- 
sophical Society sufficiently prove that the world is neither ready to 
recognize them nor to profit by their teaching? Of what use would 
Professor Clerk Maxwell have been to instruct a class of little boys in 
their multiplication-table? Besides, they isolate themselves only from 
the West. In their own country they go about as publicly as other 
people do. 

Enq. Do you not ascribe to them supernatural powers ? 

Theo. We believe in nothing supernatural, as I have told you 
already. Had Edison lived and invented his phonograph two hundred 
years ago, he would most probably have been burnt along with it, and 
the whole attributed to the devil. The powers which they exercise are 
simply the development of potencies lying latent in every man and 
woman, and the existence of which even official science begins to 
recognize. 

Enq. Is it true that these men inspire some of your writers, and that many, 
if not all, of your Theosophical works were written under their dictation? 

Theo. Some of them have done so. There are passages entirely 
dictated by them verbatim, but in most cases they only inspire the ideas 
and leave the literary form to the writers. 

Enq. But this in itself is miraculous ; is, in fact, a miracle. How can 
they do it ? 

Theo. My dear Sir, you are labouring under a great mistake, and 
it is science itself that will refute your arguments at no distant day. 



the key to theosophy. 187 

Why should it be a "miracle," as you call it? A miracle is supposed 
to mean some operation which is supernatural, whereas there is really 
nothing above or beyond Nature and Nature's laws. Among the many 
forms of the "miracle" which have come under modern scientific 
recognition, there is hypnotism, and one phase of its power is known 
as "suggestion," a form of thought transference, which has been 
successfully used in combating particular physical diseases, etc. The 
time is not far distant when the world of science will be forced to 
acknowledge that there exists as much interaction between one mind 
and another, no matter at what distance, as between one body and 
another in closest contact. When two minds are sympathetically 
related, and the instruments through which they function are tuned to 
respond magnetically and electrically to one another, there is nothing 
which will prevent the transmission of thoughts from one to the other, 
at will; for since the mind is not of such a tangible nature, that dis- 
tance can divide it from the subject of its contemplation, it follows 
that the only difference that can exist between two minds is a difference 
of state. So if this latter hindrance is overcome, where is the "miracle" 
of thought transference, at whatever distance? * 

Knq. But you will admit that hypnotism does ?iothi?ig so miraculous 
or wonderful as that? 

Tiieo. On the contrary, it is a well-established fact that a hypnotist 
can affect the brain of his subject so far as to produce an expression of 
his own thoughts, and even his words, through the organism of his 
subject ; and although the phenomena attaching to this method of actual 
thought transference are as yet few in number, no one, I presume, 
will undertake to say how far their action may extend in the future, 
when the laws that govern their production are more scientifically 
established. And so, if such results can be produced by the knowledge 
of the mere rudiments of hypnotism, what can prevent the adept in 
psychic and spiritual powers from producing results which, with your 
present limited knowledge of these laws, you are inclined to call 
"miraculous"? 

Enq. Then why do not our physicians experiment and try if they could 
not do as much ?* 

* Such, for instance, as Prof. Bernheim and Dr. C Lloyd Tuckey, of England; Professors Beaunis 
and Lii'g-eois, of Nancy; Delbceuf of Liege; Burot and Bourru, of Rochefort; Fontain and Sigard, of 
Bordeaux; Forel, of Zurich ; and Drs. Despine, of Marseilles; Van Renterghem and Van Eeden, of 
Amsterdam ; Wetterstrand, of Stockholm ; Schrenck-Notzing, of Liepzig ; and many other physicians 
and writers of eminence. 



1 88 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Theo. Because, first of all, they were not adepts with a thorough 
understanding of the secrets and laws of psychic and spiritual realms, 
but materialists, afraid to step outside the narrow groove of matter; 
and secondly, because they must fail at present, and indeed until they 
are brought to acknowledge that such powers are attainable. 

Enq. And could they be taught? 

Theo. Not unless they were first of all prepare d, by having the 
materialistic dross they have accumulated in their brains swept away 
to the very last atom. 

Enq. This is very interesting. Tell me, have the adepts thus inspired 
or dictated to many of your Theosophists ? 

Theo. No, on the contrary, to very few. Such operations require 
special conditions. An unscrupulous but skilled adept of the "Black 
Brotherhood" "Brothers of the Shadow," and Dugpas, we call them 
has far less difficulties to labour under. For, having no laws of a spiri- 
tual nature to trammel his actions, such a Dugpa sorcerer will most 
unceremoniously obtain control over any mind, and subject it entirely 
to his evil powers. But our Masters will never do that. They have no 
right if they would escape falling into "black magic" to obtain entire 
mastery over anyone's immortal Ego, and can therefore act only on the 
physical and psychic nature of the subject, leaving thereby the free will 
of the latter wholly undisturbed. Hence, unless a person has been 
brought into psychic relationship with the Masters, and is assisted by 
virtue of his full faith in, and devotion to, his Teachers, the latter, 
whenever transmitting their thoughts to one with whom these condi- 
tions are not fulfilled, experience great difficulties in penetrating into 
the cloudy chaos of that person's sphere. But this is no place to treat 
of a subject of this nature. Suffice it to say, that if the power exists, 
then there are Intelligences (embodied or disembodied) which guide 
this power, and living conscious instruments through whom it is trans- 
mitted and by whom it is received. We have only to beware of "black 
magic." 

Enq. But what do you really mean by "black magic" ? 

Theo. Simply abuse of psychic powers, or of any secret of nature; 
the fact of applying to selfish and sinful ends the powers of Occultism. 
A hypnotizer, who, taking advantage of his powers of "suggestion," 
forced a subject to steal or murder, would be called by us a "black 
magician." The famous "rejuvenating system" of Dr. Brown-Sequard, 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 189 

of Paris, through a loathsome animal injection into human blood a 
discovery all the medical papers of Europe are now discussing if true, 
is unconscious black magic. 

Enq. But this is mediaeval belief in witchcraft and sorcery ! Even the 
Law itself has ceased to believe in such things. 

Theo. So much the worse for the Law, as it has been led, through 
such lack of discrimination, into committing more than one judiciary 
mistake and crime. It is the term alone that frightens you with its 
"superstitious" ring in it. Would not L,aw punish an abuse of hypnotic 
powers, as I just mentioned? Nay, it has so punished it already in 
France and Germany; yet it would indignantly deny that it applied 
punishment to a crime of evident "sorcery." You cannot believe in 
the efficacy and reality of the powers of suggestion by physicians and 
mesmerizers, or hypnotizers, and then refuse to believe in ,the same 
powers when used for evil motives. And if you do, then you believe 
in "sorcery"! You cannot believe in good and disbelieve in evil, 
accept genuine money and refuse to credit such a thing as false coin. 
Nothing can exist without its contrast, and no day, no light, no good 
could have any representation as such in your consciousness, were 
there no night, no darkness, no evil to offset and contrast them. 

Enq. Indeed, I have known men, who, while thoroughly believing in 
that which you call great psychic, or magic powers, laughed at the very 
mention of witchcraft and sorcery. 

Theo. What does it prove? Simply that they are illogical. So 
much the worse for them, again. And we, knowing as we do of the 
existence of good and holy adepts, believe as thoroughly in the exist- 
ence of bad and unholy adepts, or Dugpas. 

Enq. But if the Masters exist, why do they not come out before all men 
a?id refute once for all the many charges which are made against Madame 
B lava t sky and the Society ? 

Theo. What charges? 

Enq. That they do not exist, and that she has invented them. Does 

not all this injure her reputation ? 

Theo. In what way can such an accusation injure her in reality? 
Did she ever make money on their presumed existence, or derive 
benefit, or fame, therefrom ? I answer that she has gained only insults, 
abuse, and calumnies, which would have been very painful had she not 



> 



190 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

learned long ago to remain perfectly indifferent to such false charges. 
For what does it amount to, after all? Why, to an implied compliment, 
which, if the fools, her accusers, were not carried away by their blind 
hatred, they would have thought twice before uttering. To say that 
she has invented the Masters comes to this, that she must have in- 
vented every bit of philosophy that has ever been given out in Theo- 
sophical literature. She must be the author of the letters from which 
Esoteric Buddhism was written ; the sole inventor of every tenet found 
in the Secret Doctrine, which, if the world were just, would be recog- 
nized as supplying many of the missing links of science, as will be 
discovered a hundred years hence. By saying what they do, they are 
also giving her the credit of being far cleverer than the hundreds of 
men (many very clever and not a few scientific men), who believe in 
what she says inasmuch as she must have fooled them all! If they 
speak the truth, then she must be several Mahatmas rolled into one, 
like a nest of Chinese boxes. 

Enq. They say that from beginning to end they were a romance which 
Madame Blavatsky has wovetifrom her own brain. 

Theo. Well, she might have done many things less clever than this. 
At any rate, we have not the slightest objection to this theory. As she 
always says now, she almost prefers that people should not believe in 
the Masters. She declares openly that she would rather people should 
seriously think that the only "Mahatma-land" is the grey matter of 
her brain, and that, in short, she has evolved them out of the depths 
of her own inner consciousness, than that their names and grand ideal 
should be so infamously desecrated as they are at present. At first she 
used to protest indignantly against any doubts as to their existence. 
Now she never goes out of her way to prove or disprove it. Let people 
think what they like. 

Enq. But if you have such wise and good men to guide the Society, how 
is it that so many mistakes have been made? 

Theo. The Masters do not guide the Society, not even the founders; 
and no one has ever asserted that they did : they only watch over, and 
protect it. This is amply proved by the fact that no mistakes have 
been able to cripple it, and no scandals from within, nor the most 
damaging attacks from without, have been able to overthrow it. The 
Masters look at the future, not at the present, and every mistake is 
so much more accumulated wisdom for days to come. That other 



THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 191 

"Master" who sent out the man with the five talents did not tell him 
how to double them, nor did he prevent the foolish servant from burying 
his one talent in the earth. Each must acquire wisdom by his own 
experience and merits. The Christian Churches, who claim a far higher 
Master, the very Holy Ghost itself, have ever been and are still guilty 
not only of " mistakes," but of a series of bloody crimes throughout 
the ages. Yet, no Christian would deny for all that, his belief in that 
Master, I suppose, although his existence is far more hypothetical than 
that of the Mahatmas; as no one has ever seen the Holy Ghost, and his 
guidance of the Church, moreover, their own ecclesiastical history 
distinctly contradicts. Errare humanum est. Let us return to our 
subject. 

THE ABUSE OF SACRED NAMES AND TERMS. 
Enq. Then, what I have heard, namely, that many of your Thcosophical 
writers claim to have been inspired by these Masters, or to have seen and 
conversed with them, is not true ? 

Theo. It may or it may not be true. How can I tell ? The burden 
of proof rests with them. Some of them, a few very few, indeed 
have either distinctly lied or were hallucinated when boasting of such 
inspiration; others were truly inspired by great adepts. The tree is 
known by its fruits; and as all Theosophists have to be judged by their 
deeds and not by what they write or say, so all Theosophical books 
must be accepted on their merits, and not according to any claim to 
authority which they may put forward. 

Enq. But ivould Madame Blavatsky apply this to her own works the 
Secret Doctrine, for instance? 

Theo. Certainly; she says expressly in the Preface that she gives 
out the doctrines that she has learnt from the Masters, but claims no 
inspiration whatever for what she has lately written. As for our best 
Theosophists, they would also in this case far rather that the names of 
the Masters had never been mixed up with our books in any way. With 
few exceptions, most of such works are not only imperfect, but posi- 
tively erroneous and misleading. Great are the desecrations to which 
the names of two of the Masters have been subjected. There is hardly 
a medium who has not claimed to have seen them. Every bogus 
swindling society, for commercial purposes, now claims to be guided 
and directed by " Masters," often supposed to be far higher than ours! 
Many and heavy are the sins of those who have advanced these claims, 



192 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

prompted either by desire for lucre, vanity, or irresponsible medium- 
ship. Many persons have been plundered of their money by such 
societies, which offer to sell the secrets of power, knowledge, and spiri- 
tual truth for worthless gold. Worst of all, the sacred names of 
Occultism and the holy keepers thereof have been dragged in this 
filthy mire, polluted by being associated with sordid motives and im- 
moral practices, while thousands of men have been held back from the 
path of truth and light through the discredit and evil report which 
such shams, swindles, and frauds have brought upon the whole subject. 
I say again, every earnest Theosophist regrets to-day, from the bottom 
of his heart, that these sacred names and things have ever been men- 
tioned before the public, and fervently wishes that they had been kept 
secret within a small circle of trusted and devoted friends. 



CONCLUSION. 



THE FUTURE OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY. 

Enq. Tell me, what do you expect for Theosophy in the future? 

Theo. If you speak of Theosophy, I answer that, as it has existed 
eternally throughout the endless cycles upon cycles of the Past, so it 
will ever exist throughout the infinitudes of the Future, because Theo- 
sophy is synonymous with Everlasting Truth. 

Enq. Pardon vie; I meant to ask you rather about the prospects of the 
Thcosophical Society. 

Theo. Its future will depend almost entirely upon the degree of 
selflessness, earnestness, devotion, and last, but not least, on the 
amount of knowledge and wisdom possessed by those members, on 
whom it will fall to carry on the work, and to direct the Society after 
the death of the founders. 

Enq. / quite see the importance of their being selfless and devoted, but 
I do not quite grasp how their knowledge can be as vital a factor in the 
question as these other qualities. Surely the literature which already 
exists, and to which constant additions are still being made, ought to be 
sufficient. 

Theo. I do not refer to technical knowledge of the esoteric doc- 
trine, though that is most important; I spoke rather of the great need 
which our successors in the guidance of the Society will have of un- 
biassed and clear judgment. Every such attempt as the Theosophical 
Society has hitherto ended in failure, because, sooner or later, it has 
degenerated into a sect, set up hard-and-fast dogmas of its own, and 
so lost by imperceptible degrees that vitality which living truth alone 
can impart. You must remember that all our members have been bred 
and born in some creed or religion, that all are more or less of their 
generation both physically and mentally, and consequently that their 
judgment is but too likely to be warped and unconsciously biassed by 



194 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

some or all of these influences. If, then, they cannot be freed from 
such inherent bias, or at least taught to recognize it instantly and so 
avoid being led away by it, the result can only be that the Society will 
drift off on to some sandbank of thought or another, and there remain 
a stranded carcass to moulder and die. 

Enq. But if this danger be averted? 

Theo. Then the Society will live on into and through the twentieth 
century. It will gradually leaven and permeate the great mass of 
thinking and intelligent people with its large-minded and noble ideas 
of Religion, Duty, and Philanthropy. Slowly but surely it will burst 
asunder the iron fetters of creeds and dogmas, of social and caste pre- 
judices; it will break down racial and national antipathies and barriers, 
and will open the way to the practical realization of the Brotherhood 
of all men. Through its teaching, through the philosophy which it has 
rendered accessible and intelligible to the modern mind, the West will 
learn to understand and appreciate the East at its true value. Further, 
the development of the psychic powers and faculties, the premonitory 
symptoms of which are already visible in America, will proceed 
healthily and normally. Mankind will be saved from the terrible 
dangers, both mental and bodily, which are inevitable when that un- 
folding takes place, as it threatens to do, in a hotbed of selfishness 
and all evil passions. Man's mental and psychic growth will proceed 
in harmony with his moral improvement, while his material surround- 
ings will reflect the peace and fraternal good-will which will reign in 
his mind, instead of the discord and strife which is everywhere ap- 
parent around us to-day. 

Enq. A truly delightful picture! But tell me, do you really expect all 
this to be accomplished in one short century ? 

Theo. Scarcely. But I must tell you that during the last quarter of 
every hundred years an attempt is made by those Masters, of whom I 
have spoken, to help on the spiritual progress of Humanity in a marked 
and definite way. Towards the close of each century you will invari- 
ably find that an outpouring or upheaval of spirituality or call it 
mysticism if you prefer has taken place. Some one 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, as far 
as our detailed historical records extend. 



THE KEY TO TIIEOSOPHY. 195 

Enq. But how does this bear on the future of the Theosophical Society? 

Theo. If the present attempt, in the form of our Society, succeeds 
better than its predecessors have done, then it will be in existence as 
an organized, living and healthy body when the time comes for the 
effort of the twentieth century. The general condition of men's minds 
and hearts will have been improved and purified by the spread of its 
teachings, and, as I have said, their prejudices and dogmatic illusions 
will have been, to some extent at least, removed. Not only so, but 
besides a large and accessible literature ready to men's hands, the next 
impulse will find a numerous and united body of people ready to 
welcome the new torch-bearer of Truth. He will find the minds of 
men prepared for his message, a language ready for him in which to 
clothe the new truths he brings, an organization awaiting his arrival, 
which will remove the merely mechanical, material obstacles and diffi- 
culties from his path. Think how much one, to whom such an oppor- 
tunity is given, could accomplish. Measure it by comparison with what 
the Theosophical Society actually has achieved in the last fourteen 
years, without any of these advantages and surrounded by hosts of 
hindrances which would not hamper the new leader. Consider all this, 
and then tell me whether I am too sanguine when I say that if the 
Theosophical Society survives and lives true to its mission, to its 
original impulses through the next hundred years tell me, I say, if I 
go too far in asserting that earth will be a heaven in the twenty-first 
century in comparison with what it is now ! 



GLOSSARY. 



GLOSSARY. 



A. 

Absoluteness. When predicated of the Universal Principle, it de- 
notes an abstraction, which is more correct and logical than to apply 
the adjective "absolute" to that which can have neither attributes nor 
limitations. 

Adam Kadmon (Heb.). Archetypal Man, Humanity. The "Heavenly 
Man" not fallen into sin. Kabalists refer it to the Ten Sephiroth on 
the plane of human perception. In the Kabalah Adam Kadmon is the 
manifested logos corresponding to our third logos, the unmanifested 
being the first paradigmic ideal Man, and symbolizing the universe 
in abscondito, or in its "privation" in the Aristotelean sense. 

The first logos is "the light of the world," the second and the third, 
its gradually deepening shadows. 

Adept (Lai. adeptus). In occultism, one who has reached the stage 
of initiation and become a master in the science of esoteric philosophy. 

yEther (Gr.). With the ancients, the divine luminiferous substance 
which pervades the whole universe; the "garment" of the supreme 
deity, Zeus, or Jupiter. With the moderns, ether, for the meaning of 
which, in physics and chemistry, see Webster's, or some other dic- 
tionary. In esotericism, aether is the third principle of the cosmic 
septenary, matter (earth) being the lowest, and akasha the highest. 

Agathon (Gr.). Plato's supreme deity, lit., the "Good." Our alaya 
or the "soul of the world." 

Agnostic. A word first used by Professor Huxley, to indicate one 
who believes nothing which cannot be demonstrated by the senses. 

Ahankara (Sans.). The conception of "I," self-consciousness or 
self-identity; the "I," or egoistical and mayavic principle in man, due 
to our ignorance which separates our "I" from the Universal One Self. 
Personality, egoism also. 

Ain Suph (J7eb.). The "boundless" or "limitless" Deity emanat- 



200 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

ing and extending. Ain Suph is also written En Soph and Ain Soph, 
for no one, not even the Rabbis, are quite sure of their vowels. In the 
religious metaphysics of the old Hebrew philosophers, the One Prin- 
ciple was an abstraction like Parabrahman, though modern Kabalists 
have succeeded by mere dint of sophistry and paradoxes in making a 
"Supreme God" of it, and nothing higher. But with the early Chaldaean 
Kabalists Ain Suph was "without form or being" with "no likeness 
with anything else." (Franck's Die Kabbala, p. 126.) That Ain Suph 
has never been considered as the "creator" is proved conclusively by 
the fact that such an orthodox Jew as Philo gives the name of "creator" 
to the logos, who stands next the "Limitless One," and is "the second 
God." "The second God is in its (Ain Suph's) wisdom," says Philo. 
Deity is No-Thing; it is nameless, and therefore called Ain Suph 
the word ain meaning nothing. (See also Franck, ibid., p. 153.) 

Alchemy, in Arabic Ul-Khemi, is, as the name suggests, the chemistry 
of nature. Ul-Khemi or Al-Kimia, however, is really an Arabianized 
word, taken from the Greek xv^ - from x^/xos "juice," extracted from a 
plant. Alchemy deals with the finer forces of nature and the various 
conditions of matter in which they are found to operate. Seeking 
under the veil of language, more or less artificial, to convey to the 
uninitiated so much of the mysterium magnum as is safe in the hands 
of a selfish world, the Alchemist postulates as his first principle, the 
existence of a certain universal solvent in the homogeneous substance 
from which the elements were evolved ; which substance he calls pure 
gold, or summum materia. This solvent, also called menstruum uni- 
versale, possesses the power of removing all the seeds of disease from 
the human body, of renewing youth, and prolonging life. Such is the 
lapis philosophorum (philosopher's stone). Alchemy first penetrated 
into Europe through Geber, the great Arabian sage and philosopher, 
in the eighth century of our era; but it was known and practised long 
ages ago in China and Egypt. Numerous papyri on Alchemy and 
other proofs that it was the favourite study of kings and priests, have 
been exhumed and preserved under the generic name of Hermetic 
treatises. Alchemy is studied under three distinct aspects, which 
admit of many different interpretations, viz., the cosmic, the human, 
and the terrestrial. 

These three methods were t3 7 pified under the three alchemical pro- 
perties sulphur, mercury, and salt. Different writers have stated that 
there are three, seven, ten and twelve processes respectively; but they 



GLOSSARY. 20I 

are all agreed there is but one object in Alchemy, which is to trans- 
mute gross metals into pure gold. But what that gold really is, very few 
people understand correctly. No doubt there is such a thing in nature 
as transmutation of the baser metal into the nobler; but this is only 
one aspect of Alchemy, the terrestrial, or purely material, for we see 
the same process taking place in the bowels of the earth. Yet, besides 
and beyond this interpretation, there is in Alchemy a symbolical mean- 
ing, purely psychic and spiritual. While the Kabalist-Alchemist seeks 
for the realization of the former, the Occultist- Alchemist, spurning the 
gold of the earth, gives all his attention to, and directs his efforts only 
towards, the transmutation of the baser quaternary into the divine 
upper trinity of man, which, when finally blended, is one. The spiri- 
tual, mental, psychic, and physical planes of human existence are in 
Alchemy compared to the four elements fire, air, water, and earth, 
and are each capable of a three-fold constitution, i.e., fixed, unstable, 
and volatile. Little or nothing is known by the world concerning the 
origin of this archaic branch of philosophy; but it is certain that it 
antedates the construction of any known Zodiac, and, as dealing with 
the personified forces of nature, probably also any of the mythologies 
of the world. Nor is there any doubt that the true secrets of trans- 
mutation (on the physical plane) were known in days of old, and lost 
before the dawn of the so-called historical period. Modern chemistry 
owes its best fundamental discoveries to Alchemy, but regardless of 
the undeniable truism of the latter, that there is but one element in the 
universe, chemistry placed metals in the class of elements, and is only 
now beginning to find out its gross mistake. Even some encyclopae- 
dists are forced to confess that if most of the accounts of transmutation 
are fraud or delusion, "yet some of them are accompanied by testimony 
which renders them probable. By means of the galvanic battery even the 
alkalis have been discovered to have a metallic basis. The possibility 
of obtaining metal from other substances which contain the ingredients 
composing it, of changing one metal into another . . . must there- 
fore be left undecided. Nor are all Alchemists to be considered impos- 
tors. Many have laboured under the conviction of obtaining their 
object, with indefatigable patience and purity of heart, which is soundly 
recommended by Alchemists as the principal requisite for the success 
of their labours." 

