Theosophy and Spiritism
Continuation of the Controversy between Theosophical Occultism and Spiritism.
Bulletin Mensuel de la Société Scientifique d’Études Psychologiques, Paris, July 15, 1883, pp. 129-151.
[Translation of the original French text]
[Prior to H.P.B.’s article was an introductory note by the Editor of the Bulletin; this is ommited here.]
The Reply of the Theosophists
In the April issue of the Bulletin Mensuel of the Scientific Society for Psychological Studies, we find in the “Editorial Note” which follows the annihilation of Theosophy in India—a veritable “massacre of the innocents”—the generous offer to open the pages of the Bulletin to the answer of the Theosophists who do not share the views of Mr. T. —— A generous offer, no doubt, but a very dangerous one—for the Editor. Aside from some Spiritists who have been pleased to associate themselves with an organization of which they evidently know neither the program nor the statutes, not even the simple rules—“the Theosophists who do not share his views” being reckoned by thousands, the Editor of this esteemed journal may perhaps find himself embarrassed in keeping his word. Fortunately for the interested parties, our Hindu Theosophists know no more French than our Parisian Theosophists know English. It is to this blessed ignorance of their reciprocal languages—which has prevented the former from reading the Bulletin and the latter, The Theosophist—that we owe, undoubtedly, the highly fraternal harmony and touching accord that have reigned for five years until now, between the Parent Society, established in India, and its well-beloved daughter in Paris. That this was really conducive to mutual understanding, the following will indeed prove.
I ask permission to say a few words on the subject of the lectures and at the same time to correct the very serious errors I have discovered therein. These errors—easily shown by quoting thousands of passages in confirmation from The Theosophist as well as from other publications of our Society—are quite natural in the cases of Madame and Monsieur Rosen, Mr. Waroquier and others, who perhaps do not speak English, and have not read The Theosophist, but who judge Occultism by relying on some pages translated from one of the Fragments. They become more serious when we find them accepted and vigorously emphasized by Mr. T. ——, “Fellow of the Theosophical Society of Paris.” Dr. Thurman was quite right not to undertake the thankless task of defending and especially of explaining a system “to an audience which had not been prepared for it by preliminary study of the subject.” We thank our brother for his discretion.
As to the lectures delivered at meetings on the 6th and 21st of March, it must be confessed that they were unique. A debate in fact, where nothing was disputed but everything admitted in advance, where no one defended, but everyone attacked, where both sides, friends and enemies, Theosophists and Spiritists, tore to pieces a system of which they did not know the first word, bumping against each other—pardon my language—in utter blindness, and where, finally, the only so-called representative of the system under attack, attacked it himself with more heat and vigor than all the others—is indeed an extremely original debate, and one of an entirely new variety!
It is only necessary to read sentences like the following, which I quote from the speech of Mr. T. ——, to see that this “Fellow of the Theosophical Society of Paris” has not the faintest idea of what the Parent-Society is: “This doctrine of nothingness professed by The Theosophist . . .” “Theosophists preach annihilation . . . the doctrine that the spiritual Ego [!?] can fall back . . . into the world of primal cosmic matter” [!!] . . . “the authors of The Theosophist,” etc., all which proves to us without the shadow of a doubt that our esteemed brother in Theosophy, “astronomer, orientalist, scholar and author of numerous discoveries” though he may be, has not yet discovered either what the Theosophical Society in general is, or that particular occultism, which a small group of its chosen members study.
We will go further; and now declare, proof in hand, that Mr. T. —— who sees no difference between the Theosophical Society, Occultism, and the magazine The Theosophist, who appears to be unaware that 90 out of 100 of the Fellows of the Society take hardly any interest in, and deny the existence of, Occultism as well as Spiritism; that The Theosophist is not a special organ for the occult sciences, any more than it is the journal of exoteric Christianity, Buddhism, or Hinduism; and who confuses—perhaps because he has never heard of it—the doctrine of the Arhats, the sole representatives of the oldest esotericism of the ancient Aryans, with the Theosophy of Paracelsus and Henry Khunrath of the Middle Ages—has acted neither like a Theosophist nor a scientist in regard to us. In short, he condemns what he knows nothing about; and one letter from him which we have just received is a striking proof of it. Reserving until later what we are told therein about “Gôtomô,” the author of the Nyâya, we will take note of only one error now. “Magnetism,” he tells us, “has no place in the series of definitions of Occultism.” That may be so, in the occultism that he believes he has found in the “Hieratic Code of Gôtomô.” [see “A Levy of Arms Against Theosophy.”]
