Do the Rishis Exist?
Theosophist, May, 1883
Letter by “Another Hindu Theosophist” | Reply by H.P.B.
With reference to a “Hindu Theosophist’s” query and your reply thereto on page 146 of the March Theosophist whether Hindu rishis of old do exist in flesh and blood, what say you to the communication of the Madras Yogi, Sabhapati Swami in the Theosophist of March, 1880, Vol. I, p. 146?
Thus writes Sabhapati Swami: “The founder of our Ashrum, viz.: His Holiness the Agastya Mooni, who died, according to the common chronology, many thousand years ago, is still living, with many other rishis of his time.” The italics are not mine.
ANOTHER HINDU THEOSOPHIST.
We say (a) that our correspondent’s quotation being on page 146 he might easily have glanced on page 147 and found (col. 1) the following remark:
“It is presumably almost needless, in view of the paragraph on the opening page, to remind the reader that the Editors of the Journal are not responsible for any views or statements contained in communicated articles, etc.”—(Editor Theosophist.)
(b) that Sabhapati Swami is welcome to imagine and may believe that the moon is made of green cheese and prove himself very sincere in his belief. But what has that to do with the Editor’s belief upon the subject? and (c) that all the Hindus, past, present and future, to the contrary, could not make us believe that a man of our present 5th race, and of the 4th cycle Round, can or ever could live more than 300 to 400 years in one body. We believe in the latter, i.e., we know it to be possible, though highly improbable in the present stage of evolution, and so rare a case as to be nigh unknown. If science in the face of Dr. Van Oven gives 17 examples of age exceeding 150, and Dr. Bailey in his “Records of Longevity” a few as high as 170—then it does not require a great stretch of “credulity” in admitting the possibility of reaching through adept powers the double of that age. Therefore, if we claim to know that such a thing is possible, Sabhapati Swami has perhaps an equal right to claim that he also knows that some exceptional men (Rishis) live “several thousand years.” It is a matter of personal opinion—and it remains with the public jury to decide who of us is nearer the truth.