Alexandrian Philosophers (or School). This famous school arose 
in Alexandria (Egypt), which was for long ages a seat of learning and 



202 The key to theosophy. 

philosophy. It was famous for its library, founded by Ptolemy Soter 
at the very beginning of his reign (Ptolemy died in 283 B.C.) a library 
which once boasted 700,000 rolls, or volumes (Aulus Gellius); for its 
museum, the first real Academy of sciences and arts; for its world- 
renowned scholars, such as Euclid, the father of scientific geometry, 
Apollonius of Perga, the author of the still extant work on conic sec- 
tions, Nicomachus, the arithmetician; for astronomers, natural philo- 
sophers, anatomists such as Herophilus and Erasistratus ; physicians, 
musicians, artists, etc. But it became still more famous for its eclectic, 
or New Platonic school, founded by Ammonius Saccas in 173 a.d., 
whose disciples were Origen, Plotinus, and many other men now 
famous in history. The most celebrated schools of the Gnostics had 
their origin in Alexandria. Philo Judseus, Josephus, Iamblichus, Por- 
phyry, Clement of Alexandria, Eratosthenes the astronomer, Hypatia, 
the virgin philosopher, and numberless other stars of second magni- 
tude, all belonged at various times to these great schools, and helped 
to make of Alexandria one of the most justly renowned seats of learn- 
ing that the world has ever produced. 

Altruism. From alter, other. A quality opposed to egoism. Actions 
tending to do good to others, regardless of self. 

Ammonius SaCCaS. A great and good philosopher who lived in 
Alexandria between the second and third centuries of our era, the 
founder of the Neoplatonic School of the Philaletheians or "lovers of 
truth." He was of poor birth and born of Christian parents, but 
endowed with such .prominent, almost divine goodness as to be called 
Theodidaktos, the "God-taught." He honoured that which was good 
in Christianity, but broke with it and the Churches at an early age, 
being unable to find in it any superiority over the old religions. 

AnalogeticistS. The disciples of Ammonius Saccas, so called be- 
cause of their practice of interpreting all sacred legends, myths, and 
mysteries by a principle of analogy and correspondence, which rule is 
now found in the Kabalistic system, and preeminently so in the schools 
of esoteric philosophy in the East. (See "The Twelve Signs of the 
Zodiac," by T. Subba Row, in Five Years of Theosophy.") 

Ananda (Sans.). Bliss, joy, felicity, happiness. The name of a 
favourite disciple of Gautama, the Eord Buddha. 

AnaxagOraS. A famous Ionian philosopher, who lived 500 B.C., 
studied philosophy under Anaximenes of Miletus, and settled, in the 
days of Pericles, at Athens. Socrates, Euripides, Archelaus, and other 



GLOSSARY. 203 

distinguished men and philosophers were among his disciples and 
pupils. He was a most learned astronomer, and was one of the first to 
explain openly that which was taught secretly by Pythagoras viz., the 
movements of the planets, the eclipses of the sun and moon, etc. It 
was he who taught the theory of chaos, on the principle that "nothing 
comes from nothing" ex ?iihilo nihil fit and of atoms, as the under- 
lying essence and substance of all bodies, "of the same nature as the 
bodies which they formed." These atoms, he taught, were primarily 
put in motion by nous (universal intelligence, the mahat of the Hindus), 
which nous is an immaterial, eternal, spiritual entity; by this combina- 
tion the world was formed, the material gross bodies sinking down, and 
the ethereal atoms (or fiery ether) rising and spreading in the upper 
celestial regions. Antedating modern science by over 2,000 years, he 
taught that the stars were of the same material as our earth, and the 
sun a glowing mass; that the moon was a dark uninhabitable body, 
receiving its light from the sun ; and beyond the aforesaid science he 
confessed himself thoroughly convinced that the real existe?ice of things, 
perceived by our senses, could not be demonstrably proved. He died 
in exile at L,ampsacus, at the age of seventy-two. 

Anima Mundi {Lai.). The "soul of the world," the same as the 
dlaya of the Northern Buddhists ; the divine essence which pervades, 
permeates, animates, and informs all things, from the smallest atom of 
matter to man and god. It is in a sense "the seven-skinned Mother" 
of the stanzas in the Secret Doctrine; the essence of seven planes of 
sentiency, consciousness, and differentiation, both moral and physical. 
In its highest aspect it is nirvana; in its lowest, the astral light. It 
was feminine with the Gnostics, the early Christians, and the Naza- 
renes; bisexual with other sects, who considered it only in its four 
lower planes, of igneous and ethereal nature in the objective world of 
forms, and divine and spiritual in its three higher planes. When it is 
said that every human soul was born by detaching itself from the 
anima mundi, it is meant esoterically, that our higher Egos are of an 
essence identical with it, and that mahat is a radiation of the ever un- 
known universal Absolute. 

Anoia (jGr.). "Want of understanding," "folly." The term applied 
by Plato and others to the lower Manas when too closely allied with 
Kama, which is characterized by irrationality (anoia). The Greek anoia 
or agnoia is evidently a derivative of the Sanskrit ajnana (phonetically 
agnyand), or ignorance, irrationality, and absence of knowledge. 



204 THK KEY T0 THfiOSOPHY. 

Anthropomorphism. From the Greek anthropos, "man." The act 
of endowing God or the gods with a human form and human attributes 
or qualities. 

Anugita (Sans.). A Upanishad, using the term in a general sense. 
One of the philosophical treatises in the Mahabharata, the great Indian 
epic. A very occult treatise. It is translated in "The Sacred Books 
of the East" series. 

Apollo Belvidere. Of all the ancient statues of Apollo, the sou of 
Jupiter and Latona, called Phoebus, Helios, the radiant, and the Sun 
the best and most perfect is that of this name, which is in the Belvidere 
Gallery in the Vatican, at Rome. It is called the Pythian Apollo, as 
the god is represented in the moment of his victory over the serpent 
Python. The statue was found in the ruins of Antium in 1503. 

ApolloniuS of Tyana. A wonderful philosopher born in Cappa- 
docia about the beginning of the first century; an ardent Pythagorean, 
who studied the Phoenician sciences under Euthydemus, and Pytha- 
gorean philosophy and other subjects under Euxenus of Heraclea. 
According to the tenets of the Pythagorean school he remained a 
vegetarian the whole of his long life, ate only fruit and herbs, drank 
no wine, wore vestments made only of plant fibres, walked barefooted 
and let his hair grow to the full length, as all the initiates have done 
before and after him. He was initiated by the priests of the temple of 
^Esculapius (Asclepios) at iEgae, and learnt many of the "miracles" 
for healing the sick wrought by the god of medicine. Having pre- 
pared himself for a higher initiation by a silence of five years, and by 
travel visiting Antioch, Ephesus, and Pamphylia and other parts he 
repaired via Babylon to India, alone, all his disciples having abandoned 
him as they feared to go to the "land of enchantments." A casual dis- 
ciple, Damis, whom he met on the way, accompanied him, however, on 
his travels. At Babylon he was initiated by the Chaldees and Magi, 
according to Damis, whose narrative was copied by one named Philo- 
stratus one hundred years later. After his return from India, he 
showed himself a true initiate in that the pestilence, earthquakes, 
deaths of kings and other events, which he prophesied, duly happened. 

At Lesbos, the priests of Orpheus became jealous of him, and refused 
to initiate him into their peculiar mysteries, though they did so several 
years later. He preached to the people of Athens and other states the 
purest and noblest ethics, and the phenomena he produced were as 
wonderful as they were numerous, and well authenticated. "How is 



GLOSSARY. 205 

it," inquires Justin Martyr, in dismay, "how is it that the talismans 
(Jelesmata) of Apollonius have power, for they prevent, as we see, the 
fury of the waves, and the violence of the winds, and the attacks of 
wild beasts; and whilst our Lord's miracles are preserved by tradition 
alo?ie, those of Apollonius are most numerous, and actually manifested in 
present facts?" (Qtiest. xxiv.) But an answer is easily found to this, 
in the fact that, after crossing the Hindu Koosh, Apollonius had been 
directed by a king to the abode of the sages, whose abode it may be 
to this day, and who taught him their unsurpassed knowledge. His 
dialogues, with the Corinthian Menippus, give us truly the esoteric 
catechism, and disclose (when understood) many an important mystery 
of nature. Apollonius was the friend, correspondent, and guest of 
kings and queens, and no wonderful or "magic" powers are better at- 
tested than his. Towards the close of his long and wonderful life he 
opened an esoteric school at Ephesus, and died at the ripe old age of 
one hundred years. 

Archangel. Highest, supreme angel. From the two Greek words, 
arch-, "first," and angelos, "messenger." 

Arhat (Sans.), also pronounced and written arahat, arhan, rahat, 
etc., the "worthy one"; a perfected drya, one exempt from reincarna- 
tion ; " deserving divine honours." This was the name first given to 
the Jain, and subsequently to the Buddhist holy men initiated into the 
esoteric mysteries. The Arhat is one who has entered the last and 
highest path, and is thus emancipated from re-birth. 

ArianS. The followers of Arius, a presbyter of the Church in 
Alexandria in the fourth century. One who holds that Christ is a 
created and human being, inferior to God the Father, though a grand 
and noble man, a true adept, versed in all the divine mysteries. 

AristobuluS. An Alexandrian writer, and an obscure philosopher. 
A Jew who tried to prove that Aristotle explained the esoteric thoughts 
of ^Moses. 

Aryan. L,it, the "holy"; those who had mastered the "noble 
truths" (arya-satydni) and entered the "noble path" (drya-mdrgd) to 
nirvana or moksha, the great "fourfold" path. They were originally 
known as Rishis. But now the name has become the epithet of a race, 
and our Orientalists, depriving the Hindu Brahmans of their birthright, 
have made Aryans of all Europeans. Since, in esotericism, the four 
paths or stages can only be entered through great spiritual development 
and "growth in holiness," they are called the dryamdrga. The degrees 



206 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

of arhatship, called respectively srotdpatti, sakridagamin, andgdmin, and 
arhat, or the four classes of Aryas, correspond to the four paths and 
truths. 

Aspect. The form [riipd) under which any principle in septenary 
man or nature manifests, is called an aspect of that principle in 
Theosophy. 

Astral Body. The ethereal counterpart or double of any physical 
body doppelganger. 

Astrology. The science which defines the action of celestial bodies 
upon mundane affairs, and claims to foretell future events from the 
positions of the stars. Its antiquity is such as to place it among the 
very earliest records of human learning. It remained for long ages a 
secret science in the East, and its final expression remains so to this 
day, its exoteric application only having been brought to any degree of 
perfection in the West during the lapse of time since Varaha Mihira 
wrote his book on Astrology, some 1,400 years ago. Claudius Ptolemy, 
the famous geographer and mathematician who founded the system of 
astronomy known under his name, wrote his Tetrabiblos, which is still 
the basis of modern Astrology, a.d. 135. The science of horoscopy is 
studied now chiefly under four heads, viz.: (1) Mttndane, in its applica- 
tion to meteorology, seismology, husbandry. (2) State or Civic, in 
regard to the future of nations, kings, and rulers. (3) Horary, in 
reference to the solving of doubts arising in the mind upon any subject. 
(4) Genethliacal, in connection with the future of individuals from birth 
unto death. The Egyptians and the Chaldees were among the most 
ancient votaries of Astrology, though their modes of reading the stars 
and the modern methods differ considerably. The former claimed that 
Belus, the Bel or Elu of the Chaldees, a scion of the Divine Dynasty, 
or the dynasty of the King-gods, had belonged to the land of Chemi, 
and had left it to found a colony from Egypt on the banks of the 
Euphrates, where a temple, ministered by priests in the service of the 
"lords of the stars," was built. As to the origin of the science, it is 
known on the one hand that Thebes claimed the honour of the inven- 
tion of Astrology, whereas, on the other hand, all are agreed that it 
was the Chaldees who taught that science to the other nations. Now 
Thebes antedated considerably, not only "Ur of the Chaldees," but 
also Nipur, where Bel was first worshipped Sin, his son (the moon), 
being the presiding deity of Ur, the land of the nativity of Terah, the 
Sabean and Astrolater, and of Abram, his son, the great Astrologer of 



GLOSSARY. 207 

biblical tradition. All tends, therefore, to corroborate the Egyptian 
claim. If later on the name of Astrologer fell into disrepute in Rome 
and elsewhere, it was owing to the frauds of those who wanted to make 
money of that which was part and parcel of the sacred science of the 
Mysteries, and who, ignorant of the latter, evolved a system based 
entirely on mathematics, instead of on transcendental metaphysics 
with the physical celestial bodies as its upadhi or material basis. Yet, 
all persecutions notwithstanding, the number of adherents to Astrology 
among the most intellectual and scientific minds was always very great. 
If Cardan and Kepler were among its ardent supporters, then later 
votaries have nothing to blush for, even in its now imperfect and dis- 
torted form. As said in Isis Unveiled (i. 259): "Astrology is to exact 
astronomy, what psychology is to exact physiology. In astrology and 
psychology one has to step beyond the visible world of matter and 
enter into the domain of transcendent spirit." 

Athenagoras. A Platonic Philosopher of Athens who wrote an 
apology for the Christians, in a.d. 177, addressed to Marcus Aurelius, 
to prove that the accusations brought against them, viz., that they were 
incestuous and ate murdered children, were untrue. 

Atman, or Atma {Sans?). The universal spirit, the divine monad, 
the seventh "principle," so called, in the exoteric septenary classifica- 
tion of man. The supreme soul. 

Aura {Gr. and Lat.). A subtle invisible essence or fluid that 
emanates from human, animal, and other bodies. It is a psychic 
effluvium partaking of both the mind and the body, as there is both 
an electro-vital and at the same time an electro-mental aura ; called in 
Theosophy the akashic or magnetic aura. In Roman Catholic martyr- 
ology, a saint. 

Avatara (Sans.). Divine incarnation. The descent of a god or 
some exalted being who has progressed beyond the necessity for re- 
birth, into the body of a simple mortal. Krishna was an avatara of 
Vishnu. The Dalai-Lama is regarded as an avatara of Avalokiteshvara 
and the Teschu-L/inia as one of Tson-kha-pa, or Amitabha. There 
are two kinds of avatdras; one born from woman and the other 
" parentless" anupadaka. 

B. 

Be-neSS. A term coined by Theosophists to render more accurately 
the essential meaning of the untranslatable word sat. The latter word 



208 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

does not mean "being," for the term "being" presupposes a sentient 
consciousness of existence. But as the term sat is applied solely to 
the absolute principle, that universal, unknown, and ever unknowable 
principle which philosophical pantheism postulates, calling it the basic 
root of kosmos and kosmos itself, it could not be translated by the 
simple term "being." Sat, indeed, is not even, as translated by some 
Orientalists, the "incomprehensible entity"; for it is no more an entity 
than a non-entity, but both. It is as said absolute be-ness, not "being"; 
the one, secondless, undivided and indivisible all the root of nature 
both visible and invisible, objective and subjective, comprehensible and 
never to be fully comprehended. 

Bhagavad-Glta (Sans.). Lit., the "Lord's Song," a portion of the 
Mahdbhdrata, the great epic poem of India. It contains a dialogue 
wherein Krishna the "charioteer" and Arjuna his chela have a dis- 
cussion upon the highest spiritual philosophy. The work is pre- 
eminently occult or esoteric. 

Black Magic. Sorcery; necromancy, or the raising of the dead and 
other selfish abuses of abnormal powers. This abuse may be uninten- 
tional ; still it has to remain "black" magic whenever anything is 
produced phenomenally simply for one's own gratification. 

Boehme (Jakob). A mystic and great philosopher, one of the most 
prominent Theosophists of the mediaeval ages. He was born about 
1575 at Old Diedenberg, some two miles from Gorlitz (Silesia), and 
died in 1624, at the age of nearly fifty. When a boy he was a common 
shepherd, and, after learning to read and write in a village school, 
became an apprentice to a poor shoemaker at Gorlitz. He was a 
natural clairvoyant of the most wonderful power. With no education 
or acquaintance with science he wrote works which are now proved to 
be full of scientific truths; but these, as he himself says of what he 
wrote, he "saw as in a great deep in the eternal." He had "a thorough 
view of the universe, as in chaos," which yet opened itself in him, from 
time to time, "as in a young planet," he says. He was a thorough 
born mystic, and evidently of a constitution which is most rare ; one of 
those fine natures whose material envelope impedes in no way the 
direct, even if only occasional, intercommunication between the intel- 
lectual and spiritual Ego. It is this Ego which Jakob Boehme, as so 
many other untrained mystics, mistook for God. "Man must acknow- 
ledge," he writes, "that his knowledge is not his own, but from God, 
who manifests the ideas of wisdom to the soul of man in what 7?ieasure 



GLOSSARY. 209 

he pleases'' Had this great Theosophist been born 300 years later he 
might have expressed it otherwise. He would have known that the 
"God" who spoke through his poor uncultured and untrained brain 
was his own divine Ego, the omniscient deity within himself, and that 
what that deity gave out was not "what measure he pleased," but in 
the measure of the capacities of the mortal and temporary dwelling It 
informed. 

Book of the Keys. An ancient Kabalistic work. The original is 
no longer extant, though there may be spurious or disfigured copies or 
forgeries of it. 

Brahma. (Sans.). The student must distinguish between the neuter 
Brahma, and the male "creator" of the Indian Pantheon, Brahma. 
The former Brahma or Brahman is the impersonal, supreme, and un- 
cognizable soul of the universe, from the essence of which all emanates, 
and into which all returns; which is incorporeal, immaterial, unborn, 
eternal, beginuingless and endless. It is all-pervading, animating the 
highest god as well as the smallest mineral atom. Brahma, on the 
other hand, the male and the alleged "creator," exists in his manifesta- 
tion periodically only, and passes into pralaya, i.e., disappears and is 
annihilated as periodically. 

Brahma S Day. A period of 2,160,000,000 years, during which 
Brahma, having emerged out of his Golden Egg (Jiiranya-garbha), 
creates and fashions the material world (for he is simply the fertilizing 
and creative force in nature). After this period the worlds being 
destroyed in turn by fire and water, he vanishes with objective nature; 
and then comes 

Brahma's Night. A period of equal duration, in which Brahma" is 
said to be asleep. Upon awakening he recommences the process, and 
this goes on for an Age of Brahma composed of alternate "Days" and 
"Nights," and lasting for ioo years of 2,160,000,000 each. It requires 
fifteen figures to express the duration of such an age, after the expira- 
tion of which the mahapralaya or Great Dissolution sets in, and lasts 
in its turn for the same space of fifteen figures. 

Brahma-Vldya (Sans.). The knowledge or esoteric science about 
the true nature of the two Brahmas (Brahma and Brahma). 

Buddha (Satis.). "The enlightened." Generally known as the 
title of Gautama Buddha, the prince of Kapilavastu, the founder of 
modern Buddhism. The highest degree of knowledge and holiness. 
To become a Buddha one has to break through the bondage of sense 



2IO THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

and personality; to acquire a complete perception of the real Self, and 
learn not to separate it from all the other selves; to learn by experience 
the utter unreality of all phenomena, foremost of all the visible 
kosmos; to attain a complete detachment from all that is evanescent 
and finite, and to live while yet on earth only in the immortal and 
everlasting. 

Buddhi (Sans.). Universal soul or mind. Mahabuddhi is a name 
of mahat; also the spiritual soul in man (the sixth principle exoteri- 

A 

cally), the vehicle of Atma, the seventh, according to the exoteric 
enumeration. 

Buddhism is the religious philosophy taught by Gautama Buddha. 
It is now split into two distinct churches: the Southern and Northern. 
The former is said to be the purer, as having preserved more religiously 
the original teachings of the Lord Buddha. The Northern Buddhism 
is confined to Tibet, China, and Nepaul. But this distinction is in- 
correct. If the Southern Church is nearer, and has not, in fact, de- 
parted, except perhaps in trifling dogmas, due to the many councils 
held after the death of the Master, from the public or exoteric teachings 
of Shakyamuni, the Northern Church is the outcome of Siddhartha 
Buddha's esoteric teachings which he confined to his elect Bhikshus 
and Arhats. Buddhism, in fact, cannot be justly judged in our age 
either by one or the other of its exoteric popular forms. Real Buddh- 
ism can be appreciated only by blending the philosophy of the Southern 
Church and the metaphysics of the Northern Schools. If one seems 
too iconoclastic and stern, and the other too metaphysical and trans- 
cendental, events being overcharged with the weeds of Indian exoteri- 
cism many of the gods of its Pantheon having been transplanted 
under new names into Tibetan soil it is due to the popular expression 
of Buddhism in both Churches. Correspondentially, they stand in 
their relation to each other as Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. 
Both err by an excess of zeal and erroneous interpretations, though 
neither the Southern nor the Northern Buddhist clergy have ever 
departed from truth consciously, still less have they acted under the 
dictates of priestocracy ; ambition, or an eye to personal gain and power, 
as the later Churches have. 

Bllddhi-Taijasa (Sans.). A very mystic term, capable of several 
interpretations. In occultism, however, and in relation to the human 
"principles" (exoterically), it is a term to express the state of our dual 
Manas, when, reunited during a man's life, it bathes in the radiance of 



GLOSSARY. 211 

Buddhi, the spiritual soul. For Taijasa means the "radiant," and 
Manas, becoming radiant in consequence of its union with Buddhi, and 
being, so to speak, merged into it, is identified with the latter; the 
trinity has become one; and, as the element of Buddhi is the highest, 
it becomes Buddhi-Taijasa. In short, it is the human soul illuminated 
by the radiance of the divine soul, the human reason lit by the light of 
the spirit or divine SELF-consciousness. 

c. 

Caste. Originally the system of the four hereditary classes into 
which the Indian population was divided: Brahman, Kshatriya, 
Vaishya and Shudra (a) descendants of Brahma; (&) warrior; (V) 
mercantile, and (d) the lowest or agricultural class. From these four, 
hundreds of divisions and minor castes have sprung. 

Causal Body. This "body," which is in reality no body at all, 
either objective or subjective, but Buddhi the spiritual soul, is so called 
because it is the direct cause of the sushupti state leading to the turiya 
state, the highest state of samadhi. It is called karanopadhi, "the 
basis of the cause," by the Taraka Raja Yogis, which in the Vedanta 
system corresponds to both the vijnanamaya and anandamaya kosha 
(the latter coming next to Atma, and therefore being the vehicle of the 
universal spirit). Buddhi alone could not be called a "causal body," but 
becomes one in conjunction with Manas, the incarnating entity or Ego. 

Chela {Hindi). A disciple. The pupil of a Guru or sage, the 
follower of some adept, or school of philosophy. 

ChrestOS (6V.). The early Gnostic term for Christ. This technical 
term was used in the fifth century B.C. by iEschylus, Herodotus and 
others. The manteumata pythocresta, or the "oracles delivered by a 
Pythian god" through a pythoness, are mentioned by the former 
(Choeph., 901), and Pythocrestos is derived from chrao. Chresterion is not 
only the "test of an oracle," but an offering to, or for, the oracle. 
Chrestes is one who explains oracles, a "prophet and soothsayer," and 
Chresterios, one who serves an oracle or a god. The earliest Christian 
writer, Justin Martyr, in his first Apology, calls his co-religionists 
Chrestians. "It is only through ignorance that men call themselves 
Christians, instead of Chrestians," says L,actantius (I,ib. IV, cap. vii). 
The terms Christ and Christians, spelt originally Chrest and Chres- 
tians, were borrowed from the temple vocabulary of the Pagans. 
Chrcstos meant, in that vocabulary, "a disciple on probation," a can- 



212 THE KEY TO THEOSOFHY. 

didate for hierophantship ; who when he had attained it, through 
initiation, long trials and suffering, and had been anointed (i.e., 
"rubbed with oil," as initiates and even idols of the gods were, as 
the last touch of ritualistic observance), was changed into Christos the 
"purified" in esoteric or mystery language. In mystic symbology, 
indeed, Christes or Christos meant that the "way," the "path," was 
already trodden and the goal reached ; when the fruits of this arduous 
labour uniting the personality of evanescent clay with the inde- 
structible individuality transformed it thereby into the immortal Ego. 
"At the end of the way stands the Christes," the Purifier; and the 
union once accomplished, the Chrestos, the "man of sorrow" became 
Christos himself. Paul, the initiate, knew this, and meant this pre- 
cisely, when he is made to say in bad translation, "I travail in birth 
again until Christ be formed in you" {Gal., iv. 19), the true rendering 
of which is, "until you form the Christos within yourselves." But the 
profane, who knew only that Chrestos was in some way connected with 
priest and prophet, and knew nothing about the hidden meaning of 
Christos, insisted, as did L,actantius and Justin Martyr, on being called 
Chrestians instead of Christians. Every good individual, therefore, 
may find Christ in his "inner man," as Paul expresses it (Ephes., iii. 
16, 17) whether he be Jew, Mussulman, Hindu or Christian. 