In regard to the Occultism of the initiated Brâhmanas, the Rishis and the Arhats, magnetism and mesmerism are its foundation stones. The Oriental initiates believe in no “miracles,” and the “ceremonial magic” of the Theosophists and hermetic philosophers of the Middle Ages is repudiated by them with as much vehemence as the imaginary Occultism of the Oriental Theosophists is repudiated by Mr. T. ——. Aside from the extraordinary attitude of Mr. T. ——, a Fellow of our Society, may we be allowed to protest against the perverted interpretations which are found in the Refutations of the Spiritists, and to contradict them seriatim. I will commence with the “Explanatory Note,” presented by the translator of the first Fragment of the occult doctrine “On the constitution of man.” This Fragment has been perfectly translated, but less perfectly understood, which is not at all the translator’s fault, but the author’s. Who is this author? Has he ever been heard of in Paris? First of all, I will deal with a remark of Mr. Rosen, who already thinks he sees us following the example “of the current political practice of denying tomorrow what was asserted yesterday.” We deny nothing, since we (occultists) have written nothing, and it is just what I have had the honor of telling both the translator and the honorable President, Monsieur Fauvety, for the last month or so. I regret that Monsieur D.A.C. chose for his first translation a Fragment written in answer to the objections of an Australian Spiritualist (a Fellow of our Society, the editor of The Harbinger of Light) by another Fellow. The latter, although actually, as Mr. Michel Rosen says, “one of the most prominent members of Theosophism,” was however, when he wrote that article, neither an adept nor even a pupil in Occultism. Therefore he did not distort “the truth knowingly”; he simply was not aware of it, since it was the first time he had heard of it. It was indeed a fragment in every sense of the word, that is to say, incomplete and quite likely for that reason to lead into error those who were themselves, at that period (1881), as little proficient in the occult sciences as he was, having but recently joined the Society. However, apart from some mistakes which were not actually errors, but which arose from his incomplete explanations, the teaching of the occultists about spirits will be found correctly outlined therein; and I am not the least surprised to see it spurned by the Spiritists. Some incorrect expressions, however, found therein, were immediately denied and explained by other pupils in further Fragments as well as in The Theosophist, and our brother, Mr. T. Subba Row, the most learned occultist in India at this time, a disciple of the Himâlayan Hierophants, analyzed, corrected, and explained it in a long and admirable article “The Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets on the Sevenfold Principle in Man.” Has Mr. T. —— read that article? Let him hasten to do so then, before he makes the accusation that we believe in nothingness. We shall say more about this later on, and we shall prove that this distinguished civil engineer, who may have knowledge of the architectural monuments of ancient Egypt and of Baalbec at his fingers’ ends, and for whom the aqueducts of archaic Peru have few secrets, knows far less—if he knows anything at all—of the Sanskrit “Jîvâtman” or of the genealogy of the Gautama clan.
Really, what does he know of the “Jîvâtman,” he who speaks of “the pretended translation which follows” the Sanskrit terms, and who does not know that the Jîva or the “life” of the Occultists and the Jîva or Jîvâtman (the only life or living soul) of the Vedântins are two ideas quite distinct one from the other, and who does not know that the Occultists call the second principle—Life—while the Vedântins, who do not recognize the Universal Life as the only Reality, and consider all the other Jîvas (or lives) as illusory, give that name only to the seventh principle—the divine monad in man—whose identity with the Parabrahm they maintain, in opposition to the Dwaita Vedântins who regard the human soul as distinct from the universal soul. One would have to be more than a Max Müller or a Burnouf to be permitted to invalidate in such a magisterial and dogmatic tone the translations of the Sanskrit terms made by the best Sanskritists of Benares (a Pandit Bala Śastri, a Ram Miśra Śastri, and lastly, a Doctor Rajendralala Mitra, the most celebrated Sanskritist in India) as “pretended translations”! Finally, when Mr. T. . . brings us in support of his assertions about his “Hieratic Code of Gôtomô,” the corroboration of a Hindû scholar like Doctor R. L. Mitra, author of Buddha Gayâ, translator of the Lalitavistara, honorary Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and of the Imperial Academy of Sciences at Vienna, corresponding Fellow of all the Oriental Societies in Europe, well-known to nearly all the Academies, friend and correspondent of Max Müller and other Orientalists, and when this Doctor, this celebrated Sanskritist and greatest expert in Indian hierograms, tells us that the author of the work on logic, Gautama of the Nyâya1—HAS EVER WRITTEN ONE WORD—ONE SINGLE WORD—on Occultism, “divine” or human, then we shall recognize the right of Mr. T. —— to settle the question of Occultism in the way he does. Till then, we shall assume the right to analyze and to judge at their proper value all the fine tirades which he offers us about his apocryphal author. We shall now proceed seriatim.
Following are the errors to be found in the conclusions of our brother “D. A. C.”—the translator:
(Page 68, April Bulletin)
1. “The very good ones: these are prepared to pass with their four constituent elements to a reincarnation on a planet in a superior world.”—Here are two capital errors in four lines; four principles or constituent elements can never be found together in the gestation state which precedes the Devachan (the paradise of the Buddhist Occultists). They are separated at the entrance into gestation. The seventh and the sixth, that is to say the immortal spirit and its vehicle, the immortal or spiritual soul, enter therein alone (an exceptional case) or, which nearly always takes place, the soul carries in the case of very good people (and even the indifferent and sometimes the very wicked), the essence, so to speak, of the fifth principle which has been withdrawn from the personal Ego (the material soul). It is the latter only, in the case of the irredeemably wicked and when the spiritual and impersonal soul has nothing to withdraw from its individuality (terrestrial personality). because the latter had nothing to offer but the purely material and sensual—that becomes annihilated. Only the individuality, which possesses the most spiritual feelings, can survive by uniting with the immortal principle. The “Kâma-rûpa,” the vehicle, and the manas, the soul in which the personal and animal intelligence inheres, after having been denuded of their essence, as described, remain alone in Kâma-loka, the intermediate sphere between our earth and the Devachan (the Kâma-loka being the hades of the Greeks, the region of the shades) to be extinguished and to disappear from it after a while. This unfortunate duad forms the cast-off “tatters” of the “spiritual ego” and of the personal