White and Black Magic
A Reply to Mirza Moorad Alee Beg, Ex.-F.T.S.
Supplement to Theosophist, February, 1884
Having just had a little leisure I was going over Mirza Moorad Alee’s letter in the Philosophic Inquirer of the 6th Instant. Col. Olcott’s reply covers the whole ground in essentials, and I would have remained contented with it, especially that I may not be the cause, directly or indirectly, of any more exciting the nervous system of one upon whom I once looked with great respect and affection for his intellectual powers and what seemed to be unflinching devotion to Truth—had it not been for the fact that I apprehend the readers of the Philosophic Inquirer will not form correct ideas concerning white and black magic, were not the subject entered into a little deeper than Col. Olcott had the leisure to do.
The first time that Mirza Moorad Alee came to the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Bombay to stop with us a few days, the very first thing he told me was:—”If you ever want to progress on the right path, beware of sensual appetites dragging you down, and above all take care of the Brothers of the Shadow, the Sorcerers, with some of whom I have had personal dealings, to which fact I trace all my present suffering, struggle, and misery.” These are not his exact words, but this is the idea he conveyed to me, and confirmed in all his subsequent conversations. I therefore stand aghast now at reading:—”The Theosophist leaders never ‘discouraged’ but rather encouraged me in such practices (of black magic)”—as Mirza Moorad Alee says in his letter under consideration. I cannot believe he is wilfully misrepresenting facts, but will fain attribute his present forgetfulness to mental aberration, caused by nervous exhaustion brought on by his futile struggle to get over the horrors of black magic and rise up to the spiritual glories of an Adept. When he joined us he had already opened the door and was gone too far to be able to shut it against the workings of the sorcerers with whom he had had “personal dealings.” I only pity his fall and hope he will not have to share the fate of all black magicians. He is misrepresenting the meaning of Nirvana when he uses it as a synonym for annihilation. Yes: it is annihilation, not of the spiritual Ego, but of the lower principles in man, of the animal Soul, the personality which must perish. The powers of black magic are due to the will-power engendered by a concentrated form of selfishness. This is possible only when the Manas—the fifth principle of man, as the occultist calls it—resides very firmly in his lower principles. A careful study of the Fragments of Occult Truth and other literature on Esoteric Theosophy shows that these lower principles are destructible and must therefore be annihilated. Of course, the greater the powers of a black magician, the greater must be his selfishness. The energy of cohesion being thus very powerful, it must take a very long period before annihilation is complete. For aught we know, it (not his physical body which cannot live so long) may extend over thousands—nay a million—of years. The tendency for evil is there; the desire for mischief is strong: but there are no means for the gratification of sensual appetites: and the miserable being suffers the throes of dissolution for a very, very long period until he is totally annihilated. While, on the other hand, the white magician, by his training as described in the Elixir of Life, gradually kills his lower principles, without any suffering, thus extending over a long period their dissolution; and his Manas identifies itself with his higher—the sixth and seventh—principles. Every tyro in Occultism knows that the sixth principle being but the vehicle of the seventh—which is all-pervading, eternal essence—must be permanent. From the foregoing remarks it is evident that it is the black magician whose lot is annihilation; while the adept, the white magician, enjoys the blissful condition of absolute existence where there is no pain or pleasure, no sorrow or joy, since these are all relative terms, and the state is one of supreme bliss; in short the latter enjoys an immortality of life. It is therefore amusing to see how Mirza Moorad Alee Beg has endeavoured to represent black as white and vice versa. But his sophistry will be plain to every student of the Occult Philosophy.