Christ. See "Chrestos." 

Christian Scientist. A newly-coined term for denoting the prac- 
titioners of a healing art by will. The name is a misnomer, since 
Buddhist or Jew, Hindu or Materialist, can practise this new form of 
"Western Yoga" with equal success if he can only guide and control 
his will with sufficient firmness. The "Mental Scientists" are another 
rival school. These work by a universal denial of every disease and 
evil imaginable, and claim, syllogistically, that since universal spirit 
cannot be subject to the ailings of flesh, and since every atom is spirit 
and in spirit, and since, finally, they the healers and the healed are 
all absorbed in this spirit or deity, there is not, nor can there be, such 
a thing as disease. This prevents in nowise both Christian and Mental 
Scientists from succumbing to disease and nursing chronic ailments for 
years in their own bodies just like other ordinary mortals. 

Clairaudience. The faculty whether innate or acquired by occult 
training of hearing things at whatever distance. 

Clairvoyance. The faculty of seeing with the inner eye or spiritual 
sight. As now used, it is a loose and flippant term, embracing under 



GLOSSARY. 213 

its meaning both a happy guess due to natural shrewdness or intuition, 
and also that faculty which was so remarkably exercised by Jakob 
Boehme and Swedenborg. Yet even these two great seers, since they 
could never rise superior to the general spirit of the Jewish Bible and 
sectarian teachings, have sadly confused what they saw, and fallen far 
short of true clairvoyance. 

Clemens AlexaildrinuS. A Church Father and voluminous writer, 
who had been a Neoplatonist and a disciple of Ammonius Saccas. He 
was one of the few Christian philosophers between the second and third 
centuries of our era at Alexandria. 

College of Rabbis. A college at Babylon; most famous during 
the early centuries of Christianity, but its glory was greatly darkened 
by the appearance in Alexandria of Hellenic teachers, such as Philo 
Judseus, Josephus, Aristobulus and others. The former avenged them- 
selves on their successful rivals by speaking of the Alexandrians as 
Theurgists and unclean prophets. But the Alexandrian believers in 
thaumaturgy were not regarded as sinners and impostors when orthodox 
Jews were at the head of such schools of " Hazim." These were colleges 
for teaching prophecy and occult sciences. Samuel was the chief of 
such a college at Ram ah; Elisha, at Jericho. Hillel had a regular 
academy for prophets and seers; and it is Hillel, a pupil of the Baby- 
lonian College, who was the founder of the sect of the Pharisees and 
the great orthodox Rabbis. 

Cycle (6V.). From kicklos. The ancients divided time into endless 
cycles, wheels within wheels, all such periods being of various dura- 
tion, and each marking the beginning or end of some event either 
cosmic, mundane, physical or. metaphysical. There were cycles of only 
a few years, and cycles of immense duration. The great Orphic cycle, 
referring to the ethnological change of races, lasted 120,000 years, and 
that of Cassandrus 136,000. The latter brought about a complete 
change in planetary influences and their correlations between men and 
gods a fact entirely lost sight of by modern astrologers. 

D. 

Deist. One who admits the possibility of the existence of a God or 
gods, but claims to know nothing of either, and denies revelation. An 
agnostic of olden times. 

Deva. (Sans.). A god, a "resplendent" deity: deva (dens) from the 
root div, "to shine." A Deva is a celestial being whether good, 



214 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

bad or indifferent which inhabits the three "worlds," or the three 
planes above us. There are thirty-three groups or 330 millions of 
them. 

Devachan. The "dwelling of the gods." A state intermediate 
between two earth-lives, into which the Ego (Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or 
the Trinity made one) enters after its separation from Kama Rtipa, and 
the disintegration of the lower principles, on the death of the body on 
earth. 

Dhammapada (Pali). A work containing various aphorisms from 
the Buddhist Scriptures. 

Dhyana (Sans.). One of the six paramitas or perfections. A state 
of abstraction which carries the ascetic practising it far above the 
region of sensuous perception, and out of the world of matter. Lit., 
"contemplation." The six stages of dhyana differ only in the degrees 
of abstraction of the personal Ego from sensuous life. 

Dhyan ChohailS. Lit., the "lords of contemplation." The highest 
gods, answering to the Roman Catholic archangels. The divine in- 
telligences charged with the supervision of kosmos. 

Double. The same as the astral body or "doppelganger." 

E. 

EcstaSIS (Gr.). A psycho-spiritual state; a physical trance which 
induces clairvoyance, and a beatific state which brings on visions. 

EgO (Lai.). "I"; the consciousness in man of the "I am I," or the 
.feeling of "I-am-ship." Esoteric philosophy teaches the existence of 
two Egos in man, the mortal or personal, and the higher, the divine or 
impersonal; calling the former "personality," and the latter "indi- 
viduality." 

EgOlty. Egoity means "individuality" never "personality," as it 
is the opposite of Egoism or "selfishness," the characteristic par 
excellence of the latter. 

Eidolon (Gr.). The same as that which we term the human 
phantom, the astral form. 

Elementals. Spirits of the elements. The creatures evolved in the 
four kingdoms, or elements earth, air, fire, and water. They are 
called by the Kabalists, gnomes (of the earth), sylphs (of the air), 
salamanders (of the fire), and undines (of the water). Except a few of 
the higher kinds and their rulers, they are rather the forces of nature 
than ethereal men and women. These forces, as the servile agents of 



GLOSSARY. 215 

the occultist, may produce various effects; but if employed by "ele- 
mentaries" (Kama Rupas) in which case they enslave the mediums 
they will deceive. All the lower invisible beings generated on the 
fifth, sixth, and seventh planes of our terrestrial atmosphere are called 
elementals peris, devs, djins, sylvans, satyrs, fauns, elves, dwarfs, 
trolls, norns, kobolds, brownies, nixies, goblins, pinkies, banshees, 
moss people, white ladies, spooks, fairies, etc. 

Eleusinia (Gr.). The Eleusinian Mysteries were the most famous 
and the most ancient of all the Greek mysteries (with the exception of 
the Samothracian), and were performed near the hamlet of Eleusis, not 
far from Athens. Epiphanius traces them to the days of Iacchos 
(1800 B.C.). They were held in honour of Demeter, the great Ceres, 
and the Egyptian Isis; and the last act of the performance referred to 
a sacrificial victim of atonement and a resurrection, when the initiate 
was admitted to the highest degree of Epopt. The festival of the 
Mysteries began in the month of Boedromion (September), the time of 
grape-gathering, and lasted from the 15th to the 22nd seven days. 
The Hebrew Feast of Tabernacles the feast of ingatherings in the 
month of Ethanim (the seventh) also began on the 15th and ended on 
the 22nd of that month. The name of the month (Ethanim) is derived, 
according to some, from adonim, adonia, attenim, ethanim, and was in 
honour of Adonai, or Adonis (Tham), whose death was lamented by 
the Hebrews in the groves of Bethlehem. The sacrifice of "bread and 
wine" was performed both in the Eleusinia and during the Feast of 
Tabernacles. 

Emanation. This doctrine, in its metaphysical meaning, is opposed 
to evolution, yet one with it. Science teaches that, physiologically, 
evolution is a mode of generation in which the germ that develops the 
foetus preexists already in the parent, the development and final form 
and characteristics of that germ being accomplished by nature; and 
that (as in its cosmology) the process takes place bli?idly, through the 
correlation of the elements and their various compounds. Occultism 
teaches that this is only the apparent mode, the real process being 
emanation, guided by intelligent forces under an immutable law. 
Therefore, while the Occultists and Theosophists believe thoroughly 
in the doctrine of evolution as given out by Kapila and Manu, they are 
"emanationists" rather than "evolutionists." The doctrine of emana- 
tion was at one time universal. It was taught by the Alexandrian, as 
well as by the Indian philosophers, by the Egyptian, the Chaldaean, 



216 the: key to theosophy. 

and Hellenic hierophants, and also by the Hebrews (in their Kabalah, 
and even in Genesis). For it is only owing to deliberate mistranslation 
that the Hebrew word asdt was translated "angels" from the Septua- 
gint, while it means "emanations," "aeons," just as with the Gnostics. 
Indeed, in Deuteronomy (xxxiii. 2) the word asdt or ashdt is translated 
as "fiery law," whilst the correct rendering of the passage should be, 
"from his right went (not a fiery law, but) a fire according to law," viz., 
that the fire of one flame is imparted to and caught up by another 
like as in a trail of inflammable substance. This is precisely emana- 
tion, as shown in Isis Unveiled. "In evolution, as it is now beginning 
to be understood, there is supposed to be in all matter an impulse to 
take on a higher form a supposition clearly expressed by Manu and 
other Hindu philosophers of the highest antiquity. The philosopher's 
tree illustrates it in the case of the zinc solution. The controversy 
between the followers of this school and the emanationists may be 
briefly stated thus: The evolutionist stops all enquiry at the borders 
of 'the unknowable'; the emanationist believes that nothing can be 
evolved or, as the word means, unwombed or born except it has 
first been involved, thus indicating that life is from a spiritual potency 
above the whole." 

Esoteric. Hidden, secret. From the Greek csotericos "inner," con- 
cealed. 

Esoteric Bodhism. Secret wisdom or intelligence, from the Greek 
esotericos, "inner," and the Sanskrit bodhi, "knowledge," in contra- 
distinction to buddlii, "the faculty of knowledge or intelligence," and 
buddhism, the philosophy or law of buddha, the "enlightened." Also 
written "Budhism," from budlia (intelligence, wisdom) the son of 
Soma. 

Eurasians. An abbreviation of "European- Asians." The mixed 
coloured races; the children of the white fathers, and the dark mothers 
of India, and vice versa. 

Exoteric. Outward, public; the opposite of esoteric or hidden. 

Extra-COSmiC. Outside of kosmos or nature. A nonsensical word 
invented to assert the existence of a personal god independent of or 
outside nature per se; for as nature, or the universe, is infinite and 
limitless there can be nothing outside it. The term is coined in 
opposition to the pantheistic idea that the whole kosmos is animated 
or informed with the spirit of deity, nature being but the garment, and 
matter the illusive shadows, of the real unseen Presence. 



GLOSSARY. 217 

F. 

Ferho (Syriae?). The highest and greatest creative power with the 
Nazarene Gnostics. 

Fire-Phil0S0pherS. The name given to the Hermetists and Alche- 
mists of the Middle Ages, and also to the Rosicrucians. The latter, 
the successors of Theurgists, regarded fire as the symbol of deity. It 
was the source, not only of material atoms, but the container of the 
spiritual and psychic forces energizing them. Broadly analyzed, fire is 
a triple principle; esoterically, a septenary, as are all the rest of the 
elements. As man is composed of spirit, soul, and body, plus a four- 
fold aspect; so is fire. As in the works of Robert Flood (Robertus de 
Fluctibus), one of the famous Rosicrucians, fire contains firstly, a 
visible flame (body); secondly, an invisible, astral fire (soul); and 
thirdly, spirit. The four aspects are (a) heat (life), (b) light (mind), 
(c) electricity (kamic or molecular powers), and (d) the synthetic 
essences, beyond spirit, or the radical cause of its existence and mani- 
festation. For the Hermetist or Rosicrucian, when a flame is extinct 
on the objective plane r it has only passed from the seen world into the 
unseen ; from the knowable into the unknowable. 

G. 

Ga.uta.ma. (Safis.). A proper name in India. It is that of the prince 
of Kapilavastu, son of Suddhodana, the Shakhya King of a small terri- 
tory on the borders of Nepaul, born in the seventh century B.C., now 
called the "saviour of the world." Gautama or Gotama was the sacer- 
dotal name of the Shakhya family. Born a simple mortal, he rose to 
Buddhahood through his own personal and unaided merit; a man 
verily greater than any god ! 

Gebirol. Solomon ben Yehudah, called in literature Avicebron. 
An Israelite by birth, a philosopher, poet and kabalist; a voluminous 
writer and a mystic. He was born in the eleventh century at Malaga 
(1021), educated at Saragossa, and died at Valencia in 1070, murdered 
by a Mahomedan. His fellow-religionists called him Salomon, the 
Sephardi, or the Spaniard, and the Arabs, Abu Ayyub Suleiman ben- 
Ya'hya Ibn Djebirol, whilst the Scholastics named him Avicebron (see 
Myer's Qabbalali). Ibn Gebirol was certainly one of the greatest 
philosophers and scholars of his age. He wrote much in Arabic, 
and most of his MSS. have been preserved. His greatest work appears 
to be the Me'qor ' Hayyim, i.e., Fountain of L,ife, "one of the earliest 



2l8 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

exposures of the secrets of the speculative Kabbalah," as his biographer 
informs us. 

Gnosis (Gr.). Iyit. "knowledge." The technical term used by the 
schools of religious philosophy, both before and during the first cen- 
turies of so-called Christianity, to denote the object of their enquiry. 
This spiritual and sacred knowledge, the gtipta-vidyd of the Hindus, 
could only be obtained by initiation into spiritual mysteries of which 
the ceremonial "Mysteries" were a type. 

Gnostics (Gr.). The philosophers who formulated and taught the 
Gnosis or knowledge. They flourished in the first three centuries of 
the Christian era. The following were eminent: Simon Magus, Valen- 
tinus, Basilic! es, Marcion, etc. 

Golden Age. The ancients divided the life cycle into the Golden, 
Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages. The Golden was an age of primeval 
purity, simplicity and general happiness. 

Great Age. There are several "Great Ages" mentioned by the an- 
cients. In India the Great Age embraced the whole mahd-manvantara, 
the "Age of Brahma," each "Day" of which represents the life cycle of 
a "chain," i.e., it embraces a period of seven "rounds" (see Esoteric 
Buddhism, by A. P. Sinnett). Thus while a "Day" and a "Night" 
represent, as manvantai'a and pralaya, 8,640,000,000 years, an "Age" 
lasts through a period of 311,040,000,000,000; after which the pralaya 
or dissolution of the universe becomes universal. With the Egyptians 
and Greeks the Great Age referred only to the Tropical, or Sidereal 
Year, the duration of which is 25,868 solar years. Of the complete 
age that of the gods they said nothing, as it was a matter to be 
discussed and divulged only at the Mysteries, and during the initiation 
ceremonies. The Great Age of the Chaldees was the same in figures 
as that of the Hindus. 

Guhya.-Vldya (Sans.). The secret knowledge of mystic mantras. 

Gupta-vidya (Sans.). The same as guhya-vidya. Esoteric or secret 
science, knowledge. 

GygeS. "The ring of Gyges" has become a familiar metaphor in 
European literature. Gyges was a Lydian, who, after murdering the 
King Candaules, married his widow. Plato tells us that Gyges de- 
scending once into a chasm of the earth, discovered a brazen horse, 
within whose opened side was the skeleton of a man of gigantic stature, 
who had a brazen ring on his finger. This ring when placed on his own 
finger made him invisible. 



GLOSSARY. 219 

H. 

Hades (Gr.). Aides is the "invisible," the land of shadows; one of 
whose regions was Tartarus, a place of complete darkness, as was also 
the region of profound dreamless sleep in Amenti. Judging by the 
allegorical description of the punishments inflicted therein, the place 
was purely karmic. Neither Hades nor Amenti were the Hell still 
preached by some retrograde priests and clergymen; and whether 
represented by the Elysian Fields or by Tartarus, it could only be 
reached by crossing the river to the "other shore." As well expressed 
in Egyptian Belief (Bonwick), the story of Charon, the ferryman of the 
Styx, is to be found not only in Homer, but in the poetry of many 
lands. The River must be crossed before gaining the Isles of the Blest. 
The Ritual of Egypt described a Charon and his boat long ages before 
Homer. He is Khu-en-ra, "the hawk-headed steersman." 

Hallucinations. A state produced sometimes by physiological dis- 
orders, sometimes by mediumship, and at others by drunkenness. But 
the cause that produces the visions has to be sought deeper than physi- 
ology. All such, particularly when produced through mediumship, are 
preceded by a relaxation of the nervous system, invariably generating 
an abnormal magnetic condition which attracts to the sufferer waves of 
astral light. It is these latter that furnish the various hallucinations, 
which, however, are not always, as physicians would explain them, 
mere empty and unreal dreams. No one can see that which does not 
exist i.e., which is not impressed in or on the astral waves. But a 
seer may perceive objects and scenes, whether past, present or future, 
which have no relation whatever to himself; and perceive, moreover, 
several things entirely disconnected with each other at one and the 
same time, so as to produce the most grotesque and absurd combina- 
tions. Both drunkard and seer, medium and adept, see their respective 
visions in the astral light; only while the drunkard, the madman, and 
the untrained medium, or one in a brain fever, see, because they cannot 
help it, and evoke jumbled visions unconsciously to themselves without 
being able to control them, the adept and the trained seer have the 
choice and the control of such visions. The)' know where to fix their 
gaze, how to steady the scenes they wish to observe, and how to see 
beyond the upper outward layers of the astral light. With the former 
such glimpses into the waves are hallucinations ; with the latter they 
become the faithful reproduction of what actually has been, is, or will 
be taking place. The glimpses at random, caught by the medium, and 



226 THE KEY 1*3 THEOSOPHY. 

his flickering visions in the deceptive light, are transformed under the 
guiding will of the adept and seer into steady pictures, the truthful 
representation of that which he wills to come within the focus of his 
perception. 

Hell. A term which the Anglo-Saxon race has evidently derived 
from the name of the Scandinavian goddess, Hela, just as the word Ad, 
in Russian and other Slavonian tongues expressing the same concep- 
tion, is derived from the Greek Hades ; the only difference between the 
Scandinavian cold Hell, and the hot Hell of the Christians, being found 
in their respective temperatures. But the idea of these overheated 
regions is not original with the Europeans, many people having enter- 
tained the conception of an under- world climate : as well we may, if we 
localize our Hell in the centre of the earth. All exoteric regions the 
creeds of the Brahmans, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Mahomedans, Jews, 
and the rest, make their Hells hot and dark, though many are more 
attractive than frightful. The idea of a hot Hell is an afterthought, the 
distortion of an astronomical allegor)^. With the Egyptians Hell be- 
came a place of punishment by fire not earlier than the 17th or 18th 
Dynast}', when Typhon was transformed from a god into a devil. But 
at whatever time they implanted this dread superstition in the minds of 
the poor ignorant masses, the scheme of a burning Hell and souls tor- 
mented therein is purely Egyptian. Ra (the Sun) became the L,ord of 
the Furnace, in Karr, the Hell of the Pharaohs, and the sinner was 
threatened with misery "in the heat of infernal fires." "A lion was 
there," says Dr. Birch, " and was called the roaring monster." Another 
describes the place as "the bottomless pit and lake of fire, into which 
the victims are thrown" (compare Revelation). The Hebrew word ga'i- 
hinnom (gehenna) had never really the significance given to it in 
Christian orthodoxy. 

Hennas, an ancient Greek writer, of whose works only a few frag- 
ments now remain extant. 

HierOgrammatistS. The title given to those Egyptian priests who 
were entrusted with the writing and reading of the sacred and secret 
records. The "scribes of the secret records" literally. They were the 
instructors of the neophytes preparing for initiation. 

HierOphant. From the Greek hierophantes, literally "he who ex- 
plains sacred things"; a title belonging to the highest adepts in the 
temples of antiquity, who were the teachers and expounders of the 
Mysteries, and the initiators into the final great Mysteries. The hiero- 



GLOSSARY. 221 

pliant stood for the demiurge, and explained to the postulants for 
initiation the various phenomena of creation that were produced for 
their tuition. "He was the sole expounder of the exoteric secrets and 
doctrines. It was forbidden even to pronounce his name before an 
uninitiated person. He sat in the East, and wore as symbol of au- 
thority, a golden globe, suspended from the neck. He was also called 
mystagogus." (Mackenzie, The Royal Masonic Cyclopcedia?) 

Hillel. A great Babylonian Rabbi of the century preceding the 
Christian era. He was the founder of the sect of the Pharisees, a 
learned and a saintly man. 

HinStyina {Sans.). The "small vehicle"; a scripture and a school 
of the Buddhists, contrasted with the mahayana, the "great vehicle." 
Both schools are mystical. Also in exoteric superstition, the lowest 
form of transmigration. 

Homogeneity. From the Greek words homos, "the same"; and 
ge?ios, "kind." That which is of the same nature throughout, un- 
differentiated, non-compound, as gold is supposed to be. 

Hypnotism. A name given by Dr. Braid to the process by which 
one man of strong will-power plunges another of weaker mind into a 
kind of trance; once in such a state the latter will do anything suggested 
to him by the hypnotizer. Unless produced for beneficial purposes, the 
occultists would call it black magic or sorcery. It is the most dangerous 
of practices, morally and physically, as it interferes with the nerve 
fluids. 

I. 

IamblicUS. A great theosophist and an initiate of the third century. 
He wrote a great deal about the various kinds of demons who appear 
through evocation, but spoke severely against such phenomena. His 
austerities, purity of life and earnestness were great. He is credited 
with having been levitated ten cubits high from the ground, as are 
some modern Yogis and mediums. 

Illusion. In occultism everything finite (such as the universe and 
all in it) is called "illusion" or may a. 

Individuality. One of the names given in theosophy and occultism 
to the human higher Ego. We make a distinction between the im- 
mortal and divine and the mortal human Ego which perishes. The 
latter or "personality" (personal Ego) survives the dead body only for 
a time in Kama loka: the "individuality" prevails for ever. 



222 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Initiate. From the Latin initiatus. The designation of any one 
who was received into and had revealed to him the mysteries and 
secrets of either Masonry or Occultism. In times of antiquity they 
were those who had been initiated into the arcane knowledge taught 
by the hierophants of the Mysteries; and in our modern days those 
who have been initiated by the adepts of mystic lore into the mysterious 
knowledge, which, notwithstanding the lapse of ages, has yet a few real 
votaries on earth. 

Ishvara (Sans.). The "Lord," or the personal god, divine spirit i?i 
man. Literally "sovereign" (independent) existence. A title given to 
Shiva and other gods in India. Shiva is also called Ishvaradeva, or 
Sovereign Deva. 

J. 

Javidan Khirad (Pers.). A work on moral precepts. 

Jhana (Pali). The Sanskrit jUdna, knowledge; occult wisdom. 

JosephllS, Flavius. A historian of the first century; a Hellenized 
Jew who lived in Alexandria and died at Rome. He was credited by 
Eusebius with having written the sixteen famous lines relating to 
Christ, which were most probably interpolated by Eusebius himself, 
the greatest forger among the Church Fathers. This passage, in which 
Josephus, although, he was an ardent Jew and died in Judaism, is 
nevertheless made to acknowledge the messiahship and divine origin of 
Jesus, is now declared spurious both by most of the Christian Bishops 
(Lardner among others) and even by Paley. (See his Evidences of 
Christianity?) It was for centuries one of the weightiest proofs of the 
real existence of Jesus, the Christ. 

Jukabar ZivO. A Gnostic term. The "Lord of the ^Eons" in the 
Nazarene system. He is the procreator (emanator) of the seven "Holy 
Lives" (the seven primal Dhyan Chohans or archangels, each repre- 
senting one of the cardinal virtues), and is himself called the third 
Life (third Logos). In the Codex Nazarceus he is addressed as the 
"Helm" and "Vine" of the food of life. Thus he is identical with 
Christ (Christos) who says: "I am the true vine and my Father is the 
husbandman." (Jo/m, xv. i.) It is well known that Christ is regarded 
in the Roman Catholic Church as the "Chief of the iEons," as also is 
Michael, "who is as God." Such also was the belief of the Gnostics. 

K. 

Kabalah (Hed.). "The hidden wisdom of the Hebrew Rabbis of the 



GLOSSARY.- 223 

middle ages derived from the older secret doctrines concerning divine 
things and cosmogony, which were combined into a theology after the 
time of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon." All the works that fall 
under the esoteric category are termed Kabalistic. 