Ego, superior principles which, purified of all terrestrial uncleanliness, united henceforth with the divine monad in eternity, pass into regions where the mire of the purely terrestrial ego cannot follow, to glean therein their reward—the effects of the causes generated—and from which they do not emerge until the next incarnation. If we maintain that the shell, the reflexion of the person who was, survives in the land of shades for a certain time proportionate to its constitution and then disappears, we offer nothing but the logical and philosophical. Is that annihilation? Are we annihilationists without knowing it because we keep insisting that the human shadow disappears from the wall when the person to whom it belongs leaves the room? And even in the case of the most depraved, when dissociated from its divine and immortal double principle, and unable to give anything to the spiritual Ego, the material soul is annihilated without leaving anything behind of its personal individuality, is that annihilation for the spiritual Ego? Is it the reincarnationist-Spiritists who protest? Is it these believers who teach that Mr. X becomes after his death Mr. T. ——, and Mrs. A, Mrs. B, etc., who refuse to believe in the losing of all recollection by the spiritual soul of one of its thousands of personalities, annihilated because there was nothing in it spiritual enough to survive? Let us clearly understand each other once and for all. It is not the divine soul, the immortal individuality, that perishes, but only the animal soul with its consciousness of a personality too gross, too terrestrial, for the former to assimilate. Millions of people who have never heard of reincarnation and even those who believe in it, live and die in absolute ignorance of who they were in their former incarnations—and they are not a bit the worse for that. Those whose spirit is open to the great truths, those who understand absolute justice and reject every doctrine based on favoritism or personal grace will fully understand what we mean. For the immortal soul this is nothing but justice. That cast-off existence is for it but a page torn out of the great book of life before the pages are numbered, and the Soul suffers no more from it than a saint in ecstasy would suffer because he had lost all recollection of one wretched day among the 20,000 days that he has passed on earth. On the contrary, had he retained that recollection, it would have been enough to prevent him from ever feeling happy. Only one drop of gall is enough to make the water bitter in the largest vessel. And after all, the doctrine teaches us that these cases of total annihilation of a personality are extremely rare (See Fragment VI, The Theosophist, Vol. IV, March 1883, p. 134).
2. “Reincarnation on a planet of a superior world.”—That sentence contains two errors (p. 68). The Monad is going to incarnate on the planet superior to ours, in our chain of worlds, but only when its incarnations on our globe are completed—and not “on a planet of a superior world”;2 and before it reaches that superior planet, E—ours being D—which it has already visited three times and which it must visit four times more before reaching the end of its great cycle each monad must incarnate in every one of the seven great human races as well as in their ramifications into collateral races. It is therefore an error to say: “According to the Theosophists no one reincarnates on earth except children who die young and congenital idiots,” for the sentence being incomplete, does not tell everything. The difference between the souls mentioned above and those of people in general is that the former incarnate immediately, because neither the infants nor the idiots, being irresponsible for their actions, are able to receive either reward or punishment. Failures of nature they begin a new life immediately; while reincarnations in general take place after rather long periods passed in the intermediate and invisible spheres. So that if a Spiritist-Theosophist tells an Occultist-Theosophist that he is a reincarnation of Louis XV, or that Mrs. X is a reincarnation of Joan of Arc, the Occultist would answer that according to his doctrine it is impossible. It is quite possible that he might be a reincarnation of Sesostris or of Semiramis, but the time period that has passed since the death of Louis XV and even of Joan of Arc is too short according to our calculations, which are mathematically correct. Should we be thoroughly ostracized if we were to say that the souls of idiots and extremely young children (dying before the age of personal consciousness) are the exact parallels to those who are annihilated? Can the personalities of the infants and the idiots leave a greater trace on the monadic memory with which they have not been able to become united, than those of the souls of marked animal tendencies who have also, though not more than the former, failed to become assimilated therein? In both cases the final result is the same. The sixth element or the spiritual Ego which has not had either the time or the possibility to unite with the lower principles in the cases of the idiot and the infant, has had the time but not the possibility to accomplish that union in the case of the totally depraved person. Now it is not that the “spiritual Ego is dissipated and ceases to exist,” as it seems to say, but really does not, in Fragment No. 1. This was immediately elucidated in The Theosophist. It would be absurd to say that something which is immortal in its essence can be dissipated or cease to be. The spiritual Ego is dissociated from the lower elements and, following its divine monad—the seventh element, disappears in the case of the utterly vicious man and ceases to exist for him, for the personal and physical man as well as for the astral man. As for the latter, once being depraved, whether it belong to an idiot or to a Newton, if it has failed to grasp, or has lost the Ariadne’s thread which must lead it through the labyrinth of matter into the regions of eternal light—it must disappear.
Thus this personal astral man (or the fourth and fifth principles) whether it disappears into an immediate reincarnation, or is annihilated, drops from the number of the individual existences which are to the monad equivalent to days passed by an individual—a series of recollections, some fresh and eternal in our memory, others forgotten and dead, never to revive. To say of the Occultists, as Mr. Rosen does, that they are selfishly occupied in their own salvation, that they condemn “the majority of mankind to destruction” like the Christians “who doom them to the flames of hell”—is unjust and untrue, since with the Occultists, forgetfulness of one’s self is the very greatest virtue. It is rather the Spiritists who would doom the divine monad to a terrible torment, to the perpetual recollection of one or more shameful or criminal existences, filled with earthly and gross experiences, without the smallest ray of spirituality to enlighten them. Moreover would it not be a horrible punishment to bedeck it with all the personalities that it had to endure, during its long terrestrial journey, instead of merely preserving the acquisitions which enriched it during those previous existences and which have made of it a complete being, a glorious and spiritual unity!