Kamaloka (Sans.'). The s<?;//z'-material plane, to us subjective and 
invisible, where the disembodied "personalities," the astral forms 
called Kama Rupa, remain until they fade out from it by the com- 
plete exhaustion of the effects of the mental impulses that created 
these eidolons of the lower animal passions and desires. It is the 
Hades of the ancient Greeks and the Amenti of the Egyptians the 
Land of Silent Shadows. 

Kama Rupa (Sa?is.). Metaphysically and in our esoteric philo- 
sophy it is the subjective form created through the mental and physical 
desires and thoughts in connection with things of matter, by all sen- 
tient beings ; a form which survives the death of its body. After that 
death, three of the seven "principles" (or, let us say, planes of the 
senses and consciousness on which the human instincts and ideation 
act in turn) viz., the body, its astral prototype and physical vitality 
being of no further use, remain on earth ; the three higher principles, 
grouped into one, merge into a state of Devachan, in which state the 
higher Ego will remain until the hour for a new reincarnation arrives, 
and the eidolon of the ex-personality is left alone in its new abode. 
Here the pale copy of the man that was, vegetates for a period of time, 
the duration of which is variable according to the element of mate- 
riality which is left in it, and which is determined by the past life of 
the defunct. Bereft as it is of its higher mind, spirit and physical 
senses, if left alone to its own senseless devices, it will gradually fade 
out and disintegrate. But if forcibly drawn back into the terrestrial 
sphere, whether by the passionate desires and appeals of the surviving 
friends or by regular necromantic practices one of the most pernicious 
of which is mediumship the "spook" may prevail for a period greatly 
exceeding the span of the natural life of its body. Once the Kama 
Rupa has learnt the way back to living human bodies, it becomes a 
vampire feeding on the vitality of those who are so anxious for its 
company. In India these eidolons are called pisdchas and are much 
dreaded. 

Kapilavastu (Sans.). The birthplace of the Lord Buddha, called 
the "yellow dwelling," the capital of the monarch who was the father 
of Gautama Buddha. 



224 THE K EY TO THEOSOPHY. 

KardeC, Allan. The adopted name of the founder of the French 
Spiritists, whose real name was Rivaille. It was he who gathered and 
published the trance utterances of certain mediums and afterwards 
made a "philosophy" of them between the years 1855 and 1870. 

Karma (Sans.). Physically, Action; metaphysically, the Law of 
Retribution; the Law of Cause and Effect or Ethical Causation. It is 
Nemesis only in the sense of bad Karma. It is the eleventh nidana in 
the concatenation of causes and effects in orthodox Buddhism ; yet it is 
the power that controls all things, the resultant of moral action, the 
metaphysical samskara, or the moral effect of an act committed for the 
attainment of something which gratifies a personal desire. There is 
the Karma of merit and the Karma of demerit. Karma neither punishes 
nor rewards ; it is simply the one universal law which guides unerringly 
and, so to say, blindly, all other laws productive of certain effects along 
the grooves of their respective causations. When Buddhism teaches 
that "Karma is that moral kernel (of any being) which alone survives 
death and continues in transmigration" or reincarnation, it simply 
means that there remains nought after each personality, but the causes 
produced by it, causes which are undying, i.e., which cannot be elimi- 
nated from the universe until replaced by their legitimate effects, and 
so to speak, wiped out by them. And such causes, unless compensated 
with adequate effects during the life of the person who produced them, 
will follow the reincarnated Ego and reach it in its subsequent in- 
carnations until a full harmony between effects and causes is fully 
reestablished. No "personality" a mere bundle of material atoms 
and instinctual and mental characteristics can, of course, continue as 
such in the world of pure spirit. Only that which is immortal in its 
very nature and divine in its essence, namely, the Ego, can exist for 
ever. And as it is that Ego which chooses the personality it will 
inform after each Devachan, and which receives through these person- 
alities the effects of the karmic causes produced, it is, therefore, the 
Ego, that .SV^-which is the "moral kernel" referred to, and in fact 
embodied Karma itself "which alone survives death." 

Kether (Heb.). "The Crown, the highest of the ten Sephiroth; the 
first of the supernal triad. It corresponds to the Macroprosopus, Vast 
Countenance, or Arikh Anpin, which differentiates into Chokmah and 
Binah." 

Krishna (Sans.). The most celebrated avatara of Vishnu, the 
"saviour" of the Hindus and the most popular god. He is the eighth 



GLOSSARY. 225 

avatdra, the son of Devaki, and nephew of Kansha, the Indian Herod, 
who while seeking for him among the shepherds and cowherds who 
concealed him, slew thousands of their newly-born babes. The story 
of Krishna's conception, birth and childhood is the exact prototype 
of the New Testament story. The missionaries, of course, try to show 
that the Hindus stole the story of the nativity from the early Christians 
who came to India. 

Kshetrajfia, or Kshetrajrieshvara (Sans.). Embodied spirit in oc- 
cultism, the conscious Ego in its highest manifestations; the reincar- 
nating principle, or the "Eord" in us. 

KuiTUira (Sans.). A virgin boy or young celibate. The first ku- 
mdras are the seven sons of Brahma, born out of the limbs of the god 
in the so-called ninth "creation." It is stated that the name was given 
to them owing to their formal refusal to "procreate" their species, and 
thus they "remained Yogis" according to the legend. 

L. 

LaJbre, St. A Roman saint solemnly beatified a few years ago. 
His great holiness consisted in sitting at one of the gates of Rome 
night and day for forty years, and remaining unwashed through the 
whole of that time, the result of which was that he was eaten by 
vermin to his bones. 

LaO-Tze (Chi?i.). A great sage, saint, and philosopher, who was 
the contemporary of Confucius. 

Law Of Retribution. See "Karma." 

Linga Sharira (Sans.). "Astral body," i.e., the aerial symbol of the 
body. This term designates the doppelgdnger, or the "astral body" of 
man or animal. It is the eidolon of the Greeks, the vital and prototypal 
body, the reflection of the man of flesh. It is born before man and 
dies or fades out with the disappearance of the last atom of the body. 

Log"OS (Gr.). The manifested deity with every nation and people; 
the outward expression or the effect of the cause which is ever con- 
cealed. Thus, speech is the logos of thought; hence, in its meta- 
physical sense, it is aptly translated by the terms "Verbum," and 
"Word." 

Long" Face. A kabalistic term; Arikh Anpin in Hebrew, or "Eong 

Face"; in Greek, Macroprosopos, as contrasted with "Short Face," or 

Zeir Anpin, the Microprosopos. One relates to deity, the other to man, 

the "little image of the great form." 

16 



226 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

LonginilS, Dionysius Cassius. A famous critic and philosopher, 
born in the very beginning of the third century (about A.d. 213). He 
was a great traveller, and attended at Alexandria the lectures of Am- 
monius Saccas, the founder of Neoplatonism, but was rather a critic 
than a follower. Porphyry (the Jew Malek or Malchus) was his pupil 
before he became the disciple of Plotinus. It is said of him that he 
was a living library and a walking museum. Towards the end of his 
life he became the instructor in Greek literature of Zenobia, Queen of 
Palmyra. She repaid his services by accusing him before the Emperor 
Aurelian of having advised her to rebel against the latter, a crime for 
which Longinus, with several others, was put to death by the Emperor 
in 273. 

M. 

Macrocosm. The "great universe" or kosmos. 

MaglC. The "great" science. According to Deveria and other 
Orientalists, "Magic was considered as a sacred science inseparable 
from religion" by the oldest and most civilized and learned nations. 
The Egyptians, for instance, were a most sincerely religious nation, as 
were, and are still, the Hindus. " Magic consists of, and is acquired 
by, the worship of the gods," says Plato. Could, then, a nation which, 
owing to the irrefragable evidence of inscriptions and papyri, is proved 
to have firmly believed in magic for thousands of years, have been 
deceived for so long a time? And is it likely that generations upon 
generations of a learned and pious hierarchy, many among whom led 
lives of self-martyrdom, holiness and asceticism, would have gone on 
deceiving themselves and the people (or even only the latter) for the 
pleasure of perpetuating belief in "miracles"? Fanatics, we are told, 
will do anything to enforce belief in their god or idols. To this we 
reply: In such cases Brahmans and Egyptian rekhget-amens or hiero- 
phants, would not have popularized the belief in the power of man to 
command the services of the gods by magic practices; which gods are in 
truth but the occult powers or potencies of nature, personified by the 
learned priests themselves, who reverenced in them only the attributes 
of the one unknown and nameless principle. As Proclus, the Platonist, 
ably puts it: "Ancient priests, when they considered that there is a 
certain alliance and sympathy in natural things to each other, and of 
things manifest to occult powers, and discovered that all things subsist 
in all, fabricated a sacred science from this mutual sympathy and simi- 



GLOSSARY. 227 

larity .... and applied for occult purposes both celestial and 
terrene natures, by means of which, through a certain similitude, they 
deduced divine natures into this inferior abode." Magic is the science 
of communicating with and directing supernal supramundane poten- 
cies, as well as commanding those of lower spheres; a practical know- 
ledge of the hidden mysteries of nature which are known only to the 
few, because they are so difficult to acquire without falling into sin 
against the law. Ancient and mediaeval mystics divided magic into 
three classes Theurgia, Goetia and Natural Magic. "Theurgia has 
long since been appropriated as the peculiar sphere of the theosophists 
and metaphysicians," says Kenneth Mackenzie. "Goetia is black 
magic, and 'natural' or white magic has risen with healing in its wings 
to the proud position of an exact and progressive study." The remarks 
added by our late learned brother are remarkable: "The realistic 
desires of modern times have contributed to bring magic into dis- 
repute and ridicule Faith (in one's own self) is an essential 

element in magic, and existed long before other ideas which presume 
its preexistence. It is said that it takes a wise man to make a fool; and 
a man's idea must be exalted almost to madness, i.e., his brain suscepti- 
bilities must be increased far beyond the low miserable status of 
modern civilization, before he can become a true magician, for a pur- 
suit of this science implies a certain amount of isolation and an ab- 
negation of self." A very great isolation certainly, the achievement of 
which constitutes a wonderful phenomenon, a miracle in itself. Withal, 
magic is not something supemahiral. As explained by Iamblichus, 
"they, through the sacerdotal theurgy, announce that they are able to 
ascend to more elevated and universal essences, and to those that are 
established above fate, viz., to god and the demiurgus: neither employ- 
ing matter, nor assuming any other things besides, except the observa- 
tion of a sensible time." Already some are beginning to recognize the 
existence of subtle powers and influences in nature, in which they have 
hitherto known nought. But, as Dr. Carter Blake truly remarks, "the 
nineteenth century is not that which has observed the genesis of new, 
nor the completion of old, methods of thought"; to which Mr. Bonwick 
adds, that "if the ancients knew but little of our mode of investigation 
into the secrets of nature, we know still less of their mode of research." 

Magic, Black. Sorcery, abuse of powers. 

Magic, Ceremonial. Magic, according to kabalistic rites, worked 
out, as alleged by the Rosicrucians and other mystics, by invoking 



228 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

powers spiritually higher than man, and commanding elementals who 
are far lower than himself on the scale of being. 

Magic, White. "Beneficent magic," so called, is divine magic, 
devoid of selfishness, love of power, of ambition or lucre, and bent 
only on doing good to the world in general and one's neighbour in 
particular. The smallest attempt to use one's abnormal powers for the 
gratification of self makes of these powers sorcery or black magic. 

Mahamanvantara (Sans.). The great interludes between the Manus 
the period of universal activity. Ma?ivantara here implies simply a 
period of activity as opposed to pralaya or rest without reference to 
the length of the cycle. 

Mahat (SansJ). Lit., the "great" one. The first principle of uni- 
versal intelligence and consciousness. In the Pauranic philosophy, 
the first product of root-nature or pradhana (the same as mulaprakriti); 
the producer of manas the thinking principle, and of akankdra, egotism 
or the feeling of "I am I" in the lower Manas. 

Mahatma (Sans.). Lit., "great soul." An adept of the highest 
order. An exalted being, who having attained to the mastery over his 
lower principles, is therefore living unimpeded by the "man of flesh." 
Mahatmas are in possession of knowledge and power commensurate 
with the stage they have reached in their spiritual evolution. Called in 
Pali Arahats or Rahats. 

Mahayana (Sans.). A school of Buddhistic philosophy; lit., the 
"great vehicle." A mystical system founded by Nagarjuna. Its books 
were written in the second century B.C. 

Manas (Sans.'). Lit., "mind." The mental faculty which makes of 
a man an intelligent and moral being, and distinguishes him from the 
mere animal; a synonym of mahat. Esoterically, however, it means, 
when unqualified, the higher Ego or the sentient reincarnating prin- 
ciple in man. When qualified it is called by Theosophists Buddhi- 
Manas, or the spiritual soul, in contradistinction to its human reflection 
Kama-Manas. 

Manasa-putra (Sans.). Lit., "the sons of mind" or mind-born sons; 
a name given to our higher Egos before they incarnated in mankind. 
In the exoteric though allegorical and symbolical Puranas (the ancient 
mythological writings of Hindus), it is the title given to the mind-born 
sons of Brahma, the kumdras. 

ManaS-Sutratma (Sans.). Two words meaning "mind" (manas) 
and "thread soul" (sutrdtmd). It is, as said, the synonym of our 



Glossary. 229 

Ego, or that which reincarnates. It is a technical term of Vedantic 
philosophy. 

Manas-Taijasa {Sans.). Lit, the "radiant" Manas; a state of the 
Higher Ego which only high metaphysicians are able to realize and 
comprehend. The same as "Buddhi-Taijasa," which see. 

Mantras (Sans.). Verses from the Vedic works, used as incantations 
and charms. By mantras are meant all those portions of the Vedas 
which are distinct from the Brahmanas, or their interpretation. 

Manil (Sans.). The great Indian legislator. The name comes from 
the Sanskrit root man, to think, Man really standing only for Svayam- 
bhuva, the first of the Manus, who started from Svayambhu, the Self- 
existent, who is hence the L,ogos and the progenitor of mankind. Manu 
is the first legislator almost a divine being. 

Manvailtara (Sans.) A period of manifestation, as opposed to pra- 
laya, dissolution or rest; the term is applied to various cycles, especially 
to a Day of Brahma 4,320,000,000 solar years and to the reign of one 
Manu 308,448,000. Lit., Manu-antara "between Manus." (See Secret 
Doctrine, ii. 68, et seg.) 

Master. A translation from the Sanskrit guru, "spiritual teacher," 
and adopted by the Theosophists to designate the adepts, from whom 
they hold their teachings. 

Materializations. In Spiritualism the word signifies the objective 
appearance of the so-called "spirits of the dead," who re-clothe them- 
selves occasionally in matter; i.e., they form for themselves out of the 
materials at hand found in the atmosphere and the emanations of those 
present, a temporary body bearing the human likeness of the defunct, 
as he appeared when alive. Theosophists accept the phenomena of 
"materialization," but they reject the theory that it is produced by 
"spirits," i.e., the immortal principles of disembodied persons. Theo- 
sophists hold that when the phenomena are genuine which is a fact of 
rarer occurrence than is generally believed they are produced by the 
larvcs, the eidolons, or kamalokic "ghosts" of the dead personalities. 
(See "Kamaloka" and "Kama Rupa.") As Kamaloka is on the earth- 
plane and differs from its degree of materiality only in the degree of its 
plane of consciousness, for which reason it is concealed from our normal 
sight, the occasional apparition of such shells is as natural as that of 
electric balls and other atmospheric phenomena. Electricity as a fluid, 
or atomic matter (for Occultists hold with Maxwell that it is atomic), is 
ever, though invisibly, present in the air. This fluid can also manifest 



230 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

under various shapes, but only when certain conditions are present to 
"materialize" it, when it passes from its own on to our plane and makes 
itself objective. Similarly with the eidolons of the dead. They are 
present around us, but being on another plane do not see us any more 
than we see them. But whenever the strong desires of living men and 
the conditions furnished by the abnormal constitutions of mediums are 
combined together, these eidolons are drawn nay, pulled down from 
their plane on to ours and made objective. This is necromancy; it does 
no good to the dead, and great harm to the living, in addition to the 
fact that it interferes with a law of nature. The occasional materializa- 
tion of the "astral bodies" or doubles of living persons is quite another 
matter. These "astrals" are often mistaken for the apparitions of the 
dead, since, chameleon-like, our own "elementaries" along with those 
of the disembodied and cosmic elementals, will often assume the appear- 
ance of those images which are strongest in our thoughts. In short, at 
the so-called "materialization seances," it is those present and the 
medium who create the peculiar "apparition." Independent apparitions 
belong to another kind of psychic phenomena. 

Materialist. Not necessarily only one who believes in neither God 
nor soul, but also any person who materializes the purely spiritual; 
such as believers in an anthropomorphic deity, in a soul capable of 
burning in hell fire, and a hell and paradise as localities instead of 
states of consciousness. American "Substantialists," a Christian sect, 
are materialists, as also the so-called Spiritualists. 

Maya (Sans.). Illusion ; the cosmic power which renders phenomenal 
existence and the perceptions thereof possible. In Hindu philosophy 
that alone which is changeless and eternal is called reality: all that 
which is subject to change through decay and differentiation, and which 
has, therefore, a beginning and an end, is regarded as may a illusion. 

Medilimship. A word now accepted to indicate that abnormal 
psycho-physiological state which leads a person to take the fancies of 
his imagination, his hallucinations, real or artificial, for realities. No 
entirely healthy person on the physiological and psychic planes can 
ever be a medium. That which mediums see, hear, and sense, is "real" 
but untrue; it is either gathered from the astral plane, so deceptive in 
its vibrations and suggestions, or from pure hallucinations, which have 
no actual existence but for him who perceives them. "Mediumship" 
is a kind of vulgarized mediatorship in which one afflicted with this 
faculty is supposed to become an agent of communication between a 



GLOSSARY. 23I 

living man and a departed "spirit." There exist regular methods of 
training for the development of this undesirable acquirement. 

Mercavah {Heb.). "A chariot. The Kabalists say that the 
Supreme, after he had established the ten Sephiroth which, in their 
totality, are Adam Kadmon, the Archetypal Man used them as a chariot 
or throne of glory in which to descend upon the souls of men." 

Mesmerism. The term comes from Mesmer, who rediscovered this 
magnetic force and its practical application toward the year 1775, at 
Vienna. It is a vital current that one person may transfer to another; 
and through which he induces an abnormal state of the nervous system 
that permits him to have a direct influence upon the mind and will of 
the subject or mesmerized person. 

Metaphysics. From the Greek meta, beyond, and physica, the things 
of the external material world. It is to forget the spirit and hold to 
the dead letter, to translate it "beyond nature" or supernatural, as it 
is rather beyond the natural, visible, or concrete. Metaphysics, in 
ontology and philosophy, is the term to designate that science which 
treats of the real and permanent being as contrasted with the unreal, 
illusionary, or phenomenal being. 

Microcosm. The "little universe," meaning man, made in the image 
of his creator, the Macrocosm, or "great universe," and containing all that 
the latter contains. These terms are used in occultism and theosophy. 

Mishnah {Heb.'). L,it., a "repetition," from the word shanah, "to 
repeat" something said orally. A summary of written explanations 
from the oral traditions of the Jews and a digest of the scriptures on 
which the later Talmud was based. 

Moksha {Sans.). The same as nirvana; a post mortem state of rest 
and bliss of the "soul-pilgrim." 

Monad. It is the "unity," the "one"; but in occultism it often 
means the unified duad, Atma-Buddhi or that immortal part of man 
which, incarnating in the lower kingdoms and gradually progressing 
through them to man, finds thence way to the final goal nirvana. 

Monas {Gr.). In the Pythagorean system the Duas emanates from 
the higher and solitary Monas, which is thus the First Cause. 

MonOgeneS {Gr.). Literally, the "only-begotten"; a name of 
Proserpina and other goddesses and gods, as also of Jesus. 

Mundaka Upanishad {Sans.). Lit., the "Mundaka Esoteric Doc- 
trine." A work of high antiquity. 

Mysteries. The Sacred Mysteries were enacted in the ancient 



232 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

temples by the initiated hierophants for the benefit and instruction of 
candidates. The most solemn and occult were certainly those which 
were performed in Egypt by "the band of secret-keepers," as Mr. 
Bonwick calls the hierophants. Maurice describes their nature very 
graphically in a few lines. Speaking of the Mysteries performed in 
Philae (the Nile-island), he says: "It was in these gloomy caverns that 
the grand mystic arcana of the goddess (Isis) were unfolded to the 
adoring aspirant, while the solemn hymn of initiation resounded 
through the long extent of these stony recesses." The word "mystery" 
is derived from the Greek mud, "to close the mouth," and every symbol 
connected with them had a hidden meaning. As Plato and many of 
the other sages of antiquity affirm, these Mysteries were highly reli- 
gious, moral, and beneficent as a school of ethics. The Grecian 
Mysteries, those of Ceres and Bacchus, were only imitations of the 
Egyptian, and the author of Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought 
informs us that our own word "chapel or capella is said to be the 
caph-cl or college of el, the solar divinity." The well-known Kabiri 
are associated with the Mysteries. 

In short, the Mysteries were in every country a series of dramatic 
performances, in which the mysteries of cosmogony and nature in 
general were personified by the priests and neophytes, who enacted the 
parts of various gods and goddesses, repeating supposed scenes (alle- 
gories) from their respective lives. These were explained in their 
hidden meaning to the candidates for initiation and incorporated into 
philosophical doctrines. 

Mystery Language. The sacerdotal secret "jargon" used by the 
initiated priests, and employed only when discussing sacred things. 
Every nation had its own "mystery" tongue, unknown to all save 
those admitted to the Mysteries. 

MyStlC. From the Greek word mysticos. In antiquity, one belong- 
ing to those admitted to the ancient Mysteries; in our own times, one 
who practises mysticism, holds mystic, transcendental views, etc. 

Mysticism. Any doctrine involved in mystery and metaphysics, 
and dealing more with the ideal worlds than with our actual, matter- 
of-fact universe. 

N. 

Nazarene Codex. The Scriptures of the Nazarenes and of the 
Nabatheans also. According to sundry Church Fathers, Jerome and 



Glossary. 233 

Epiphanius especially, they were heretical teachings, but are in fact one 
of the numerous Gnostic readings of cosmogony and theogony, which 
produced a distinct sect. 

Necromancy. The raising of the images of the dead, considered in 
antiquity and by modern occultists as a practice of black magic. 
Iamblichus, Porphyry and other theurgists deprecated the practice no 
less than Moses, who condemned the "witches" of his day to death, 
the said witches being often only mediums, e.g., the case of the witch 
of Endor and Samuel. 

Neoplatonists. A school of philosophy which arose between the 
second and third century of our era, and was founded by Ammonius 
Saccas, of Alexandria. The same as the Philaletheians, and the Analo- 
geticists ; they were also called Theurgists and by various other names. 
They were the Theosophists of the early centuries. Neoplatonism is 
Platonic philosophy plus ecstasy, divine Raja Yoga. 

Nephesh (Heb.). "Breath of life," anima, mens vita, appetites. 
The term is used very loosely in the Bible. It generally means Prana, 
"life" ; in the Kabalah it is the animal passions and the animal soul. 
Therefore, as maintained in theosophical teachings, nephesh is the 
prana-kamic principle, or the vital animal soul in man. 

Nirmanakaya (Sans.). Something entirely different in esoteric 
philosophy from the popular meaning attached to it, and from the 
fancies of the Orientalists. Some call the nirmdna kaya, or body, 
ii nirvd?ia, with remains" (Schlagintweit), on the supposition, probably, 
that it is a kind of nirvanic condition during which consciousness and 
form are retained. Others say that it is one of the trikdya (three bodies) 
with "the power of assuming any form of appearance in order to pro- 
pagate Buddhism" (Eitel's idea); again, that "it is the incarnate avatdra 
of a deity" (ibid.). Occultism, on the other hand, says (Voice of the 
Silence) that nirmanakaya, although meaning literally a transformed 
"body," is a state. The form is that of the adept or yogi who enters, 
or chooses, that post mortem condition in preference to the dharmakdya 
or absolute nirvanic state. He does this because the latter kaya 
separates him for ever from the world of form, conferring upon him a 
state of selfish bliss, in which no other living being can participate, the 
adept being thus precluded from the possibility of helping humanity, or 
even devas. As a nirmanakaya, however, the adept leaves behind him 
only his physical body, and retains every other "principle," save the 
kamic, for he has crushed this out for ever from his nature during life, 



234 ^HK KEY TO THEiOSOPHY. 

and it can never resurrect in his post mortem state. Thus, instead of 
going into selfish bliss, he chooses a life of self-sacrifice, an existence 
which ends only with the life-cycle, in order to be enabled to help man- 
kind in an invisible, yet most effective, manner. (See Voice of the 
Silence, Third Treatise, "The Seven Portals.") Thus a ?iirmdnakdya is 
not, as popularly believed, the body "in which a Buddha or a Bodhi- 
sattva appears on earth," but verily one who, whether a chutuktu or a 
khubilkhan, an adept or a yogi during life, has since become a member 
of that invisible Host which ever protects and watches over humanity 
within karmic limits. Mistaken often for a " spirit," a deva, God him- 
self, etc., a nirmanakdya is ever a protecting, compassionate, verily a 
guardian, angel to him who is worthy of his help. Whatever objection 
may be brought forward against this doctrine, however much it is 
denied, because, forsooth, it has never hitherto been made public in 
Europe, and therefore, since it is unknown to Orientalists, it must needs 
be a "myth of modern invention" no one will be bold enough to say 
that this idea of helping suffering mankind at the price of one's own 
almost interminable self-sacrifice, is not one of the grandest and noblest 
that was ever evolved from the human brain. 

Nirvana (Sans.). According to the Orientalists, the entire "blow- 
ing-out," like the flame of a candle, the utter extinction of existence. 
But in the esoteric explanations it is the state of absolute existence and 
absolute consciousness, into which the Ego of a man who had reached 
the highest degree of perfection and holiness during life, goes after the 
body dies, and occasionally, as in the case of Gautama Buddha and 
others, during life. 

Nirvani (Sa?is.). One who has attained nirvana an emancipated 
Soul. That nirvana means something quite different from the puerile 
assertions of Orientalists, every scholar who has visited India, China, 
or Japan, is well aware. It is "escape from misery," but only from that 
of matter, freedom from kleshd, or kama, and the complete extinction 
of animal desires. If we are told that the Abhidhamma defines nirvana 
as " a state of absolute annihilation" we concur, adding to the last word 
the qualification "of everything connected with matter or the physical 
world," and this simply because the latter (as also all in it) is illusion 
or mdyd. Shakyamuni Buddha said in the last moments of his life: 
"the spiritual body is immortal." As Mr. Eitel, the scholarly Sinolo- 
gist, explains it: "The popular exoteric systems agree in defining 
nirvana negatively as a state of absolute exemption from the circle of 



glossary. 235 

transmigration ; as a state of entire freedom from all forms of existence, 
to begin with, freedom from all passion and exertion ; a state of in- 
difference to all sensibility " and he might have added "death of all 
compassion for the world of suffering." And this is why the Bodhi- 
sattvas who prefer the nirmanakdya to the dharmakdya vesture stand 
higher in the popular estimation than the nirvdnis. But the same 
scholar adds that: "positively [and esoterically] they define nirvana as 
the highest state of spiritual bliss, as absolute immortality through 
absorption of the soul [spirit rather] into itself, but preserving indi- 
viduality, so that, e.g., Buddhas, after entering nirvana, may reappear 
on earth [i.e., in the future manvantara^\." 

Noumenon (Gr.). The true essential nature of Being as distinguished 
from the illusive objects of sense. 

NOUS (Gr.). A Platonic term for the higher mind or soul. It 
means spirit as distinct from animal soul, psyche; divine conscious- 
ness or mind in man. The name was adopted by the Gnostics for 
their first conscious cson, which, with the Occultists, is the third logos, 
cosmically, and the third "principle" (from above) or Manas, in 
man. 

Nout {Eg.). In the Egyptian Pantheon it meant the "One-only- 
One," because it does not proceed in the popular or exoteric religion 
higher than the third manifestation which radiates from the Unknow- 
able and the Unknown in the esoteric philosophy of every nation. 
The nous of Anaxagoras was the mahat of the Hindus Brahma, the 
first manifested deity "the mind or spirit self-potent." This creative 
principle is the primum mobile of everything to be found in the universe 
its soul or ideation. 

o. 

Occultism. See "Occult Sciences." 

Occult Sciences. The science of the secrets of nature physical 
and psychic, mental and spiritual; called Hermetic and esoteric sciences. 
In the West, the Kabalah may be named; in the East, mysticism, magic, 
and Yoga philosophy. The latter is often referred to by the chelds in 
India as the seventh darshana or school of philosophy, there being only 
six darshanas in India known to the world of the profane. These sciences 
are, and have been for ages, hidden from the vulgar, for the very good 
reason that they would never be appreciated by the selfish educated 
classes, who would misuse them for their own profit, and thus turn the 



236 The key "TO THEOSOPHY. 

divine science into black magic, nor by the uneducated, who would not 
understand them. It is often brought forward as an accusation against 
the esoteric philosophy of the Kabalah, that its literature is full of "a 
barbarous and meaningless jargon," unintelligible to the ordinary mind. 
But do not exact sciences medicine, physiology, chemistry, and the 
rest plead guilty to the same impeachment ? Do not official scientists 
veil their facts and discoveries with a newly-coined and most barbarous 
Grseco-Latin terminology? As justly remarked by our late brother, 
Kenneth Mackenzie, "to juggle thus with words, when the facts are so 
simple, is the art of the scientists of the present time, in striking con- 
trast to those of the seventeenth century, who called spades spades, and 
not 'agricultural implements.'" Moreover, whilst their "facts" would 
be as simple, and as comprehensible if rendered in ordinary language, 
the facts of occult science are of so abstruse a nature, that in most cases 
no words exist in European languages to express them. Finally our 
"jargon" is a double necessity (a) for describing clearly these facts 
to one who is versed in the occult terminology; and {b) for concealing 
them from the profane. 

Occultist. One who practises occultism, an adept in the secret 
sciences, but very often applied to a mere student. 

Occult World. The name of the first book treating of " Theo- 
sophy," its history, and certain of its tenets, written by A. P. Sinnett, 
then editor of the leading Indian paper, the Pioneer, of Allahabad. 

OlympiodoruS. The last Neoplatonist of fame and celebrity in 
the school of Alexandria. He lived in the sixth century under the 
Emperor Justinian. There were several writers and philosophers of 
this name in pre-Christian as in post-Christian periods. One of these 
was the teacher of Proclus, another a historian in the eighth century, 
and so on. 

OngCII. A Christian Churchman, born at the end of the second 
century, probably in Africa, of whom little, if anything, is known, 
since his biographical fragments have passed to posterity on the 
authority of Eusebius, the most unmitigated falsifier that has ever 
existed in any age. The latter is credited with having collected 
upwards of one hundred letters of Origen (Origenes Adamantius), 
which are now said to have been lost. To Theosophists, the most 
interesting of all the works of Origen is his "Doctrine of the Pre- 
existence of Souls." He was a pupil of Ammonius Saccas, and for a 
long time attended the lectures of this great teacher of philosophy. 



GLOSSARY. 237 

P. 

PanaenilS. A Platonic philosopher in the Alexandrian school of 
the Philaletheians. 

Pandora. In Greek Mythology, the first woman on earth, created 
by Vulcan out of clay to deceive Prometheus and counteract his gift to 
mortals. Each god having made her a present of some quality, she was 
made to carry them in a box to Prometheus, who, however, being 
endowed with foresight, sent her away, changing the gifts into evils. 
Thus, when his brother Epimetheus afterwards married her, on open- 
ing the box, all the evils now afflicting humanity issued from it, and 
have remained since then in the world. 

Pantheist. One who identifies God with nature and vice versa. If 
we have to regard deity as an infinite and omnipresent principle, this 
can hardly be otherwise; nature being thus simply the physical aspect 
of deity, or its body. 

Parabrahman (Sans.). A Vedantin term meaning "beyond Brahma." 
The supreme and the absolute principle, impersonal and nameless. In 
the Veda it is referred .to as "That." 

Parinirvana. In the Buddhistic philosophy the highest form of 
nirvana beyond the latter. 

ParSlS. The present Persian followers of Zoroaster, now settled in 
India, especially in Bombay and Gujerat; sun and fire worshippers. 
One of the most intelligent and esteemed communities in the country, 
generally occupied with commercial pursuits. There are between 
50,000 and 60,000 now left in India, where they settled some 1,000 
years ago. 

Personality. The teachings of occultism divide man into three 
aspects the divine, the thinking or rational, and the irrational or 
animal man. For metaphysical purposes also he is considered under 
a septenary division, or, as it is agreed to express it in Theosophy, he is 
composed of seven "principles," three of which constitute the higher 
triad, and the remaining four, the lower quaternary. It is in the latter 
that dwells the personality which embraces all the characteristics, in- 
cluding memory and consciousness, of each physical life in turn. The 
individuality is the higher Ego (Manas) of the triad considered as a 
unity. In other words the individuality is our imperishable Ego which 
reincarnates and clothes itself in a new personality at every new 
birth. 

Phallic Worship. Sex worship; reverence and adoration shown to 



238 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

those gods and goddesses which, like Shiva and Durga in India, sym- 
bolize respectively the two sexes. 

PhiladelphianS. Lit., "those who love their brother-men." A sect 
in the seventeenth century, founded by one Jane Lead. They objected 
to all rites, forms, or ceremonies of the Church, and even to the Church 
itself, but professed to be guided in soul and spirit by an internal deity, 
their own Ego, or God within them. 

PhilaletheianS. See "Neoplatonists." 

Philo JudaeUS. A Hellenized Jew of Alexandria, a famous his- 
torian and philosopher of the first century; born about the year 30 B.C., 
and died between the years 45 and 50 a.d. Philo's symbolism of the 
Bible is very remarkable. The animals, birds, reptiles, trees, and places 
mentioned in it are all, it is said, "allegories of conditions of the soul, 
of faculties, dispositions, or passions; the useful plants were allegories 
of virtues, the noxious of the affections of the unwise, and so on through 
the mineral kingdom ; through heaven, earth and stars ; through foun- 
tains and rivers, fields and dwellings; through metals, substances, arms, 
clothes, ornaments, furniture, the body and its parts, the sexes, and our 
outward condition." {Did. Christ. Biog.) All of which would strongly 
corroborate the idea that Philo was acquainted with the ancient Kabalah. 

Philosopher's Stone. A term in Alchemy; called also the powder 
of projectioyi, a mysterious "principle" having the power of transmuting 
the base metals into pure gold. In Theosophy it symbolizes the trans- 
mutation of the lower animal nature of man into the highest divine. 

Phren. A Pythagorean term denoting what we call the Kama- 
Manas, still overshadowed by Buddhi-Manas. 

Plane. From the Latin planus (level, flat), an extension of space, 
whether in the physical or metaphysical sense. In occultism, the 
range or extent of some state of consciousness, or the state of matter 
corresponding to the perceptive powers of a particular set of senses or 
the action of a particular force. 

Planetary Spirits. Rulers and governors of the planets. Planetary 
gods. 

PlastlC. Used in occultism in reference to the nature and essence 
of the astral body, or the "protean soul." 

Pleroma. "Fulness"; a Gnostic term used also by St. Paul. 
Divine world or the abode of gods. Universal space divided into 
metaphysical ceons. 

PlotinilS. A distinguished Neoplatonic philosopher of the third 



GLOSSARY. 239 

century, a great practical mystic, renowned for his virtues and learn- 
ing. He taught a doctrine identical with that of the Vedantins, namely, 
that the spirit-soul emanated from the one deific principle, and after its 
pilgrimage on earth was reunited to it. 

Porphyry (Porphyrius). His real name was Malek, which led to his 
being regarded as a Jew. He came from Tyre, and having first studied 
under L,ongiuus, the eminent philosopher-critic, became the disciple of 
Plotinus, at Rome. He was a Neoplatonist and a distinguished 
writer, specially famous for his controversy with Iamblichus regarding 
the evils attending the practice of Theurgy, but was, however, finally 
converted to the views of his opponent. A natural-born mystic, he 
followed, like his master Plotinus, the pure Indian Raja Yoga system, 
which, by training, leads to the union of the soul with the over-soul of 
the universe, and of the human with its divine soul, Buddhi-Manas. 
He complains, however, that in spite of all his efforts, he reached the 
highest state of ecstasy only once, and that when he was sixty-eight 
years of age, while his teacher Plotinus had experienced the supreme 
bliss six times during. his life. 

Pot Amun. A Coptic term meaning "one consecrated to the god 
Amun," the Wisdom-god. The name of an Egyptian priest and 
occultist under the Ptolemies. 

Prajna (Sans.). A term used to designate the "universal mind." A 
synonym of via hat. 

Pra.l3.ya. {Sans.). Dissolution, the opposite of manvantara, one 
being the period of rest and the other of full activity (death and life) 
of a planet, or of the whole universe. 

Prana (Sans.). Life principle, the breath of life, nephesh. 

Protean Soul. A name for the mayavi ricpa or thought-body, the 
higher astral form which assumes all forms and every form at the will 
of an adept's thought. 

Psychism. The word is used now to denote every kind of mental 
phenomena, e.g., mediumship as well as the higher form of sensitive- 
ness. A newly-coined word. 

PliranaS (Sans.). Lit., "the ancient," referring to Hindu mytho- 
logical writings or scriptures, of which there is a considerable number. 

Pythagoras. The most famous Greek mystic philosopher, born at 
Samos about 586 B.C., who taught the heliocentric system and reincarna- 
tion, the highest mathematics and the highest metaphysics, and who 
had a school famous throughout the world. 



240 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Q- 

Quaternary. The four lower "principles" in man, those which con- 
stitute his personality (i.e., body, astral double, Prana or life, organs of 
desire, and lower Manas or brain-mind), as distinguished from the 
higher ternary or triad, composed of the higher spiritual soul, mind 
and Atman (Higher Self). 

R. 
Recollection, Remembrance, Reminiscence. Occultists make a 

difference between these three functions. As, however, a glossary 
cannot contain the full explanation of every term in all its metaphysical 
and subtle differences, we can only state here that these terms vary in 
their applications, according to whether they relate to the past or the 
present birth, and whether one or the other of these phases of memory 
emanates from the spiritual or the material brain ; or, again, from the 
"individuality" or the "personality." 

Reincarnation, or Re-birth; the once universal doctrine, which 
taught that the Ego is born on this earth an innumerable number of 
times. Now-a-days it is denied by Christians, who seem to misunder- 
stand the teachings of their own Gospels. Nevertheless, the putting on 
of flesh periodically and throughout long cycles by the higher human 
soul (Buddhi-Manas) or Ego is taught in the Bible as it is in all other 
ancient scriptures, and "resurrection" means only the re-birth of the 
Ego in another form. 

Reuchlin, John. A great German philosopher and philologist, 
Kabalist and scholar. He was born at Pfortzheim in Germany, in 1455, 
and early in youth was a diplomat. At one period of his life he held 
the high office of judge of the tribunal at Tubingen, where he remained 
for eleven years. He was also the preceptor of Melancthon, and was 
greatly persecuted by the clergy for his glorification of the Hebrew 
Kabalah, though at the same time called the "Father of the Reforma- 
tion." He died in 1522, in great poverty, the common fate of all who 
in those days went against the dead-letter of the Church. 

s. 

Sacred Science. The epithet given to the occult sciences in general, 
and by the Rosicrucians to the Kabalah, and especially to the Hermetic 
philosophy. 



GLOSSARY. 241 

Samadhi (Sans.). The name in India for spiritual ecstasy. It is a 
state of complete trance, induced by means of mystic concentration. 

Samkhara {Pali). One of the five Buddhist skandhas or attributes. 
"Tendencies of mind." 

Samma Sambuddha (Pali). The sudden remembrance of all one's 
past incarnations, a phenomenon of memory obtained through Yoga. 
A Buddhist mystic term. 

SamothraCC. An island in the Grecian Archipelago, famous in days 
of old for the Mysteries celebrated in its temples. These Mysteries 
were world-renowned. 

Samyuttaka Nikaya (Pali). One of the Buddhist siitras. 

Safin a (Pali). One of the five skandhas, or attributes, meaning 
"abstract ideas." 

Seance. A term now used to denote a sitting with a medium for 
sundry phenomena. Used chiefly among the Spiritualists. 

Self. There are two Selves in men the higher and the lower, the 
impersonal and the personal Self. One is divine, the other semi- 
animal. A great distinction should be made between the two. 

Sephiroth. A Hebrew kabalistic word for the ten divine emana- 
tions from Ain Suph, the impersonal, universal principle, or deity. 

Skandhas. The attributes of every personality, which after death 
form the basis, so to say, for a new karmic reincarnation. They are 
five in the popular or exoteric system of the Buddhists: i.e., rupa, form 
or body, which leaves behind it its magnetic atoms and occult affinities; 
vedand, sensations, which do likewise; sauna, or abstract ideas, which 
are the creative powers at work from one incarnation to another; 
samkhara, tendencies of mind; and vifindna, mental powers. 

Somnambulism. "Sleep walking." A psycho-physiological state, 
too well known to need explanation. 

Spiritism. The same as the following, with the difference that the 
Spiritualists almost unanimously reject the doctrine of reincarnation, 
while the Spiritists make of it the fundamental principle in their belief. 
There is, however, a vast difference between the views of the latter and 
the philosophical teachings of eastern occultists. Spiritists belong to 
the French school founded by Allan Kardec, and the Spiritualists of 
America and England to that of the "Pox girls," who inaugurated 
their theories at Rochester, U.S.A. Theosophists, while believing in 
the mediumistic phenomena of both Spiritualists and Spiritists, reject 
the idea of "spirits." 

17 



242 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Spiritualism. The modern belief that the spirits of the dead return 
on earth to commune with the living. 

St. Germain, Count. A mysterious personage, who appeared in 
the last century and early in the present one in France, England and 
elsewhere. 

Sthula Sharira (Sans.). The human physical body, in occultism and 
Vedantic philosophy. 

Sthulopadhi (Sans.). The physical body in its waking, conscious 
state (jagrat). 

Sukshmopadhi (Sans.). The physical body in the dreaming state 
(svapna), and kdranopdd/ii, the "causal body." These terms belong to 
the teachings of the Taraka Raja Yoga school. 

Summerland. The fancy name given by the Spiritualists to the 
abode of their disembodied "spirits," which they locate somewhere in 
the Milky Way. It is described on the authority of returning "spirits" 
as a lovely land, having beautiful cities and buildings, a Congress Hall, 
Museums, etc., etc. (See the works of Andrew Jackson Davis.) 

Swedenborg", Emanuel. A famous scholar and clairvoyant of the 
past century, a man of great learning, who had vastly contributed to 
science, but whose mysticism and transcendental philosophy placed 
him in the ranks of hallucinated visionaries. He is now universally 
known as the founder of the Swedenborgian sect, or the New Jerusalem 
Church. He was born at Stockholm (Sweden) in 1688, from Lutheran 
parents, his father being the Bishop of West Gothland. His original 
name was Swedberg, but on his being ennobled and knighted in 1719 
it was changed to Swedenborg. He became a mystic in 1743, and four 
years later (in 1747) resigned his office (of Assessor Extraordinary to 
the College of Mines) and gave himself up entirely to mysticism. He 
died in 1772. 

T. 

Taijasa (Sans.). From tejas "fire"; meaning the "radiant," the 
"luminous"; referring to the mdnasa rupa, "the body of manas," also 
to the stars, and the star-like shining envelopes. A term in Vedantic 
philosophy, having other meanings besides the occult signification just 
given. 

Taraka Raja Yoga (Sans.). One of the Brahmanical Yoga systems, 
the most philosophical, and in fact the most secret of all, as its real 
tenets are never given out publicly. It is a purely intellectual and 
spiritual school of training. 



GLOSSARY. 243 

Tetragrammaton (Gr.). The deity-name in four letters, which are 
in their English form IHVH. It is a kabalistical term and corresponds 
on a more material plane to the sacred Pythagorean tetraktys. 

TheodidaktOS (Gr.). The "God taught," a title applied to Ammo- 
nius Saccas. 

TheOgOliy. From the Greek theogonia, lit., the "genesis of the gods." 

TheOSOphia (Gr.). Lit., "divine wisdom or the wisdom of the gods." 

TherapeutaS, or Therapeuts {Gr.). A school of Jewish mystic 
healers, or esotericists, wrongly referred to, by some, as a sect. They 
resided in and near Alexandria, and their doings and beliefs are to this 
day a mystery to the critics, as their philosophy seems a combination 
of Orphic, Pythagorean, Essenian and purely Kabalistic practices. 

Theurgy. From the Greek theiourgia. Rites for bringing down to 
earth planetary and other spirits or gods. To arrive at the realization 
of such an object, the theurgist had to be absolutely pure and unselfish 
in his motives. The practice of theurgy is very undesirable and even 
dangerous in the present day. The world has become too corrupt and 
wicked for the practice of that which such holy and learned men as 
Ammonius, Plotinus, Porphyry and Iamblichus (the most learned 
theurgist of all) could alone attempt with impunity. In our day 
theurgy or divine, beneficent magic is but too apt to become goetic, or 
in other words sorcery. Theurgy is the first of the three subdivisions 
of magic, which are theurgic, goetic and natural magic. 

Thread Soul. The same as sidratma, which see. 

ThuiTlOS (Gr.). A Pythagorean and Platonic term ; applied to an 
aspect of the human soul, to denote its passionate kamarupic condi- 
tion: almost equivalent to the Sanskrit word tamas, "the quality of 
darkness," and probably derived from the latter. 

TimaeuS of Locris. A Pythagorean philosopher, born at Locris. 
He differed somewhat from his teacher in the doctrine of metem- 
psychosis. He wrote a treatise on the soul of the world and its nature 
and essence, which is in the Doric dialect and still extant. 

Triad Or Trinity. In every religion and philosophy the three in one. 

u. 

Universal Brotherhood. The sub-title of the Theosophical Society, 
and the first of the three objects professed by it. 

Upadhi (Sans.). Basis of something, substructure; as in occultism 
substance is the upadhi of spirit. 



244 THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. 

Upanishad (Sans.). Lit, "esoteric doctrine." The third division 
of the Vedas, and classed with revelation (shruti or "revealed word"). 
Some 150 or even 200 of the Upanishads still remain extant, though no 
more than about 12 can be fully relied upon as free from falsification. 
These 12 are all earlier than the sixth century B.C. I,ike the Kabalah, 
which interprets the esoteric sense of the Bible, so the Upanishads ex- 
plain the mystic sense of the Vedas. Professor Cowell has two state- 
ments regarding the Upanishads as interesting as they are correct. 
Thus he says: (1) These works have "one remarkable peculiarity, the 
total absence of any Brahmanical exclusiveness in their doctrine. . . 
They breathe an entirely different spirit, a freedom of thought unknown 
in any earlier work except the Rig Veda hymns themselves"; and (2) 
"the great teachers of the higher knowledge \_gupta-vidya], and Brah- 
mans, are continually represented as going to Kshatriya kings to be- 
come their pupils \chelas~\" This shows conclusively that (a) the 
Upanishads were written before the enforcement of caste and Brahmani- 
cal power, and are thus only second in antiquity to the Vedas ; and (b) 
that the occult sciences or the "higher knowledge," as Cowell puts it, 
is far older than the Brahmans in India, or at any rate than the caste 
system. The Upanishads are, however, far later than gupta-vidya, or 
the "secret science" which is as old as human philosophical thought 
itself. 

V. 

Vahail (Sans.). "Vehicle," a synonym of upadhi. 

VallabacharyaS (Sans.). The "Sect of the Maharajas" ; a licentious 
phallic-worshipping community, whose main branch is at Bombay. 
The object of the worship is the infant Krishna. The Anglo-Indian 
Government has been compelled several times to interfere in order to 
put a stop to its rites and vile practices, and its governing Maharajah, 
a kind of high priest, was more than once imprisoned, and very justly 
so. It is one of the blackest spots of India. 