3. “It is not logical to say that all the entities that manifest themselves are essentially bad.” We have never said it. We do not say that these are devils, but that they are unfortunate vampires, generally unconscious—mere shells, according to Mr. de Waroquier’s correct expression. That is why we do not consent to degrade the sublime word Spirit by applying it to the Elementaries whose spirit is in Devachan, from whence it never descends, although the spirit of the medium can ascend thereto; and while we have nothing to say against subjective communication with the spirits, nevertheless we would consider ourselves practising necromancy were we to encourage the larvae to play the part of the latter in material and physical manifestations (see the same Fragment, p. 133). The “non-incarnation on this earth” falsely attributed to Theosophists, being proved an error, I now pass to other objections.
We have little to say to Madame Sophie Rosen, having met her refutations when explaining the errors in the translator’s deductions—very logical and accurate deductions—but drawn from misunderstood premises. But we would ask Mr. de Waroquier where he got the strange notion that our Fragment No. I is “nothing less than an inoculation offered” to the Spiritists?
Like all the Spiritists, he too, “already endowed with a doctrine based on the affirmation and the control of facts,” is doubtless right in refusing to learn the doctrine of the Occultists, as long as he holds to his own belief. But it is another error to say that this doctrine is forced on anyone. For our adversaries should learn once for all, that it is against our rules and regulations to make the Occult Sciences an object of propaganda.
Furthermore, we have doctrines therein which have not yet been mentioned in the Fragments, and which are as diametrically opposed to the Spiritistic doctrines as they are to those of the Christians and even of the orthodox Hindus. Although our Society, including many French and Russian Spiritists, English and American Spiritualists and Hindus from the banks of the Ganges, refuses to accept their respective beliefs, we, the Occultists of the Oriental School, are forced by our very statutes to RESPECT ALL OF THEM; never to discuss them in the presence of Fellows who may hold them; likewise never to criticize anyone’s religion in our journals, even that of individuals who have nothing to do with our Society—unless we are forced to do so by a direct attack on our beliefs—as in the present case, or by some preposterous act of intolerance. Allowing none the right to attack us with impunity, we never attack anyone, and it would be difficult to find a word against Spiritism in our magazine, however far we may be from accepting its doctrines. As to the accusation that we wish to inoculate others with the doctrines said to be ours, just because one of our Fragments has been translated—is as if we were to accuse our friend Mr. Leymarie of conspiring against Occultism because one of his articles on his beliefs should be found translated in the Revue Spirite by one of our Occultists!
Spiritism is as opposed to our teachings as is Occultism to those of the late Allan Kardec. That is no reason, however, for us to start lecturing against and ridiculing the latter, making fulminating speeches against the Psychological Society, the Western Spiritists and their predecessors, and extolling Oriental Theosophy and Occultism as the only beliefs fit to exist. Let those who do not accept our beliefs leave them alone and hold to their own. Since we never criticize their doctrines, and they have never been offered ours, why should they criticize them? Replying to Madame S. Rosen, we say: “You are deceiving yourself, dear Madame.” Theosophy (Occultism would be more correct) in dividing the human being into entities called: Animal intelligence, higher intelligence, Spirit, etc., does not assert, nor even imply “the disintegration and consequently the destruction of the conscious, individual Ego.” On the contrary, Occultism protects it from every kind of profanation, from the sacrilegious outrage of making it bear the heavy burden of absurdities, lies and impostures, of the goblins and larvae which have been adorned with that divine name, that does not belong to them nor does it suit them in many cases. Do the Spiritists wish us to believe that all their “Spirits” are Angels of Light, that they always show themselves true and honest, that they have never lied or deceived anyone? Really! We Occultists say that in our estimation it is a horrible blasphemy to give these impermanent beings the holy name of “Spirit,” and Soul! Why should we not give to everything its proper name? Where is the chaos and the destruction of the “conscious ego” in that most necessary division? Can one doubt that the intelligence and the soul are two different things; that the first can be destroyed by just a blow on the head with a hammer without the soul feeling it at all? The aggregations which the Spiritists call memory, intelligence, etc., are only the transitory attributes of the fifth principle, which itself is also temporary. To render the conscious ego eternal, in short to assure its immortality, it is absolutely necessary that it be transferred (not in its terrestrial entirety, but in the essence of its spirituality) to the 6th and 7th Principles, to the monad, in fact. We appeal to the philosophy of the whole world to inform us if we can accept, while remaining within the bounds of rigid logic, the absolute immortality of the divine soul, while firmly believing that the five principles which clothe it during its earthly existences, continue with the divine essence attached to it like barnacles to the sides of a ship!
What are these principles or “Entities”?
1st Principle: the physical body which decomposes and disappears.
2nd Principle: Life or rather the vital ray which animates us and which is borrowed from the inexhaustible reservoir of the Universal Life.
3rd Principle: the astral body, the double or doppelgänger, the shadow of, or emanation from, the physical body, which disappears when the latter ceases to exist. Every living being has one, even the beasts; and it is called illusory because it has no material consistence, properly speaking, and cannot last. “Illusory!” exclaims Mr. Rosen. “Then it does not exist at all. How, in that case, can it vanish at death?” Does not a shadow exist as long as it is there—and does it not vanish with the cause that produced it?
4th Principle: the will which directs Principles 1 and 2.
5th Principle: the human or animal intelligence, or the instinct of the brute.
6th Principle: the spiritual or divine soul, and the
7th Principle: the Spirit.
The last is what the Christians call Logos, and we—our personal God. We know no other; because the absolute and the One—that is the All—Parabrahm, is an impersonal principle beyond all human speculation.