Vedanta (Sans.). Meaning literally, the "end of [all] knowledge." 
Among the six darshanas or schools of philosophy, it is also called 
Uttaramimansa, or the "later" Mimansa. There are those who, unable 
to understand its esotericism, consider it atheistical; but this is not so, 
as Shankaracharya, the great apostle of this school, and its popularizer, 
was one of the greatest mystics and adepts of India. 

Vidya (Sans.). Knowledge, or rather "wisdom-knowledge." 



GLOSSARY. 245 

Vinfiana. (Pali). One of fiveskandhas; meaning exoterically, "mental 
powers." 

w. 

Wisdom-Religion. The same as Theosophy. The name given to the 
secret doctrine which underlies every exoteric scripture and religion. 

Y. 

Yoga (Sans.). A school of philosophy founded by Patanjali, but 
which existed as a distinct teaching and system of life long before that 
sage. It is Yajnavalkya, a famous and very ancient sage, to whom the 
White Yajur Veda, the Shatapatha Brahmana and the Brihad Aranyaka 
are attributed and who lived in pre-Mahabharatean times, who is 
credited with inculcating the necessity and positive duty of religious 
meditation and retirement into the forests, and who, therefore, is be- 
lieved to have originated the Yoga doctrine. Professor Max Miiller 
states that it is Yajnavalkya who prepared the world for the preaching 
of Buddha. Patanjali's Yoga, however, is more definite and precise as 
a philosophy, and embodies more of the occult sciences than any of 
the works attributed to Yajnavalkya. 

Yogi or Yoglll (Sans?). A devotee, one who practises the Yoga 
system. There are various grades and kind of Yogis, and the term has 
now become in India a generic name to designate every kind of ascetic. 

Yllga (Sans.). An age of the world of which there are four, which 
follow each other in a series, namely, krita (or satya) yuga, the golden 
age; treta yuga, dvdpara yuga, and finally kali yuga, the black age in 
which we now are. 

z. 

Zenobia. The Queen of Palmyra, defeated by the Emperor Aureli- 
anus. She had for her instructor Longinus, the famous critic and 
logician in the third century a.d. 

ZivO, Kabar, or Yukabar. The name of one of the creative deities 
in the Nazarene Codex. 

Zohar (Heb.). The Book of "Splendour," a Kabalistic work at- 
tributed to Simeon Ben Iochai, in the first century of our era. 

Zoroastrian. One who follows the religion of the Parsis, sun, or 
fire-worshippers. 

[Readers requiring fuller information about any particular term 
should consult The Theosophical Glossary. ,] 



INDEX, 



INDEX. 



Abammon, 3. 

Absolute, 2, 31, 42, 44, 45, 
48, 57, 58, 63, 72, 80, 117, 

135. 143- 
Absolute consciousness, 44, 

68. 
Absolute harmony, 75. 
Absolute impartiality, 75. 
Absolute justice, 74, 95. 
Absolute logic, 75. 
Absolute nothing, 79. 
Absolute oblivion, 100. 
Absolute spirit, 78. 
Absolute unity, 105. 
Absolute wisdom, 74. 
Absoluteness, 42, 44, 62. 
Absorption, 77, 78. 
Abstract, 38, 105. 
Abstract spirit, 46. 
Abstractions, 88. 
Accident, 83. 
Accumulated misery, 138. 
Action, 33, 48, 96, 134, 139, 

145, 155- 
Acts, 77. 
Adam, 127. 

Adam Kadmon, 127. 
Adepts, 15, 16, 100, 102, 135, 

146, 185, 187, 188, 189. 
Adjustment, 142. 
Adultery, 52. 

Aebel Zivo, 127. 
iEther, 72. 

Affection, spiritual, 102. 
Affinities, karmic, 116. 
After-life, 108. 
Age, unspiritual, 26. 
Age, golden, 40. 
Aged of the Aged, 127. 
Agnoia, 65. 
Agnostic Journal, 30. 
Agnostics, 65, 149, 182. 
Ahamkara, 92. 
Ain Suph, 42, 43. 
Alchemists, 1. 
Alchemy, 15, 26. 
Alexandria, 4. 



Alexandrian philosophers, 

All,' 23, 57, 58, 78, 80, 82, 

124. 
Allegory, 53. 
Altruism, 37, 161, 169. 
Amelioration, 158. 
American Spiritualists, 100. 
Americans, 10. 
Ammonius, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 

7, 16, 86. 
Amun, 2. 
Analogeticists, 1. 
Analogy, 2. 
Ananda, 10, 55. 
Anaxagoras, 65. 
Angels, 71, 125. 
Anima bruta, 72. 
Anima divina, 72. 
Anima mundi, 72. 
Animal desires, Sr, 82, 118, 

125. 
Animal flesh, 175. 
Animal instincts, 64, 80, 

118. 
Animal intelligence, 97. 
Animal-minded man, 81. 
Animal passions, 50, 66, 81, 

87, 118, 125. 
Animal plane, 98. 
Animal soul, 51, 63, 64, 65, 

69, 72, 78, 80, 82, 97, 104. 
Animals, 70, 71, 77, 85, 97. 
Annihilation, 54, 55, 64, 71, 

72, 73, 77, 78, 105, no, 

in, 114, 126, 129, 148. 
Anoia, 64, 78. 
Anthropomorphic God, 43, 

75- 
Anthropomorphism, 46. 
Apollonius of Tyana, 17. 
Arabia, Hierophants of, 26. 
Arcane Section of T. S., 

27. 
Archaic Doctrine, 4r, 62, 

78. 
Archaic knowledge, 25. 



Arcane philosophy, 64. 
Arhats, 10, 11, 54. 
Aristobulus, 4. 
Aristotle, 4, 72. 
Arnold, Edwin, 144. 
Aryan philosophy, 31. 
Asceticism, 174, 175, 186. 
Aspects (see Principles). 
Aspiration, 46, 153. 
Association of ideas, 85, 

86. 
Astral body, 20, 62, 63, 64, 

65, 87, 97, 103 (see Double). 
Astral capsule, 70. 
Astral eidolons, 97. 
Astral entity, 97. 
Astral inner man, 123, 141. 
Astral life, 102. 
Astral principles, 70, 102. 
Astral remains, 20. 
Astral shadow, 67. 
Astral soul, 71. 
Astrology, 16. 
Atheism, 54. 
Atheists, 43, 50, 143, 182. 
Athenagoras, 4, 5. 
Athenians, 67. 
Atma, 46, 63, 64, 66, 69, 70, 

72, 73, 77, 78, 79, 80, 82, 

92, 107, 117, 118, 119, 123, 

126, 127. 
Atma-Buddhi, 63, 64, 65, 
^ 77, 78, 82. 

Atma-Buddhi-Manas, 97. 
Atma-Buddhic light, 47. 
Atma-Buddhic monad, 88. 
Atmic elements, 67. 
Atmic vehicle, 118. 
Atom, 44, 58. 

Atonement, 72, 134, 144, 150. 
Attributes, 45, 88, 108. 
Aura, 98, 188. 
Aurora borealis, 58. 
Authority, 148. 
Avatara, 122. 

Backsliders, 170. 



250 



INDEX. 



Bactria, Sages of, 3. 
Balance of national Karma, 

138. 
Banner of Light, 100. 
Becoming, Ever-, 45. 
Being, 43, 44, 79, 113, 115, 

160. 
Belief, 112, 114, 115, 148. 
Belief and unbelief, Effect 

of, 114, 115. 
Bellamy, Edward, 31. 
Be-ness, 44, 78. 
Bhagavad Gltd, 34, 46. 
Bible,6, 29, 47, 74, 75, 77, 182. 
Bigandet, Bishop, 50. 
Bigotry, 33, 182. 
Birth (see Re-birth). 
Bishop, Washington 

Irving, 132. 
Black magic, 15, 16, 47, 188, 

189. 
Black brotherhood, 188. 
Blasphemy, 45, 48. 
Blind faith (see Faith). 
Bliss, 68, 99, 102, 109. 
Blood, 127, 151. 
Blood of Christ, 134, 150. 
Board schools, 178. 
Body (see Physical body). 
Body, celestial, 93. 
Body, terrestrial, 93. 
Bohme, Jakob, 3, 16. 
Book of Keys, 73. 
Brahma, 117. 
Brahma, 57, 58, 107. 
Brahma- Vidya, 2. 
Brahmanas, 55. 
Brahmans, 10, 47, 54, 149, 

150. 
Brain, 46, 63, 85, 87, 97, 103, 

129. 
Brain intellect, 66, 179. 
Brain stuff, 179. 
Breath, 67, 77, 78, 125. 
Brotherhood (see Universal 

Brotherhood). 
Brotherhood, Black, 188. 
Brothers of the Shadow, 

188. 
Brown-Sequard, Dr., 188. 
Brutality, 158. 
Brutes (see Animals). 
Buck, Dr. J. D., 12. 
Buddha, 6, 9, 10, 33, 34, 48, 

53, 54, 55, 56, 77, 88, 91, 

134, 154, 160. 
Buddhas, III, 127. 
Buddhi, 46, 63, 64, 66, 67, 

69, 72, 78, 92, 105, 107, 

108, no, 112, 117, 118, 

121, 125, 126, 127, 128. 
Buddhi-Manas, 73, 82, 90, 

107, 108, 118. 



Buddhi-Taijasa, ill. 
Buddhic radiance, 117. 
Buddhism, 7, 9, 10, n, 31, 

50, 52, 53, 56, 71, 88, 103, 

135, 154, 164, 167. 
Buddhist Birth Stories, 91. 
Buddhist Catechism, 52, 88, 

91- 

Buddhist texts, 78. 
Buddhists, 10, 50, 53, 69, 76, 
129, 134, 149, 150, 165, 166. 
Budhism, 10, 53. 
Butler, 86. 

Cadaver, 80. 

Cant, 155. 

Caste, 194. 

Causal body, 80, 82, 92, 116, 

117. 
Causation, 157, 159. 
Cause, 136, 151. 
Celibacy, 174. 
Celestial body, 95. 
Centrifugal spiritual 

energy, 128. 
Centripetal spiritual 

energy, 128. 
Ceremonial magic, 2. 
Ceylon, 50, 54. 
Chain, 60. 
Chaldaea, Hierophants of, 

26. 
Chaldees, 17. 
Change, 52, 80, 108. 
Character, 91, 158. 
Charges against Madame 

Blavatsky, 189. 
Charity, 31, 54, 163, 164, 

167, 168. 
Charity of mind, 163. 
Chelas, 81. 
Children, 178. 
Chinese Buddhism, 10. 
Christ (see Jesus Christ). 
Christendom, 50, 151. 
Christian duties, 154, 163. 
Christian Church, 56, 126, 

134, 178, 191. 
Christian Fathers, 77. 
Christian savages, 161. 
Christian scientists, 49. 
Christian theology, 65, 105, 

125, 147. 
Christianity, 3, 37, 38, 50, 

54, 77, 105, 126, 147, 150, 

154, 178. 
Christians, 28, 38, 47, 48, 

49, 50, 115, 128, 134, 149, 

150, 155- 
Christos, 46, 48, 105, 126. 
Civilization, 166. 
Clairvoyance, 145. 
Classes in society, 136. 



Clemens Alexandrinus, 3, 
26. 

Clement, 4, 5. 

Coarsening effect of flesh 
eating, 175. 

Codex Naza rceus, 127. 

Coleridge, 93. 

Collective suffering, 137. 

Commandments, 52. 

Communications with 
spirits, 21, 98, 102, 104, 
129, 130, 131, 132. 

Compassion, 146. 

Compensation, 123, 

Concrete, 38. 

Confucius, 6, 34, 161. 

Connelly, J. H., 140, 143. 

Conscience, 93, 128, 162, 
169. 

Conscious immortality, 112. 

Conscious life, in, 112. 

Conscious soul, 101. 

Consciousness, 24, 32, 44, 
46, 58, 61, 62, 64, 67, 68, 
6 9> 73, 74, 7 6 > 80, 82, 89, 
90, 92, 93, 98, 99, 102, 106, 
107, 108, no, in, 114, 116, 
117, 118, 121, 122, 136, 146, 
148, 149, 159, 160. 

Contemplation (see Medi- 
tation). 

Continuity, 107. 

Cooperation, 157. 

Correlation of forces, 70. 

Correspondences, 2, 67. 

Cosmic progress, 116. 

Cosmical ocean, 71. 

Cosmos, 44, 59, 65. 

Creation, 43, 44, 57, 75, 125. 

Creator, 42, 44, 75. 

Credulity, 148. 

Creed, T. S. has no, 14, 39, 
41. 

Creeds, 194. 

Crime, 50, 151, 166, 167, 179, 
191. 

Cup of life, 155. 

Cycle of being, 43. 

Cycle of incarnations, 24, 
100, 108, 113, 123, 124. 

Cycle of life, 43, 57, 68, 73, 
75, 78, 120, 127, 133. 

Cycle of necessity, 113. 

Cyclic rest, 102. 

Cyclic transmigrations, 76. 

Daily life (see Life). 
Damien, Father, 160, 161. 
Damnation, 100, 164. 
Dangers of intercourse with 

spirits, 130, 131. 
Darkness, 76. 
David, 47. 



INDEX. 



251 



Days and Nights of Brah- 
ma. 57, 58. 

Dead 100. 

Dear departed ones, 100. 

Death, 8, 24, 54, 64, 67, 82, 
87, 99, 102, 106, 107, 108, 
109, in, 113, 115, 128, 129, 
146. 

Deed, 33, 48, 96, 134, 139, 

145, 155. 
Defence of T. S., 167. 
Deific essence, 57. 
Deific principle, 42. 
Deists, 43. 

Deity, II, 44, 45, 46, 63, 65, 
66, 67, 68, 76, 77, 78, 105, 
107, 123, 135, 149, 151. 

Delusion, 100, 101. 

Demerit, 98, 135. 

Demeter, 67. 

Demoniacal wisdom, 62. 

Deniers, 49. 

Descent of spiritual Ego, 

105, no. 

Destiny, 67, 105, 123, 141, 

146, 162. 

Devachan, 20, 63, 67, 68, 71, 
73, 74, 88, 90, 95, 96, 97, 
98, 99, 100, 102, 104, 105, 

106, no, 114, 115, 116, 120, 
125, 128, 129, 133, 134, 146. 

Devachani, 99, 100, 101, 

102. 
Devachanic night, 135. 
Devachauic rest, 113. 
Devas, 48. 
Development, 36, 105, 156, 

157. 158, 159. 161, 175. 176, 
182, 186, 194. 

Dhamma, 55. 

Dharma, 144. 

Dhyan Chohans, 107, 113. 

Dhvana, 77. 

Difference between men 
and animals, 71. 

Differentiation, 148. 

Diogenes Lae'rtius, 2. 

Discord, 194. 

Discretion, 171. 

Discrimination, 160. 

Disease, 131, 176. 

Disembodied Ego, 116. 

Disembodied soul, 115. 

Disembodied spirits, 130. 

Disharmony, 139, 142. 

Disintegration of Princi- 
ples, 67, 87. 

Distributive Karma, 137, 
138. 

Divine aspect of man, 88. 

Divine being, 113. 

Divine consciousness, 82. 

Divine duad, 92. 



Divine Ego, 53, 64, 71, 113. 
Divine essence, 8, 30, 69, 

82, 147. 
Divine excellence, 78. 
Divine fire, 123. 
Divine justice, 83. 
Divine knowledge, 1, 2, 9. 
Divine light, 37. 
Divine love, 101. 
Divine man, 82, 120. 
Divine mercy, 104. 
Divine mind, 124. 
Divine nature, 39. 
Divine powers, 122. 
Divine principle, 43, 75, 80, 

92, 105, 118, 122, 126. 
Divine revelation, 107. 
Divine science, 1, 26. 
Divine secrets, 9. 
Divine self, 36. 
Divine soul, 69, 81, 105, 107, 

108. 
Divine spark, 20. 
Divine spirit, 50, 64, 69. 
Divine substance, 64. 
Divine transfiguration, 64. 
Divine triad, 125. 
Divine wisdom, 1, 3, 38. 
Divinity, 146, 164. 
Doctrines of Theosophy, 

13, 42, 84, 85, 147, 157, 

158, 167. 
Dogma, 9, 40, 51, 145, 147, 

148, 194. 
Double, 20, 66, 80, 81, 82, 

97, "8. 
Dreaming state, 80. 
Dreamless sleep, 109, nr, 

112. 
Dreams, 22, 61, 102, III, 

114, 115. 
Drugs, 176. 
Duad, 92. 
Dual Manas, 63, 64, 107, 

121. 
Dual monad, 82. 
Duality, 73. 
Dugpas, 188, 189. 
Duty, 31, 34, 147, 153, 154, 

155. 156, 158, 161, 162, 

163, 169, 171, 194. 

Earlier Theosophical 
movements, 13, 194. 

Earth, 59, 67, 96. 

Earth chain, 60. 

Earth life, 83, 90, 101, 106, 
in, 112, 113, 114, 115, 120, 
146. 

Eastern philosophy, 23, 73, 

79- 
Eastern school, 107. 
Eastern teachings, 70, 166. 



Eastern terms, English 
equivalents for, 118. 

Eastern wisdom, 61. 

Eclectic Theosophical Sys- 
tem, 1, 2, 3. 

Ecstasy, 3, 8, 47, 86. 

Edinburgh Encyclopedia, 
5,6. 

Edkins, Rev. J., 10. 

Education, 165, 177, 178, 
179, 180, 181, 182. 

Effect, 80, 104, 151. 

Efficacy of Theosophy, 29. 

Efflorescence, Spiritual, 
128. 

Eglinton, 131. 

Ego, 20, 21, 23, 24, 46, 47, 
53, 55, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 
68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 75, 
76, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 85, 
87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 

94, 95, 96, 98, 99, 100, 104, 
105, 106, 109, no, in, 112, 
113, 116, 117, 118, 120, 121, 
122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 
128, 129, 133, 162, 188. 

Egoship, 92. 

Egotism, 48. 

Egypt, Hierophants of, 7, 
26. 

Egyptian doctrines, 5. 

Egyptian system, 65. 

Egvptians, 25, 66. 

Eidolon, 66, 68, 87, 97. 

Element, 67, 78, 80. 

Elementals, 20, 130. 

Elementaries, 129. 

Eleusinian Mysteries, 7, 26. 

Eleusinian Mysteries, 148. 

Elevation of the race, 158. 

Emanation, 43, 58, 65, 75, 
79, 146, 147. 

Emerson, 166. 

Empedocles, 72. 

Energy, Spiritual, 128. 

English equivalents for 
Eastern terms, 118. 

Enthusiasm, 167. 

Entities, 68, 94, 112. 

Entity, 63, 73, 77, 94, 97, 98, 
117, 120, 122, 124, 125, 134. 

Environment, 89, 136. 

Epictetus, 162. 

Epilepsy, a symptom of 
mediumship, 132. 

Epistles, 77. 

Equilibrium, 138. 

Equity, 51, 105, 134. 

Errors of Nature, 149. 

Esoteric Buddhism, 10, 41, 
53, 60, 63, 64, 141, 190. 

Esoteric Buddhists, 9. 

Esoteric doctrine, 107, 166. 



252 



INDEX. 



Esoteric instructions, 15. 
Esoteric philosophy, 15, 

66, 91. 
Esoteric section of T. S., 

14, 15, 27, 34, 35, 41. 
Essence, 8, 30, 46, 48, 58, 

69, 70, 75, 78, 82, 112, 113, 

116, 117, 124, 147. 
Essenes of Carmel, 4, 7. 
Essential being, 79. 
Eternal Ego, 96. 
Eternal life, 115. 
Eternal light, 76. 
Eternal punishment, 74, 

145- 
Eternal reward, 74. 
Eternal truth, 100. 
Eternal wisdom, 69. 
Eternity, 78, 81, 108, 113, 

115, 122. 
Ether, 88. 
Ethics, 10, 11, 17, 27, 34, 

154- 
Eurasians, 50. 
Europeans, 10. 
Ever-Becoming, 45. 
Everlasting Truth, 193. 
Evil, 76, 122, 134, 136, 137, 

139, 142, 152, 157, 158, 165, 

166, 167, 171, 183. 
Evil Powers, 188. 
Evolution, 43, 44, 58, 83, 

158. 
Example, 167. 
Existence after death (see 

Post mortem life). 
Existence, Spiritual, 153. 
Experience, 60, 124, 152, 

153- 
Ex-personality, 97. 
External plane, 149. 
Extra-cosmic God, 55, 75. 
Eyes, Spiritual, hi, 

Faculties, Inner, 116, 176, 

194. 
Faculties, Rational, 77. 
Failure of earlier Theo- 

sophical movements, 193. 
Failures of nature, 115, 

128, 134. 
Faith, 60, 134, 147, 148, 182. 
Fakirs, 175. 
Fall of spirit into matter, 

152. 
Family duties, 161. 
Family group, 102. 
Fanaticism, 161. 
Fancy, 85, 86, 101. 
Fatal necessity, 76. 
Fatalism, 123. 
Fate, 67, 105, 123, 141, 146, 

162. 



Fate of lower principles, 

97- 
Father in heaven, 46. 
Father in secret, 48, 49, 55, 

69, 123. 
Fear, 162. 
Felicity, 100. 
Fetich-worship, 43, 54. 
Fever, Ravings of, 85. 
Fifth race, 133. 
Final goal, 152, 153. 
Final perfection, 133. 
Final rest, 133. 
Finite, 76. 
Fire, 123. 

Fire philosophers, 26, 72. 
Flesh of animals, 175, 176. 
Folk lore, 34. 
Forbearance, 168. 
Force, 61, 88, 159. 
Forces, Man a correlation 

of, 70. 
Foreknowledge, 8. 
Forgetfulness of self, 54. 
Forgiveness, 54, 150, 151, 

165, 169. 
Form, 42, 77, 78, 79, 113, 

128. 
Forster, Charles, 131. 
Foundation of the Kingdom 

of Righteousness, 77. 
Founders of the T. S., 172, 

183. 
Four principles, 62, 97 
Fourth plane, 62. 
Fourth round, 133. 
Fox sisters, 132. 
Fundamental principles, 

106. 
Future, 8. 

Future lives, no, 142, 177. 
Future of T. S., 193, 194, 

195- 
Future, Seeing the, 9, 86, 

no. 
Future state, 63, 93, 108. 

Genealogy of the Ego, 124. 

Genesis, 30, 74. 

Germain, St., 16. 

Glanvil, 131. 

Globes, 60. 

Gnosis, 7. 

Gnostics, 65, 76. 

Goal, 152, 153. 

Goblins, 131. 

God, 39, 42, 43. 44, 45. 46, 
47, 48, 49, 5o, 51, 52. 55, 
57, 65, 73, 74, 75, 76, 99, 
122, 125, 126, 135, 139, 144, 
145, 147, 149, 150, 182. 

God above us, 1 18. 

God in man, 50, 89, no, 123. 



God, Manas is a, 124. 
Gods, 48, 62, 79, 89. 
Golden age, 40. 
Golden thread, no. 
Good, 76, 103, 134, 139, 142, 

158. 
Gordian, Emperor, 3. 
Gospels, 37, 53. 
Gratitude, 165. 
Gravity, 88. 
Greek system, 65. 
Greeks, 25, 26. 
Gross matter, 73. 
Group, Family, 102. 
Gupta- Vidya, 10. 

Hades, 67, 68, 97, 129. 
Hallucinated hysteriacs, 89. 
Hallucinations, 86, 100, 101. 
Happiness, 100, 102, 152, 

154. 
Harmony, 75, 128, 138, 139, 

142. 
Hashish, 176. 

Headquarters of T. S., 33. 
Heart, 46, 56, 101. 
Heathen, 50, 51. 
Heaven, 54, 77. 
Heavenly wisdom, 62. 
Hell, 74, 93, 95, 125, 126, 

164. 
Hellenic teachers, 4. 
Hereafter, 93. 
Herennius, 6. 
Hennas, 127. 
Hermes, 5, 67. 
Heterogeneity, 122. 
Hierogrammatists, 7. 
Hierophants, 7, 26. 
Higher consciousness, 102. 
Higher Ego, 46, 117, 118, 

121. 
Higher life, 146. 
Higher Manas, 81, 82, 97, 

124. 
Higher mind, 80, 97. 
Higher nature, 169. 
Higher planes, 159, 160. 
Higher self, 8, 35, 36, 50, 55, 

82, 89, 90, 92, 116, 117, 118, 

121, 123, 162. 
Higher spiritual Ego, 47. 
Higher states of mind, 84. 
Higher triad, 97, 126. 
Hillel, 34. 
Hinayana, 7. 
Hinduism, 94. 
Hindus, 10, 47, 50, 57, 129, 

134, 165. 
History, 181. 
Holy Ghost, 191. 
Holy kiss, 73. 
Holy one, 76, 77. 



INDEX. 



253 



Home, D. D., 131. 
Homogeneity, 122. 
Homogeneous Essence, 46, 

58. 
Horace, 74. 
Hue, Abbe, 50. 
Humanity, 39, 146, 155, 156, 

159, 169. 
Human animal, 64. 
Human character, 158. 
Human consciousness, 93. 
Human Ego, 124. 
Human eidolon, 97. 
Human interdependence, 

136, 137. 179- 
Human law, 135. 
Human monad, 81. 
Human nature, 156, 167, 

168, 172. 
Human reason, 107. 
Human solidarity, 157, 158. 
Human soul, 2, 51, 63, 72, 

78, 81, 82, 107, 108, 116, 

122. 
Humbugs, 183. 
Hunter, Sir William, 50. 
Huxley, Mr., 22, 65. 
Hypnotism, 16, 18, 19, 49, 

117, 187, 188, 189. 
Hypocrites, 55. 
Hypotheses, 60, 88. 

I (see Ego). 

Iamblichus, 2, 3, 16. 

Ideas, Association of, 85, 86. 

Ideals, 34, 38, 105, 121, 147, 
168, 172, 190. 

Identity, 89. 

Identity of origin of reli- 
gions, 3, 40. 

Idleness, 169, 170. 

Idolatry, 9, 48, 54. 

Ignorance, 54, 66, 102, 148, 
170, 180. 

Illness, 176. 

Illusion, 44, 58, 77, 79, 81, 
100, 102, in, 113, 114, 120, 
121, 122, 146, 148. 

Immediate reincarnation, 
115, 128. 

Immorality, 166, 167, 177. 

Immortal Ego, 64, 188. 

Immortal element, 80. 

Immortal entity, 63. 

Immortal essence, 70. 

Immortal life, 122. 

Immortal man, 105. 

Immortal self, 34. 

Immortal spirit, 51. 

Immortal spiritual con- 
sciousness, 121. 

Immortality, 70, 74, 76, 79, 
82, 108, in, 112, 113, 121. 



Immutable law, 51, 58, 76, 

93- 
Impartiality, 75. 
Imperishable Ego, 55, 64, 

9 1 - 

Imperishable record, 151. 

Impersonal divine princi- 
ple, 80, 126. 

Implacability of karmic 
law, 135. 

Incantation, 47, 48. 

Incarnating Ego (see Rein- 
carnating Ego). 

Incarnatingpermauentself, 
89. 

Incarnating (see Reincar- 
nation). 

Incarnation-cycle (see Cy- 
cle). 

Indestructibility of spirit, 
103. 

India, 50, 54, 56, 77. 

India, Sages of, 3, 26. 

Indian doctrines, 5. 

Indifference, 157, 158. 

Individual consciousness, 

74- 
Individual Ego, 53, 88, 109. 
Individual immortality, 79. 
Individual judgment, 159. 
Individual Karma, 136. 
Individuality, 11, 20, 23, 24, 

53, 54, 64, 71, 72, 79, 82, 

90, 91, 96, 99, 102, 104, 113, 

114, 116, 124, 128, 147, 148. 
Inequalities of life, 96. 
Infinite, 8, 42, 46, 48, 58, 

135, 148, 149. 
Influences, 130. 
Initiates, 7, 16, 39, 53, 77, 

100, in, 117, 145, 186. 
Initiation, 56. 
Injur\ r , 170. 
Injustice, 96, 134, 146. 
Inner Ego, 118. 
Inner faculties and powers, 

176. 
Inner group, 15, 16, 26. 
Inner man, 72, 79, 12 r, 123, 

Hb 175- 
Inner perception, III. 
Inner section, 174, 175, 176, 

177. 
Inner self, 21, 71, 127. 
Inner selves, 96. 
Inspiration, 186, 1S8, 191. 
Inspiration of men by Nir- 

manakayas, 103. 
Instinct, 64, 66, So, 118. 
Instinctual soul, 67. 
Instructions, 15, 16. 
Instruments of research, 

59- 



Intellect, 66, 179. 
Intellectual capacities, 118. 
Intellectual conscious soul, 

101. 
Intelligence, 63, 97, 103, 

134- 
Intelligences, 131, 188. 
Intelligent powers, 149. 
Intercourse with goblins, 

131. 

Intercourse with spirits, 
130, 131, 132. 

Intent, 137. 

Interdependence of hu- 
manity, 136, 137, 179. 

Introduction to Theosophy, 
12. 

Intuition, 33, 93, 148, 149, 
161, 165, 176. 

Intuitional perception, 85. 

Invocation, 47. 

Involution, 44. 

Irrational animal soul, 64, 

65- 
Irrational spiritual soul, 69. 
Ishvara, 107. 
/sis Unveiled, 71, 123, 127, 

129, 150, 152. 
IT, 44, 58, 75, 82. 

Javar Zivo, 127. 
Javidan Khirad, 40. 
Jehovah, 43, 67, 162. 
Jesuits, 43. 
Jesus Christ, 5, 6, 7, 10, 29, 

30, 33. 34, 38, 42, 46, 47, 
48, 49, 50, 53, 54, 56, 126, 
129, 134, 135, 150, 152, 160, 
163, 164. 
Jesus, Teachings of, 7, 10, 

29, 3o, 33, 34, 38, 47, 48, 49, 
53, 126, 129, 135, 163, 164. 

Jews, 28, 45, 47, 55, 73, 75. 

Jhana, 88. 

John, Gospel of, 6, 126, 127. 

Josephus, 4. 

Judaism, 4. 

Judgment, 149, 159. 

Jukabar Zivo, 127. 

Justice, 49, 51,74,83,94,95, 
101, no, 133, 135, 151, 152, 
155, 158, 160, 165, 169. 

Kabalah, 15, 16, 32, 42, 43, 

76, 126. 
Kabalists, 2, 43, 65, 67, 70, 

126. 
Kama, 81. 
Kama Loka, 67, 96, 116, 

127, 129. 
Kama Rupa, 63, 64, 65, 66, 

80, 87, 97, 118, 122, 128, 

129. 



254 



INDEX. 



Kama-rupic phantom, 97. 

Kama-tending Manas, 124. 

Kamalokic shells, 20, 130. 

Karanopadhi, 80. 

Kardec, Allan, 129, 131. 

Karma, 33, 35, 50, 63, 67, 74, 
91, 92, 95, 101, 103, 104, 
108, 109, no, 113, 116, 117, 

123, 129, 133, 134, 135, 136, 
137, 138, 139. 140, 141, 142, 

143, 144, 145, 146, 151, 152, 
153. 155. i57> 159. 165, 166, 
167, 171, 179. 

Karma-Nemesis, 142. 

Karmic affinities, 116. 

Karmic complication, 83. 

Karmic effects, 88, 104. 

Karmic law, no, 135, 146, 

I5i- 
Karmic past, 131. 
Karmic punishment, 95, 

109. 
Karmic reincarnation, 129. 
Karmic responsibility, 153. 
Karmic transgression, 94. 
Kether Malchtcth, 44. 
Key to Religions, 4. 
Kindness, 155, 158. 
King John, 130. 
Kingdom of Heaven, 77. 
Knight, Prof. W., 86. 
Knowledge, 1, 2, 6, 9, 25, 

38, 40, 60, 147. 
Krishna, 46. 
Kshetrajfia, 46, 92. 
Kumaras, 94. 

Labre, St., 161, 175. 

Lancet, 185. 

Laotze, 34, 79. 

Law, 33, 45, 59, 75, 95, 100, 

101, 107, no, 133, 134,135, 
136, 146, 151. 

Law, immutable, 51, 58, 76, 

93- 

Law of compensation, 123. 

Law of retribution, 35, 74, 
95, 123, 145. 

Law, Spiritual, 32. 

Law, Unerring, 95, 96. 

Law, William, 13. 

Lectures on Platonic Philo- 
sophy, 86. 

Lethe, 95. 

Leviticus, 127. 

Liberated spirits, 71. 

Libraries of T. S., 33. 

Life, n, 40, 43, 57, 63, 64, 
68, 73, 75, 77, 78, 80, 81, 
83, 86, 87, 90, 94, 96, 97, 

102, 103, 106, 107, 109, in, 
112, 113, 115, 116, 119, 120, 
122, 127, 146, 147, 153. 



Life cycle (see Cycle of 

Life). 
Life principle, 80,82, 87, 119. 
Life soul, 53. 
Light, 37, 72, 76, 77. 
Light, 22, 8^. 
Light of Asia, 144. 
Light of Buddhi, 108, 121. 
Limbus, 97. 
Linga Sharira, 63, 87 (see 

Astral body). 
Literature, Theosophical, 

167, 186, 190, 191. 
Locke, 61, 85. 
Logic, 75, 104, 151. 
Logos, 43, 65, 75, 127. 
Long Face, 127. 
Longinus, 3. 
Looking Backxvard, 31. 
Loss of memory, 84. 
Loss of personal Ego, 112, 

127, 128. 
Loss of self-consciousness, 

107. 
Loss of soul (see Annihila- 
tion). 
Love, 54, 75, 76, 94, 100, 101, 

102, 158, 179. 
Lower Manas, 63, 64, 78, 81, 

97, 98, 107, 108, 118, 121, 

122, 124. 
Lower mind, 80. 
Lower personal Ego, 47. 
Lower principles, 97. 
Lower self, 105, 121, 179. 
Lucifer, 50, 106, 109. 
Luther, 13. 
Luxury, 157. 
Lytton, Bulwer, 166. 

Mackenzie, K. R. H., 76. 
Macrocosm, 62. 
Madness, 85. 
Magic, 2, 15, 16, 18, 19, 47, 

188, 189. 
Magic Powers, 189. 
Maha-manvantara, 43, 71, 

73- 
Mahat, 92. 
Mahatmas, 184, 185, 190, 

191. 
Malek, 3. 
Man, 57, 62, 64, 67, 69, 70, 72, 

79, 80, 81, 82, 88, 96, 105, 

118, 120, 121, 123, 127, 141, 

175, 176. 

Man and animals, Differ- 
ence between, 71. 

Man, Common origin of, 29, 

30, 31- 
Man conquerorovermatter, 

123. 
Man, Unity of, 32, 33, 57. 



Manas, 46, 65, 68, 69, 78, 81, 

82, 92, 97, 98, 107, 108, 1 10, 

in, 117, 118, 120, 121, 122, 

124, 127, 128, 129. 
Manas, Dual, 63, 64, 107, 

121. 
Manas, Reflection of, 65, 66, 

122. 
Manas-Sutratma, 112. 
Manas-Taijasa, 107, 108. 
Manasa-putras, 92, 94, 124. 
Manasic consciousness, no. 
Manasic Ego, 93. 
Manasic elements, 67. 
Manasic entity, 125. 
Manasic mind, 121. 
Manasic recollections, no. 
Manifestations, Spiritualis- 
tic, 19, 20, 21, 64, 98, 129, 

130. 
Manifested Deity, 107. 
Mant, Bishop, 125. 
Mantra, 47. 
Manu, 92, 95. 
Manvantara, 57, 94. 
"M.A. Oxon.," 103, 132. 
Marriage, 162, 177. 
Masonic Cyclopedia, 76. 
Masses, 165, 167. 
Masters, 16, 109, 185, 186, 

188, 189, 190, 191, 194. 
Material improvement, 159. 
Material life, 115. 
Material principles, 87, 92. 
Materialism, 30, 80, 86, 115. 
Materialists, 86, 89, 106, 108, 

in, 114,115, 118, 133, 143, 

149, 188. 
Materialization, 20, 64, 98, 

129, 130. 
Matter, 23, 30, 44, 68, 72, 73, 

74, 77,8i,93,H3, 123,148, 

152. 
Matter-spirit, 68. 
Maya, 81, 100. 
Mayavi Rupa, 128. 
Meadows of Hades, 67, 68. 
Meat eating, 176. 
Mediaeval Theosophists, 72. 
Mediaeval Theosophy, 15. 
Meditation, 3, 5, 8. 
Mediums, 21, 22,98, 131, 132. 
Mediumship, 15, 49, 131, 132, 

192. 
Megittawatte, 51. 
Members of T. S., Lay, 17. 
Members of T. S., Pledged, 

15- 

Memory, 24, 73, 77, 84, 85, 

86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 92, 95, 
106, 120, 122, 179, 181. 

Memory, Physical, 85, 86, 

87, 89, 179. 



INDEX. 



255 



Memory of the soul, 85. 

Mens, 81. 

Mental aspects, 79. 

Mental development, 156, 
194. 

Mental phenomena, 130. 

Mental plane, 136. 

Mental scientists, 49. 

Mercavah, 7. 

Merciful law, 101. 

Mercy, 51, 75, 94, 100, 104, 
146, 155, 161. 

Merit, 49, 98, 135. 

Mesmerism (see Hypno- 
tism). 

Messiah, 127. 

Metaphysical plane, 32. 

Metaphysical terms, 118. 

Metaphysicians, 71. 

Metaphysics, 53, 61, 66, 165, 
166. 

Michael, 94. 

Microcosm, 62. 

Mind, 51, 63, 65, 66, 68, 69, 
75, 80, 81, 82, 84, 86, 90, 
92, 97, 107, 118, 121, 124, 
163, 187. 

Ministering spirits, 125. 

Miracles, 19, 187. 

Misery, 24, 138, 179. 

Mishna, 76. 

Mistakes concerning the 
T. S., 13, 174- 

Mistakes concerning Theo- 
sophy, 167. 

Mnemonics, 85. 

Moksha, 76. 

Molecule, 44. 

Moment of birth, no. 

Moment of death, 109. 

Monad, 63, 81, 82, 88, 112. 

Monas, 65, 72. 

Moon, 67. 

Moral elevation, 36, 185. 

Moral engulfment, 138. 

Moral improvement, 194. 

Mortal man, 63. 

Moses, 4, 30, 47, 52, 131. 

Mosheim, 4, 5. 

Motion, 77, 78. 

Motive, 137, 147. 

Motto of T. S., 2. 

Movements, Earlier Theo- 
sophical, 194. 

Mundaka Upanishad, 107. 

Mundane life (see Earth- 
life). 

Muscular action, 131. 

Mussulmans, 50. 

Mysteries, 2, 3, 7, 25, 26, 
66, 67, 68, 94, 126, 148. 

Mysteries of God, 52, 122. 

Mysteries of Heaven, 54. 



Mysteriis, De, 3. 
Mystery language, 17. 
Mysticism, 16, 26, 131, 166, 
194. 

Names and principles, 116. 
Names, Sacred, 190, 191, 

192. 
National Karma, 136, 137, 

138, 165. 
Nationalists, 31. 
Nature, 2, 39, 43, 44, 51, 57, 

152, 156, 167, 168, 169, 172, 

187, 188. 
Nature, Errors of, 149. 
Nature, Failures of, 115, 

128, 134. 
Nature, Laws of, ^. 
Nature of Manas, 124. 
Nature of mind, 84. 
Nature, Secrets of, 17, 34. 
Necessity, Cycle of, 113. 
Necessity, Fatal, 76. 
Necromancy, 2, 131. 
Nemesis, 96, 142. 
Neoplatonic Philosophy, 

12. 
Neoplatonists, 2, 4, 70. 
Nephesh, 5T, 53, 65, 67, 74, 

127. 
New body, 87, 92. 
New brain, 87. 
New incarnation, 95, 108, 

126. 
New Jerusalem, 101. 
New man, 96. 
New memory, 87. 
New personality, 96, 104, 

112, 133- 
New Platonism and Al- 
chemy, 1, 4, 7, 8. 
New soul, 75. 
New Testament, 77. 
Night, 57, 125. 
Night of Brahma, 57, 58. 
Nirmanakayas, 102, 103. 
Nirvana, 48, 54, 68, 69, 76, 

77> 78, 79, 90, 91, 102, 113. 
Noah, 127. 
Nonentity, 98. 
Nothing, 78, 79. 
No-thing, 79. 
Noumena, 65, 108, 121. 
Nous, 62, 64, 65, 66, 78, 82. 
Nout, 65. 
Numbers and principles, 63, 

79- 

Objections to Reincarna- 
tion, 82, 84. 

Objective, Atma can never 
be, 117. 

Objectivity, 57, 61, 93, 115. 



Objects of the T. S., 14, 27, 

28, 33. 173- 
Oblivion, 100, 101. 
Occultism, 15, 16, 18, 19, 33, 

80, 81, 85, 146, 175, 177, 

188, 192. 
Occultist, 15, 17, 46, 47. 
Occultists, 77, 126. 
Occult powers, 18, 145, 175, 

176, 186, 188, 189. 
Occult sciences, 18, 19, 33, 

175- 
Occult truths, 103. 
Ocean of light, 72. 
01cott,.Col. H. S., 88, 91. 
Oldenburg, 55. 
Old Testament, 30. 
Olympiodorus, 86. 
Omniscience, 51. 
Omniscience of spiritual 

Ego, 89, 90, 100, 106. 
Omnipresent Principle, 45. 
One essence, 117. 
One law, 45. 
One reality, 120. 
One self, 1 19. 

One universal Self, 117, 118. 
One unknown Principle, 

123. 
One-only-One, 65. 
Only-begotten, 127. 
Opiiiion : 34, 159. 
Opium, 176. 
Orientalism, 10. 
Origen, 3, 6. 
Original programme of 

T. S., 173- 
Orpheus, 6. 
Orthodoxy, 13. 

Pagan duties, 154. 

Pagans, 149. 

Pain (see Suffering). 

Palace of Love, 76. 

Palestine, 55. 

Pan, 43, 44. 

Pantaenus, 4. 

Pantheism, 43. 

Pantheists, 43. 

Parable of the Vineyard, 
126. 

Parables, 55, 163. 

Parabrahman, 43, 149. 

Paradise, 68, 74, 77, 93, 98, 
in. 

Paralyzing the personal 
Ego, 89, 91. 

Parinirvana, 113. 

Parsis, 28. 

Passions, 50, 66, 81, 87, 118, 
125. 

Past incarnations (see Pre- 
vious incarnations). 



256 



INDEX. 



Path, 113, 117. 
Path, 27, 35. 
Paul, 9, 62, 64. 
Peace, 194. 
Pentateuch, 4, 74. 
Perception, Inner, in. 
Perfection, 133. 
Permanent Ego, 88. 
Permanent principle, 82, 

148. 
Permanent self, 89. 
Perpetual progress, 105, 

133- 
Persecution, 173, 183. 
Persephone, 67. 
Personal consciousness, 64, 

74- 
Personal Ego, 47, 53, 55, 

64, 71, 81, 89, 91, 112, 127, 
128. 

Personal exertion, 164. 

Personal form, 128. 

Personal God, 51, 75, 139, 
182. 

Personal happiness, 154. 

Personal self, 89. 

Personal soul, 70, 73, 77. 

Personality, 9, 23, 24, 52, 
53. 54, 58, 64, 70, 71, 73, 74, 
76, 77, 82, 87, 89, 90, 91, 92, 
93, 96, 97, 98, 99, 104, 108, 
109, 112, 113, 114, 115, 118, 
121, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 
133, 168. 

Peter, 154. 

Phczdo, 86. 

Phantasy, 86. 

Pharisees, 45. 

Phenomena, 19, 20, 21, 65, 
108, 121, 130, 136. 

Philadelphus, 4. 

Philaletheians, 1, 3. 

Philaletheian system, 6. 

Philanthropy, 194. 

Philo Judaeus, 4, 76. 

Philosophers, Fire-, 26, 72. 

Philosopher's stone, 46. 

Philosophy, 40, 64. 

Philosophy, Eastern, 23, 73, 

79- 
Philosophy, Esoteric, 15,66, 

91- 
Philosophy, Platonic, 4. 
Philosophy, Pythagorean, 

4- 
Philosophy of Spiritualism, 

22. 
Photography, Spiritual, 8. 
Phren, 65, 66, 78. 
Physical body, 37, 48, 62, 63, 

65, 66, 67, 70, 71, 73, 80, 82, 
87, 92, 93, 95, 97, 103, 104, 
in, 118, 125, 129, 147, 175. 



Physical brain, 46, 63, 85, 87, 

97, 103, 129. 
Physical consciousness, 90, 

122. 
Physical frame, 67. 
Physical life, 64, 87, 94, 103, 

116. 
Physical man, 62, 64, 69, 1 18. 
Physical memory, 85, 86, 87, 

89, 179. 
Physical mind, 66. 
Physical nature, 188. 
Physical phenomena, 21, 

130. 
Physical plane, 32, 89, 117, 

118, 136. 
Physical principles, 87. 
Physical processes, 87. 
Physical science, 59, 60. 
Physiologists, 86. 
Pilgrim, Spiritual, 113. 
Pineal bod}', 82. 
Pistis, 148. 
Pity, 54, 168. 
Planes, Seven, 58, 61. - 
Planes of being, 160. 
Planes of consciousness, 32, 

62, 80, 81, 89, 98, 104, 116, 

117, 118, 121, 136, 146, 149, 

153, 159, 160. 
Planes of space, 61. 
Planet, Septenary constitu- 
tion of, 60. 
Planetary chain, 60. 
Planetary spirits, 71, 130. 
Planetary system, 58. 
Planets, 59. 

Planets and principles, 67. 
Plastic soul, 82. 
Plato, 5, 8, 26, 34, 62, 63, 64, 

65, 66, 72, 75, 78, 86, 127. 
Platonic philosophy, 4. 
Pleasure, 66, 147, 153. 
Pledge, 7, 15, 27, 34, 35, 36, 

66. 
Pledged Chelas, 81. 
Pledged members of T. S., 

15- 
Pleroma, 126. 
Pleroma of eternal light, 

76. 
Plotinus, 3, 6, 8, 16, 77, 95. 
Plutarch, 65, 66, 67. 
Point, 81. 
Policy of T. S., 4. 
Political reforms, 156. 
Political, T. S. is not, 156. 
Politics, 155, 186. 
Porphyry, 3. 
Postmortem consciousness, 

89, 106, in. 
Post mortem dreams, in. 
Post mortem Karma, 67. 



Post mortem life, 11, 106, 

107, 109, 113, 115. 
Post mortem punishment, 

93- 
Post mortem spiritual con- 
sciousness, 99. 
Post mortem states, 69. 
Post natal consciousness, 

89, 106. 
Pot Amun, 2. 
Potentialities of mind, 84. 
Powers, Divine, 122. 
Powers, Evil, 188. 
Powers, Intelligent, 149. 
Powers, Occult, 18, 145, 175, 

176, 186, 188, 189. 
Powers of the incarnate 

spirit, 132. 
Powers, Psychic, 131, 187, 

188, 194. 
Powers, Spiritual, 70, 122, 

132, 187. 
Practical, 136, 147. 
Practical charity, 163, 167. 
Practical study, 174. 
Practical Theosophy, 153, 

161, 178. 
Prajfia, 107. 
Pralaya, 57, 71. 
Prana, 80, 82, 87, 119. 
Prayer, 8, 42, 45, 46, 47, 48, 

49, 134- . 

Prayer kills self-reliance, 
48, 49. 

Predestination, 142, 144. 

Predevachanic uncon- 
sciousness, 102. 

Preexistence, 72, 76, 86. 

Prejudice, 182, 183, 194. 

Premature return to earth- 
life, 83. 

Premonitions, 93. 

Presbyterian confession of 
faith, 144. 