To Mr. de Waroquier, who asks from whom we have received our facts, and who says: “As throughout the earth there is only one and the same kind of communicating beings [how does he know?] these can be nothing but the périsprit-remains of the deceased persons, and their shells, etc.,” we would reply: you are deceiving yourself, you who never read The Theosophist and do not know the whole truth about us. We have received our doctrines from those who do not need, in order to explore and learn the mysteries of the Universe, to avail themselves of either the disincarnate spirits or their “shells,” and what an enormous advantage that is! The Spiritists, on the other hand, who, like the blind, have to employ the eyes of others to cognize objects too far away to be touched, are only able to learn what those “spirits” are willing to tell them. The more fortunate among them, having had to trust to somnambulists who are not able to guide at will their temporarily liberated souls, cannot always receive correct impressions because their soul (the fifth principle) is itself guided by the magnetizer, whose preconceived and often fixed ideas dominate the subject and make him speak in the direction in which they tend more or less themselves, while the adepts do not suffer from these unavoidable limitations. For them, the evidence is not second-hand, nor post-mortem, but really the evidence of their own faculties, purified and prepared through long years to receive it correctly and without any foreign influence that would make them deviate from the straight road. For thousands of years, one initiate after another, one great hierophant succeeded by other hierophants, has explored and re-explored the invisible Universe, the worlds of the interplanetary regions, during long periods when his conscious soul, united to the spiritual soul and to the ALL, free and almost omnipotent, left his body. It is not only the initiates belonging to the “Great Brotherhood of the Himâlayas,” who give us these doctrines; it is not only the Buddhist Arhats who teach them, but they are found in the secret writings of Śankaracharya, of Gautama Buddha, of Zoroaster, as well as in those of the Rishis.
The mysteries of life as well as of death, of the visible and invisible worlds, have been fathomed and observed by initiated adepts in all epochs and in all nations. They have studied these during the solemn moments of union of their divine monad with the universal Spirit, and they have recorded their experiences. Thus by comparing and checking the observations of one with those of another, and finding none of the contradictions so frequently noticed in the dicta, or communications of the mediums, but on the contrary, having been able to ascertain that the visions of adepts who lived 10,000 years ago are invariably corroborated and verified by those of modern adepts, to whom the writings of the former never do become known until later—the truth has been established. A definite science, based on personal observation and experience, corroborated by continuous demonstrations, containing irrefutable proofs, for those who study it, has thus been established. I venture to believe that this science is just as good as that which relies on the accounts of one or even of several somnambulists.
We cannot, therefore, refrain from smiling when we see Mr. Rosen pointing out to us the truism “that the physical body is not entirely composed of solid matter,” and that it “contains a large proportion of gases and liquids. The Oriental Gentlemen who would give us instruction, ought to consult the physiologists,” he tells us. I am really afraid that the European physiologists may find it necessary before long to consult the Oriental Gentlemen—of the year 8,000 before the vulgar era. He who wrote the sentence that has been quoted from the Fragment knew as well as any other physiologist that the human body contains as much gas and liquid as it does solid matter, and even more so. But the Occultists recognize but One Element which they divide into seven parts, which include the five exoteric elements and the two esoteric ones of the ancients. As to that Element, they call it, indifferently, matter or spirit, claiming that as matter is infinite and indestructible and Spirit likewise, and as there cannot exist in the infinite Universe two omnipresent Eternal elements, any more than two Indestructibles or Infinites can exist—hence Matter and Spirit must be one. “All is Spirit and all is Matter,” they say Purusha Prakṛiti are inseparable and the one cannot exist without the other. So it is not the Oriental Gentlemen who have forgotten to consult the physiologists, but rather Mr. Rosen who has forgotten to consult the Occultists upon their method of expression; rather, in order not to displease the modern scientific gentlemen, let us say that the liquid, gaseous and solid states are the three qualities or conditions of matter, which amounts to the same thing. If we add to these three the radiant matter of Mr. Crookes we shall have four—three other states of matter being held in the keeping of Occultists until the Gentlemen of the Academy discover them for themselves. Matter, then, is but a state of Spirit, and vice-versa.
Now, for the lecture of Mr. T. ——, “Fellow of the Theosophical Society of Paris.” Of all the lecturers at the famous meetings of the 6th and 21st of March, he it is who gives his brothers of Oriental Theosophy the hardest knocks. Entrenched behind his Hieratic Code of Gôtomô or “divine Institutes,” the divine science which has revealed to him all the secrets of past, present, and future Theosophy, Mr. T. —— speaks of the Theosophy of our Society—which he continually confuses with Occultism—as being “in brief, a doctrine without proof, without authority and without prestige in its origin,” and to render it still more odious in the eyes of the Spiritists, he asserts that:
1st. “The Theosophists proclaim the belief in the immortality of the conscious Ego absolutely false.”
2nd. They say “that the spiritual ego . . . disappears without carrying with it one single particle of the individual consciousness, and proceeds to fall back into the region of primeval cosmic matter.”
3rd. “The Theosophists wrongly appeal to the authority of ancient Hindu Sanskrit documents from which the origin of that doctrine can hardly be traced.”
4th. “The doctrine of the Theosophists [Occultists, if you please] which insists on calling itself divine Science but which is only the teaching of a particular kind of Occultism with curious ideas . . . resting on no serious foundation, a style which affects to be magisterial . . . in short a great profession of assertions, nothing but assertions, always and everywhere assertions . . . a doctrine which has annihilation as an end can have nothing but emptiness for a foundation.”