Previous Incarnations, 84, 
86, 87, 93, 95, 100, 109, 1 10, 
in, 112, 135, 145. 

Primeval emanation, 75. 

Primordial elements, 78. 

Primordial matter, 72. 

Principles, 43, 45, 62, 63, 64, 
65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 75, 
79, 80, 81, 82, 87, 88, 91, 92, 
97, 102, 105, 115, 116, 117, 
118, 119, 120, 122, 123, 124, 
126, 148. 

Private judgment, 149. 

Prognostication, 86. 

Progress, 105, 116, 133, 146, 
158, 166. 

Prohibitory rules, 168. 

Projection of double, 81. 

Propaganda, 33. 



INDEX. 



257 



Proserpina, 67. 
Prospective vision of future 

life, no. 
Protean Soul, 82. 
Prototype, 141. 
Providence, 142. 
Providential protections, 

102. 
Psuche, 62, 64, 66. 
Psuchikos, 77. 
Psychic faculties, 116, 194. 
Psychic growth, 194. 
Psychic nature, 188. 
Psychic phenomena, 21, 130. 
Psychic powers, 131, 187, 

188, 194. 
Psychic realms, 188. 
Psychic senses, 59, 86. 
Psychical body, 62. 
Psychical wisdom, 62. 
Psychism, 16, 19. 
Psychologists, 23, 84, 85, 89, 

93- 
Psychology, 49, 103. 
Psycho-spiritual sciences, 

59- 
Public opinion, 159. 
Publicans, 30, 37. 
Punishment, 74, 92, 93, 94, 

95, 108, 109, 134, 135, 142, 

145, 166. 
Purity, 162. 

Purpose of Theosophy, 143. 
Pythagoras, 5, 6, 7, 34, 62, 

65, 66, 72, 78. 
Pythagorean philosophy, 4. 
Pythagoreans, 77. 

Quakers, 38. 

Quaternary, 62, 63, 64, 66. 
Quintile, 67. 

Rabbis of Babylon, 4. 
Race, Elevation of the, 158. 
Race, Fifth, 133. 
Races, Seven, 127. 
Radiant mind, 107. 
Radiation, 58, 75. 
Rational entities, 94. 
Rational faculties, 77. 
Rational soul, 65, 69, 76, 78. 
Ravings of fever, 85. 
Ray, 89, 129. 
Reabsorption, 74. 
Reaction, 139. 
Readjustment, 137, 138. 
Real Ego, 79. 
Real man, 68, 96. 
Real spiritualism, 130. 
Real world, 122. 
Reality, 58, 81, 112, 113, 120, 

121. 
Reason, 66, 107, 134, 149, 

151, 161, 181, 182. 



Reasoned faith, 147. Ritualism, 9. 

Reasoning soul, 72, 80. Romans, 25. 

Rebirth, 52, 53, 71, 84, 85, 90, Root of consciousness, 122. 

92, 95, no, 113, 115, 127, Root of principle, 122. 

133. J 35> J 4 2 > 143. 146, 152, Rosicrucians, 25. 

153 (see Reincarnation). Round, 133. 



Recollection, 73, 84, 85, 87, 

90, 92, 109, no, 111, 114. 
Record, 151. 
Reflection, 58. 
Reformation, 13. 



Royal College of Physi- 
cians, 16. 
Riipa, 63, 88. 

Sacred names, 190, 191, 192. 

Reincarnating Ego, 20, 46, Sacred science, 17. 

65, 69, 70, 72, 76, 78, 87, Sacrifice of founders and 

88, 89, 90, 92, 95, 98, 104, leaders of T. S., 172. 

105, no, 112, 116, 120, 122, Sadducees, 55, 74. 

123, 124. Sages, 9. 

Reincarnation, -24, 71, 73, Samadhi, 8, 48, 117. 

75, 76, 77. 82, 84, 85, 87, Samanas, 55. 

SS, 89, 95, 96, 98, 100, 102, Samkara, 88. 

104, 105, 108, 109, 113, Samma-sambuddha, in. 

115, 116, 117, 123, 124, 126, Samothrace, Hierophants 

128, 129, 131, 133, 141, of, 7. 

142, 146, 157, 159, 165, 167 Samyidtaka Nikdya, 55. 

(see Rebirth). Sanna, 88. 

Reincarnation, 141. Sat, 113. 

Reincarnation, a Study of Saviour, 56. 



Forgotten Truth, 89. 
Relative Karma, 138. 
Relief of suffering, 138. 
Religion, I, 32, 40, 194. 
Religions, 3, 4, 11, 32, 40. 
Remembrance, 84, 85, 87, 

90 (see Recollection). 
Reminiscence, 84, 85, 86, 

93, 95 (see Remembrance). 
Remission of sin, 135. 
Renunciation, 102. 
Research, 18. 



Saviours, Seven, 127. 
School, Eastern, 107. 
Schools, 178. 
Science, 17, 59, 60, 88, 179, 

186. 
Science, Divine, 1, 26. 
Science, Occult, 18, 19, t>2>, 

T 75- 
Science, Psycho-spiritual, 

59- 
Science, Sacred, 17. 
Science, True, 16. 
Scientific Theosophy, 19. 



Resignation, 35. 

Responsibility, 125, 153,162. Scientists, 86 

Rest, 102, 133. Scientists, Mental, 49 

Rest of the soul, 106, 109, Seances, 44, 130. 



131. 
Resurrection, 64, 105. 
Retardation of Karma, 137. 
Retribution, 35, 74, 95, 123, 

H5- 
Retributive adjustment, 90. 
Retributive justice, 133. 
Retributive Karma, 136. 
Retrospection, 1 10. 
Return of spirits 

Spirits). 
Reuchlin, J[ohn, 13. 
Reunion with Spirit, 147. 
Revelation of the divine, 

107 



Seat of animal desires, 82. 
Second death, 97. 
Second sight, 132. 
Secrecy, 7, 9. 35. 
Secret Doctrine, 41, 71, 80, 

94, 107, 141, 190, 191. 
Secret science, in, 146. 
Secret wisdom, 53. 
Secrets, Divine, 9. 
(see Secrets of initiation, 56. 
Secrets of nature, 17, 34. 
Sectarianism, 33. 
Section, Esoteric, 14, 15, 16, 

26,34,35, 174,175,176,177. 
Seeming injustice, 96. 



Revelation, Theosophy not Seers, 59, 135, 145, 147. 

a, 25. Self, 8, 20, 21, 34, 35, 36, 46, 

Revenge, 170. 48, 50, 54, 55, 71, 82, 89, 90, 

Reward, 74, 135. 92, 93, 105, 116, 117, 118, 

Reward of Ego, 93. 119, 121, 123, 127, 162, 179. 

Rhys-Davids, Prof., 91. Self-abandonment, 160. 

18 



258 



INDKX. 



Self-abnegation, 161. 
Self-consciousness (see 

Consciousness). 
Self-development, 36, 161. 
Self-hypnotism, 49. 
Self-improvement, 36. 
Self-made destiny, 123. 
Self-reliance, 48, 49, 182. 
Self-sacrifice, 53, 160, 161. 
Selfish indulgence, 157. 
Selfishness, 26, 29, 31, 47, 

48, 50, 139, 155, 156, 158, 

166, 179, 180, 186. 
Selflessness, 193. 
Selves, 36, 96, 117. 
Senses, 59, 61, 117, 148, 182. 
Sentimentalism, 151. 
Separateness, 137, 159. 
Separation into sexes, 133. 
Sephiroth, 43. 
Septenary nature of man, 

62, 127. 
Septenary nature of planet, 

60. 
Sermon on the Mount, 37, 

40, 163, 164. 
Servant playing violin, 90. 
Servant speaking Hebrew, 

90. 
Seven Buddhas, 127. 
Seven fundamental forces, 

61. 
Seven planes of being, 58, 

61. 
Seven principles, 62, 66, 82. 
Seven races, 127. 
Seven saviours, 127. 
Seven states of conscious- 
ness, 61, 62. 
Seven vines, 127. 
Seventh principle, 81. 
Seventh race, 133. 
Seventh round, 133. 
Sexes, 133, 136. 
Shadow, 65, 67. 
Shadow, Brothers of the, 

188. 
Shakespeare, 94, 96. 
Shelley, 96. 
Shells, 129, 130. 
Siddhartha, Prince, 88. 
Sin, 50, 137. 
Sinnett, A. P., 10, 63, S3, 

116, 117, 141. 
Sinnett, Mrs. P., 143. 
Sisterhood, 158. 
Six principles, 80. 
Skandhas, 52, 53, 88, 89, 

9> 9 1 , 95> io 4> I2 > I2 5- 
Slade, 131. 

Slanders, 168, 170, 171, 173. 
Slate-writing, 20. 
Slavery, 30. 



Sleep, 22, in, 114, 116. 

Social efforts, 158. 

Social evils, 136, 157, 183. 

Social prejudices, 194. 

Social questions, 156. 

Society, Classes in, 136. 

Socrates, 6, 34, 66. 

Solar system, 58, 59. 

Solidarity, 157, 158. 

Solomon Ben Yehudah 
Ibn Gebirol, 44. 

Somnambulism, 117. 

Sons of God, 39. 

Sons of universal mind, 124. 

Sorcery, 19, 47, 55, 189. 

Sorrow, 94, 98. 

Soul, 2, 30, 47, 51, 53, 56, 57, 
62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 
70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 
77, 7 8 > 79, 80, 81, 82, 85, 
86, 89, 90, 92, 101, 105, 
106, 107, 108, 109, hi, 
115, 116, 117, 122, 125, 

126, 127, 131, 147. 

Soul and spirit, 64, 77, 104, 

127, 147. 

Soul memory, 95. 

Soul yearnings, 100. 

Space, Layers of, 60, 61. 

Space, Planes of, 61. 

Spark, Divine, 20. 

Sphere, 45. 

Spirit, 20, 23, 30, 32, 46, 50, 
51, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 69, 
70, 72, 73, 77, 7. 79. 80, 
89, 99, 103, 107, 113, 128, 
147, 148, 152. 

Spirit identity, 103. 

Spirit Identity, 103. 

Spirit-matter, 68. 

Spirit soul, 67. 

Spiritists, 64, 129, 130. 

Spirits, 71, 130. 

Spirits, Communication 
with, 19, 21, 24, 98, 99, 
101, 102, 104, 125, 129, 
130, 131, T32. 

Spirits, Effect of drinking, 
176. 

Spirits, Intelligence of, 20. 

Spirits, Planetary, 71, 130. 

Spiritual affection, 102. 

Spiritual breath, 77. 

Spiritual consciousness, 46, 
64, 93, 99, ii7, 121. 

Spiritual death, 128. 

Spiritual development, 156, 
158, 175, 176, I91- 

Spiritual efflorescence, 128. 

Spiritual Ego, 21, 47, 63, 73, 
82, 85, 89, 90, 92, 100, 105, 
106, no, 113, 118, 126, 129. 

Spiritual energy, 128. 



Spiritual entity, 77, 94, 124. 
Spiritual essence, 112. 
Spiritual existence, 153. 
Spiritual eyes, in. 
Spiritual forces, 159. 
Spiritual happiness, 152. 
Spiritual holy love, 10 1. 
Spiritual I, 89, 109, 112. 
Spiritual individuality, 113, 

114. 
Spiritual intuition, 148, 161. 
Spiritual law, 32. 
Spiritual law of continuity, 

107. 
Spiritual life, 112, 113, 116. 
Spiritual man, 62, 69. 
Spiritual mind, 82. 
Spiritual-minded, 81. 
Spiritual mysticism, 131. 
Spiritual nature, 152, 188. 
Spiritual photography, 8. 
Spiritual pilgrim, 1 13. 
Spiritual plane, 117, 121, 

136, 187. 
Spiritual powers, 70, 122, 

136, 187. 
Spiritual principles, 81, 87, 

91. 
Spiritual ray, 89. 
Spiritual realm, 117, 118. 
Spiritual self, 20, 89, 93, 118. 
Spiritual science, 59. 
Spiritual senses, 59, 148. 
Spiritual soul, 63, 66, 67, 69, 

72, 78, 81, 82, 92, 108, 126. 
Spiritual Spiritualism, 19, 

130. 
Spiritual spiritualistic phe- 
nomena, 21. 
Spiritual transmutation, 46. 
Spiritual vision, 123. 
Spiritual visions, 59, 145. 
Spiritual world, 106, 123. 
Spiritualism, 2, 15, 16, 19, 

20, 21, 22, 23, 64, 98, 103, 

104, 129, 130, 131, 132. 
Spiritualists, 21, 22, 64, 82, 

98, 99, 101, 103, 104, 115, 

128, 129, 130, 132. 
Spirituality, 98, 194. 
Spleen, 82. 

Spooks, 98, 129, 130, 131. 
States of consciousness 

(see Consciousness). 
States of matter, 68. 
States of mind (see Mind). 
Sthiila Sharira, 63, 87 (see 

Physical body). 
Sthiilopadhi, 80. 
Study, 169. 
Study, Theoretical and 

practical, 174. 
Subjective, 57, 58, 106. 



INDEX. 



259 



Subjective being, 79, 115. 
Subjectivity, 61, 93. 
Substance, 64, 72, 73, 77, 79, 

80, 147. 
Succession of births, 133. 
Suffering, 66, 75, 96, 99, 109, 

no, 114, 136, 137, 138, 

153, 157- 

Suggestion, 49. 

Suicide, 153. 

Sukshmopadhi, 80. 

Sumangala, Rev. H., 88. 

Summer-land, 101, 115. 

Super-natural, 186, 187. 

Super-physical conscious- 
ness, 116. 

Super-spirit, 23, 73, 92. 

Superstition, 34, 148. 

Sutratma, no, 112, 113, 115. 

Sutratma-Buddhi, 112. 

Svapna, 80. 

Sweating system, 165. 

Swedenborg, 16, 128. 

Symbolism, 45, 46, 126, 127. 

Symbols of wisdom-reli- 
gion, 46. 

Sympathy, 115, 165. 

Taijasa, 92, 107, 108, in. 

Tan ha, 91. 

Tao-te-King, 79. 

Taraka Raja Yoga school, 
80. 

Teaching, 76. 

Temptation, 76. 

Term between rebirths, 90. 

Terrestrial body, 71, 95, 
105 (see Physical body). 

Terrestrial conceptions, 114. 

Terrestrial Ego, 109. 

Terrestrial entity, 125. 

Terrestrial life (see Earth- 
life). 

Terrestrial mind, 107. 

Terrestrial personality, 108, 
113, "4- 

Terrestrial plane, 104. 

Terrestrial soul, 82. 

Terrestrial suffering, 114. 

Terrestrial wisdom, 62. 

Testimony of seers, 59. 

Tetragrammaton, 43. 

That, 90. 

Theists, 74. 

Theodidaktos, 2, 3, 4. 

Theogonia, 1. 

Theology (see Christian 
Theology). 

Theosophia, 1, 40. 

Theosophic development, 

175- 
Theosophical literature, 
167, 186, 190, 191. 



Theosoph ica I Miscella n ies, 

13- 

Theosophical Si/tings, 109. 

Theosophical Society, Ar- 
cane Section of, 27. 

Theosophical Society, Con- 
duct of members of, 36, 
155, 167, 168, 172. 

Theosophical Society has 
no creed, 14, 39, 41. 

Theosophical Society can- 
not be crushed, 183. 

Theosophical Society, De- 
fence of, 167. 

Theosophical Society, Ear- 
lier movements, 13, 194. 

Theosophical Society, Ene- 
mies of, 183. 

Theosophical Society, Eso- 
teric Section of, 14, 15, 

27. 34, 35. 4i. 
Theosophical Society, 

Fellows of, 14. 
Theosophical Society, For- 
mation of, 25, 39. 
Theosophical Society, 

Founders of, 172, 183. 
Theosophical Society, 

Future of, 193, 194, 195. 
Theosophical Society, 

Headquarters of, 33. 
Theosophical Society, 

Helping the, 167. 
Theosophical Society, 

Incentive for joining the, 

15. HI- 

Theosophical Society, 
Libraries of, t,^. 

Theosophical Society, 
Members of, not neces- 
sarily Theosophists, 14. 

Theosophical Society, Mis- 
takes concerning the, 13, 
174. 

Theosophical Society, 
Motto of the, 2. 

Theosophical Society, Ob- 
jects of, 14, 27, 28, 33, 

173. 

Theosophical Society, Ori- 
ginal programme of, 173. 

Theosophical Society, 
Pledged members of, 15. 

Theosophical Society, 
Policy of, 4. 

Theosophical Society not 
political, 156. 

Theosophical Society, Pre- 
judice against the, 182. 

Theosophical Society and 
social questions, 156. 

Theosophical Society the 
storehouse of truths, 39. 



Theosophical Society and 
Theosophy, 36, 37, 38, 39, 
163, 168. 

Theosophical Society, 
What it is not, 12. 

Theosophical Society, 
Work of, 28, 169. 

Theosophical Society, 
Working members of, 34, 
39, 169, 174. 

Theosophical Transactions 
of the Philadelphia)! So- 
ciety, 12. 

Theosoph ist, 36, 41. 

Theosophists, 5, 14, 15, 18, 
31, 34, 36, 46, 47, 50, 72, 

149, 155, 158. 
Theosophy, 2. 
Theosophy, Acceptance of, 

25- 

Theosophy, Age of, 9, 25. 
Theosophy, Aim of, 4, 17, 

146. 
Theosophy and Buddhism, 

9, 11. 
Theosophy and Christian 

Theology, 105. 
Theosophy, Definition of, 

8 > 9- 
Theosophy, Division of 

principles in, 63. 
Theosophy, Doctrines of, 

13, 42, 84, 85, 147, 157, 158, 

167. 
Theosophy, Eclectic, 1, 2, 3. 
Theosophy, Efficacy of, 29 
Theosophy, Ethics of, 10, 

27. 
Theosophy, Everlasting 

truth, 193. 
Theosophy for the masses, 

165. 
Theosophy, Mediaeval, 15. 
Theosophy, Meaning of 

name, 1. 
Theosophy, Misconcep- 
tions concerning, 167. 
Theosophy, Nature and 

man according to, 57. 
Theosophy and occultism, 

18. 
Theosophy, Practical, 153, 

161, 178. 
Theosophy, propaganda, 

33- 

Theosophy the quintes- 
sence of duty, 154. 

Theosophy, Rejection of, 
26. 

Theosophy and religions, 
40. 

Theosophy not a revela- 
tion, 25. 



26o 



INDEX. 



Theosophy, Scientific, 19. 
Theosophy, Secret, 9. 
Theosophy, Seriousness of, 

183. 
Theosophy and spiritual- 
ism, 19, 23. 
Theosophy and T. S., 36, 

37. 38. 39. 163, 168. 
Theosophy unfamiliar and 

abstruse, 26. 
Theosophy, Why unknown 

to the West, 9. 
Theosophy, 12. 
Therapeutae, 4. 
Theurgy, 2, 3, 15. 
Thinking beings, 85. 
Thinking conscious Ego, 

81. 
Thinking Ego, 95. 
Thinking entity, 120, 122, 

124. 
Thinking man, 62, 127, 176. 
Thinking principle, 80, 97, 

117, 120. 
Thinking soul, 51. 
Thought, 44, 86, 95, 96, 124, 

134, 139, 145, 155, 167, 182. 
Thought-transference, 187, 

188. 
Thread soul, no. 
Thread, Golden, no. 
Three accepted forms of 

memory, 84. 
Three aspects of soul, 82. 
Three chief aspects in man, 

80. 
Three kinds of sleep, in, 

114. 
Three lower principles, 97. 
Three principles, 62, 80. 
Three propositions of 

"M.A. Oxon.," 103. 
Threshold of Devachan, 95. 
Thumos, 65, 66, 78. 
Timseus of Eocris, 72. 
Time, 61. 

To Agathon, 66, 67. 
Tolstoi, Count Leo, 164. 
Tradition, 34. 
Training, 146, 157, 173, 175, 

182. 
Trance, 20. 
Transactions of the London 

Lodge, 116. 
Transfiguration, 64. 
Transmigration, 76. 
Transmutation, Spiritual, 

46. 
Tree of knowledge, 40. 
Tree of life, 40. 
Triad, 63, 66, 67. 97, 125, 126. 
Trinity, 46, 73, 77. 
Triple unit}', 114. 



True science, 16. 

Truth, 32, 39, 40, 41, 100, 

103, 155. 193. 195- 
Twentieth century, 195. 
Twenty-first century, 195. 
Two principles in man, 81. 
Two kinds of conscious 

existence, 112. 

Ultimate cause, 136. 

Ultimate law, 135. 

Unbelief, Effect of, 114, 115. 

Unconditioned reality, 112. 

Unconscious muscular ac- 
tion, 131. 

Unconsciousness, 44, 58. 

Understanding, 66, 67. 

Unerring law, 95, 136. 

Union, 78, 123, 142. 

Union of spirit and matter, 
148. 

Unity, 32, 33, 42, 57, 70, 105, 
114, 157, 195. 

Universal All, 82. 

Universal brotherhood, 13, 
28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 157, 158, 
159, 163, 172, 179, 194. 

Universal causation, 157, 

159- 

Universal consciousness, 
148. 

Universal deity, 123, 135. 

Universal divine principle, 
43, n8. 

Universal essence, 48, 78. 

Universal harmony, 139, 142. 

Universal individuality, 147. 

Universal infinite Ego, 75. 

Universal law, 75, 133, 134. 

Universal life, 113, 119. 

Universal manifested sub- 
stance, 147. 

Universal mind, 69, 75, 90, 
92, 124. 

Universal mind-soul, 90. 

Universal night, 57. 

Universal self, 46, 117, 118. 

Universal soul, 2, 51, 72, 75, 

77, 9- 

Universal spirit, 20, 63, 70, 
73, 80, 89, 147. 

Universal unity and causa- 
tion, 157. 

Universal world-soul, 72. 

Universally diffused divine 
principle, 92. 

Universities, 181. 

Universe, 44, 45, 57, 58, 62, 
65, 81, 128, 135. 

Unknowable, 45, 57, 68, 
136, 143, 149. 

Unknown principle, 123. 

Unmerited misery, 24. 



Unmerited suffering, 10 
Unspiritual age, Our, 26. 
Upanishads, no. 
Upper triad (see Triad). 

Vacchagotta, 55. 
Vanitv, 169, 170, 171. 
Vedana, 88. 
Vedanta, 31, 79. 
Vedanta Sara, 107. 
Vedantins, 43, 79, 82, 116, 

149. 
Vegetarianism, 174, 175, 176. 
Veil of Maya, 100. 
Vicarious atonement, 72, 

134, 144, 150. 
Vice, 66, 155. 
Vidya, 10. 

Vine, parable of, 129. 
Vines, Seven, 127. 
Vi "ana, 88. 
Vii. .e, 66, 76, 1=55. 
Visions, 59, 85, 86, in, 115, 

123, 125, 145. 
Vital double, 80. 
Vital principle, 63. 
Vital soul, 51. 
Voice of conscience, 93, 

128, 162, 169. 

Wagner, 10. 
Waking state, 80, 114. 
Walker, E. D., 89, 141. 
Wheel of the Law, 134, 149. 
Whitechapel, 161. 
Wilder, Prof. Alex., 1, 3, 5, 

8, 148. 
Will, 45, 46, 47, 123, 175, 179. 
Will of God, 43. 
Will power, 47, 175. 
Will prayer, 45, 46. 
Wine, Effect of, 176. 
Wisdom, 1, 3, 26, 38, 53, 62, 

69, 74, 75, 134, 175- 
Wisdom, Amuii, the God 

of, 2. 
Wisdom, Eastern, 61. 
Wisdom- Religion, 3, 4, 6, 

41, 46. 
Witchcraft, 131. 
Wordsworth, 85. 
Work of members of T. S., 

28, 169. 
Working hypotheses, 60, 88. 
Working of Karma, 145. 
World-Karma, 136. 
World, Real, 122. 
World-Soul, 72. 
World, Spiritual, 106, 123. 

Yoga, 3. 

Yogis, 8, 17, in. 

Zohar, 16, 73, 76, 127. 
Zoroaster, 34. 



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