5th. “The assertions of the Theosophists not being supported by serious argument, by demonstration, or by proof . . . as is the customary procedure in scientific matters . . . so much the worse for a doctrine which sets out to pass off fantasies as realities.”
Pray take note of the sentences we have italicized. They are extremely important, and the first and second affirmations of Mr. T. —— having already been proved false and baseless, are considered by us as . . .
Fragment No. I, which is said to incriminate us, appeared in The Theosophist, in October, 1881. Two months later (The Theosophist, Vol. III, January, 1882) the incomplete and vague expressions were explained by Subba Row, a Brâhmana of the highest class and a distinguished occultist. Several other occultists sent refutations explaining the phrases of the Fragment, as we have done in the preceding pages. In The Theosophist of August of the same year, pp. 288-89, in the article “Isis Unveiled and The Theosophist on Reincarnation” by the Editor of the magazine your humble servant—in the classification of the groups of human principles, it is said:
|7. Atma—“Pure Spirit.”||}||Spiritual Monad or “Individuality”—and its vehicle. Eternal and indestructible.|
|6. Buddhi—“Spiritual Soul or Intelligence.”|
So much for ANNIHILATION!3
Now, the Spiritists generally, who, not being able to read English, are dependent upon Mr. T. ——, who does read it, to give them a just idea of our Theosophical doctrines, are requested to judge of the fidelity with which he has explained them. Thus we have no complaint against any other Spiritists but Mr. T. ——, “Fellow of the Theosophical Society.” Has he or has he not read The Theosophist? That is the principal question. If he has read it, he must know that our teachings were perverted by him, which does not speak in his favor; if he has not read it or if he was not sure of his facts, even after having read it, the conclusion is still less to his advantage. Repeating his own words, we say: these assertions would have to be supported by demonstration, by proof. “Who is being deceived now?” he asks his audience. “No one, sir—at least on the side of Oriental Theosophists,” we reply, “on the Spiritistic side, it is only you who have been deceived, and, consequently, though without intending it, you have deceived others.”
But we are not only accused of preaching annihilation, but we are charged with teaching a pseudo-Theosophy, a collection of incongruous things: Spiritualism, mysticism, science, nihilism, astrology, magic, divination, etc. Our Theosophy with “its unwholesome and unclean concept of Elementaries and Elementals,” is a hybrid doctrine originating with the Chaldeans, which, having persisted throughout the darkness of the Middle Ages, is once again in the land of its birth, making dupes of us.
How does Mr. T. —— know all this? Ah! here we have his GRAND EVIDENCE! Evidence so irrefutable, that it is on the ground of history that the Spiritists are invited to follow him, and to be regaled by the historical origin of his brand of Theosophy, his divine science. Let us listen with confidence and thoughtful consideration to our learned brother Theosophist!
This is what he says. Attention, ladies and gentlemen!
“Toward the end of the Treta Yougo [yuga, if you please] the third [!!] age, according to Hindu chronology [?] there lived in India . . . Gôtomô. As the sacred books of India declare [?], Gôtomô was descended from a line of sages which goes back to Vedic times and reckons among its direct descendants the celebrated Gôtomô Sâkyamuni, the Buddha, who has often been wrongly confused with him. Among the works which this personage of the Treta Yougo left to posterity, the two most remarkable ones are the Nyâyas, which is a treatise on logic, [and] the Hieratic Code . . . divine science which represents the synthesis of human knowledge, a collection of all the truths amassed during a long series of ages by the contemplative sages (Moharshy) . . .”
Enough! These few lines are sufficient to prove to any elementary Sanskrit student that Mr. T. —— knows nothing about the Yugas (written “yougo” by him) nor does he understand the meaning of the Sanskrit terms. I appeal to the whole army of great European Sanskritists and to the best modern Brâhmana pandits in India.
Modestly enough, he abstains from “supplying the exact number of ages which separate us from the Treta yougo,” but he does not hesitate to challenge “the smiles of the officially learned scholars” (and the laughter of the Brâhmanas—astronomers and scholars indeed!) and courageously places “the age called Treta yougo . . . 28,000 years before our vulgar era.” “Thus,” he tells us, “we are WELL INFORMED regarding the origin of genuine Theosophy, the real Theosophy of life, of comfort, of happiness, the scientific Theosophy of Gôtomô, outside of which there is only Pseudo-Theosophy. . . .”
While going entirely against official science, and the calculations according to the zodiac (mathematically precise calculations if ever there were any) of the Brâhmanas, past, present and future; against those of Manu and of Gautama Rishi himself, the latter, according to him, being the author of the Nyâya, Mr. T. —— does not hesitate to declare himself ready to prove “by the method of proceedings employed in parallel cases by science” that everything he tells us now is—history!
Indeed! We declare ourselves also ready to knock over this fine edifice, this house of cards, with one blow, and we maintain that his Hieratic Code is an apocryphal manuscript. Mr. T. —— assures us that the age of Tretâ yuga goes back 28,000 years! We tell him that according to all the calculations of the Vedic period and of the sacred books of the Brâhmanas, not excluding a single one, the age of the Tretâ yuga, that is to say the period elapsed between our vulgar era and the Tretâ yuga (the second age, if you please, “according to the Hindû chronology,” and not the third), is just 867,000 years; which is only a trifle of 839,000 years more than his 28,000 years, a little error, a lapsus linguae or a lapsus calami (we do not know which) of Mr. T.——’s, but repeated rather too frequently however to be simply a mistake. We shall presently sustain this point by some figures.
Truly, Gautama Buddha, the “direct descendant of Gôtomô of the Treta yougo,” by that reckoning must have a genealogical tree reaching from here to the moon. Only the former never was the descendant, direct or indirect, of the Rishi “Gôtomô” nor of Gautama, the well known author of the Nyâya. That has been fully proved to us by the Brâhmanas of that philosophical school, and to all those who know something of the history of the Rishis and of Buddhism, first, because Gautama Rishi was a Brâhmana, contemporary with Râma, while Buddha (Gautama Sakyamuni) was a Kshatriya (warrior caste), and the Gautama of the Nyâya is far more modern than the other; and, second, because Gautama-Rishi was a Sûryavansa, of “the Solar Race,” and Gautama Buddha, a Chandra or Induvansa, of the “Lunar Race.”4
In order to prove what we put forward about the Yugas, we give here the two calculations, the one that is adopted by the Northern Brâhmanas and which is exoteric, and that of the Southern Brâhmanas which has hitherto been an esoteric calculation, and whose key is in the hands of the initiates. There are no others. Both are correct, because the totals are in agreement. The first can be found in Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, p. 32.
The ages are divided in the following manner:
|1st Age––Krita or Satya Yuga, lasting||1,728,000 years|
|2nd Age––Tretâ Yuga, lasting||1,296,000 years|
|3rd Age––Dvâpara Yuga, lasting||864,000 years|
|4th Age––Kali Yuga, which began 3,000 years before the Christian era and will last||432,000 years|
|Total . . . . . . . . . .||4,320,000 years|
(See “Astronomical Essay,” founded on this calculation, in the Asiatic Researches; its accuracy is proved by comparison with the zodiacs.)
The other—esoteric—according to the division of the Southern Brâhmanas
|1st Age––Krita or Satya yuga 4 X 432,000==||1,728,000 yrs.|
|2nd Age––Tretâ Yuga 3 X 432,000==||1,296,000 yrs.|
|3rd Age––Dvâpara Yuga 2 X 432,000==||864,000 yrs.|
|4th Age––Kali Yuga 1 X 432,000==||432,000 yrs.|
|Total . . . . . . . . . .||4,320,000 yrs.|
From these numbers we observe that the number 432,000 serves as the basis of the calculation, since it must be multiplied by 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively, to obtain the duration of the Kali, Dvâpara, Tretâ and Krita or Satya Yugas; hence we see that the period of Dvâpara is double that of Kali yuga, and that the period of Tretâ is three times that of Kali yuga. Now the present Kali Yuga (the age in which we are) having begun on the 18th of February 3,102 years before the Christian era, at midnight, on the meridian of Ujjainî at the death of Krishna, the figures, which are undesirable witnesses against assertions, convince us that Mr. T. —— talks about the Yugas like a blind man about colors. If his “Gôtomô” had lived during the Tretâ yuga, even in the year 1,296,000 of that age, his Hieratic Code would then be just 868,985 years old because that is the figure we obtain by adding to his 864,000 years the 3,102 before our era and the 1,883 of our present era. And yet Mr. T. —— says he is ready to prove his 28,000 years by scientific procedures! Certainly that is a highly respectable age for his Theosophy, “the real . . . the scientific Theosophy.”5
Krita yuga is another name (or term) for Satya yuga. The Brâhmanical books generally show the mythological bull, by which they represent Dharma or the esoteric religion, as standing firmly on its four feet in Satya Yuga, on three feet only in Tretâ Yuga, on two in Dvâpara Yuga and on one foot only in Kali Yuga (therefore tottering and on the point of falling).
SATYA OR KRITA YUGA IS THEN THE PERFECT SQUARE. Can Mr. T. —— tell us the meaning of this? Till then, we shall continue to maintain that his 28,000 years (since his “Gôtomô” lived) are only fiction.
The name of Gautama Rishi, occultist of Vedic times, is mentioned in the Upanishads. As to Gautama of the Nyâyas, who is the one mentioned by Mr. T. ——, he lived much later than Kapila (of the Sâmkhya), who himself was contemporary with and a little later than Gautama Buddha, since the system of our great Master Sâkyamuni is discussed by Kapila whose teachings are ridiculed by the author of the Nyâyas. Ergo, having shown Mr T. ——’s error and also his imperfect knowledge of Sanskrit, he who criticizes us so vigorously (apparently deceived by the phonetic sound of Tretâ which he must have taken for “trois,” and of Dvâpara which has a certain resemblance to “deux”) has imagined that his “Treta Yougo” represents “the third age,” and this, to be sure, according to the Hindu Chronology. With his ignorance established regarding the point in question, how is it possible to believe the rest? Let him hasten to produce his proof “according to the procedures employed by science”! If his “Hieratic Code” is some ancient apocryphal manuscript one or two hundred years old, extant at a time when no one in Europe had any idea even of the chronological calculations of the Brâhmanas, then it would not astonish us at all to learn that this is the marvelous manuscript from which Mr. T. —— has drawn his historical, chronological and theosophical data. Indeed, we are now “well informed regarding the origin of genuine Theosophy”! As to the “Homeric laughter” which he may rightly expect from European Orientalists, it has been even more uncontrollable and genuine among our Brâhmanical Sâtris6 to whom we submitted a translation of the lecture of our “Fellow of the Theosophical Society of Paris.”
Moreover, the history of the Rishis who left philosophical and religious writings—we refer to the “six great Philosophical Schools” of the Brâhmanas—is too well known for anyone to construct a romance from any hiatus in it. Jaimini, the author of Mîmânsâ; Bâdarâyana, of the Vedânta, Gautama of the Nyâya; Kanâda, of the Vaiśeshika, which is the complement of the Nyâya; Kapila, of the Sâmkhya, and Patañjali, of the Yoga, are perhaps among the best known historically. What they have bequeathed to posterity, and what they could never have written, are both well known. Thus to attribute to Gautama, whose writings consist of only one work on logic, a work from which every allusion to occult and theosophical matters is eliminated; to attribute to that strict logician, we say, a “Hieratic Code,” is indeed to rely too confidently on the ignorance of the Spiritists in all that relates to Sanskrit literature. The choice is indeed unfortunate. Had he presented us Patañjali or Śankarâchârya, in short one of the older mystics, as the author of that unknown book, we would have taken the trouble to verify the claim. It is equivalent to being asked to believe that Baron d’Holbach, author of Le Système de la Nature, and the greatest atheist of his time, had bequeathed us a Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie under the pseudonym of Éliphas Lévi. Really, Mr. T. ——, we are in India and we have among our Fellows the most renowned Sanskritists, as well as the greatest scholars of Indian literature in the world.
We will not tarry over trifles such as, for example, the free translation which he offers us of the compound word Maharshi which Mr. T. —— translates as “contemplative sages” and writes Moharshy—which is not even phonetically correct. Mahâ means “great” in the moral sense, and Rishi, literally translated, means “bard,” singer, and also walker or guide, one who leads others; the word Rishi being a derivative from riś those who march ahead), since the latter were always at the head of their clans. The Vedic Gautama was an occultist, that is to say a Brâhmana, as of course all the Rishis were; but while many of the others left great poems, philosophies, and books treating of Brahman and of Yoga Vidyâ (secret science), he has left only one code, not hieratic at all but civil, which is less poetical perhaps but more true. Yâjñavalkya (Dharma-Śâstra, I,3-5) mentioned it as the eighteenth in merit of the twenty codes enumerated by him, of which the first is that of Manu and the last that of Vasishtha. The author of the Parâśara Code said (in Stenzler’s Sanskrit Preface, where he cites Yâjñavalkya): “The laws of the various yugas differ among themselves.” The books of the laws of Manu belong to the Krita Yuga, those of Gautama to the Tretâ, those of Sankhya and Likhita to the Dvâpara and those of Parâśara to the Kali-yuga. The code of Gautama’s Dharma-śâstra is known, and, with some variations, is but a repetition of the other codes of which forty-seven were written, each by a different author, but of which only twenty remain. Finally, those who left writings on the Vidyâ, Secret Science or knowledge of the universal soul, are also known, and the name of Gautama is not found among them. As soon as Mr. T. ——’s claims about his hieratic code reached us in India, we questioned in vain the most learned Brâhmanas, the most celebrated Yoga-Sâstris, those who know by heart all the literature of the initiates from Vedic times to the present day, and had from each and all, verbally or by letter, denials that can all be summed up in these words: “No, Gautama Rishi wrote nothing but his Dharma-Śâstra, a civil and criminal code, and Gautama Rishi is not the Gautama of the Nyâyas. Their systems contradict each other; the first puts the efficacy of everything pertaining to this life and to the next in the Vedas, while the Nyâyas only recognize the omnipotence of Adrishta (the invisible principle), ‘Paramâtman’ or supreme soul, and of ‘Jîvâtman’ (the 7th principle), the eternal atom; and only mentions the Vedas to avoid being called atheistical (nâstika).”
Despairing for Mr. T. ——’s cause, we addressed ourselves to the great “Śankarâchârya.” He is the Pope of India, a hierarchy which spiritually reigns by succession from the first Śankarâchârya of the Vedânta, one of the greatest initiated adepts among the Brâhmanas. Here is the letter received by T. Subba Row, from Mysore. Let us remember that the former is an initiated adept, the only man in India who now possesses the key to all the Brâhmanical mysteries and has spiritual authority from Cape Comorin to the Himâlayas and whose library is the accumulation of long centuries.
Moreover, he is recognized, even by the English, as the greatest authority on the value of archaic manuscripts. Here is what he says: “If the manuscript [the ‘Hieratic Code’ in question] is written in Senzar Brahmabhâshya [secret sacerdotal language], it can only be read or understood by initiated Brâhmanas, who have already received the revelation of Atharvan and Angiras [the last and supreme initiation]. Now, none of these manuscripts, not even a copy, can possibly be in the possession of a Mlechchha [impure foreigner] because to begin with, the list of the books [codes] was carved on the column of the Âśrama [a sacred place, a temple] at the time when the Great and Holy Achârya, ‘Master’ [in this case, Śankarâchârya of the Vedânta himself, who founded the hierarchy, and built and lived in that temple of Mysore] traced the names thereof with his own hand, and they are all still there; and again, because in that list the name of Gautama Rishi is not found. That Rishi never wrote anything on Brahma Vidyâ (Occult science). Gautama— the Aksha-pâda [having eyes in his feet, cognomen of the author of the Nyâya] was neither of the caste nor of the blood of Gautama Rishi, and a whole Yuga [the Dvâpara yuga of 864,000 years] separates them. If the above-mentioned Sûtra which is in France [Mr. T. ——.’s ‘code’] treats of and encourages intercourse with the pitris [the deceased ancestors, spirits] and if it be an authentic copy of one of the existing Sûtras, the original must be merely one of the Sûtras of the Sâma-Veda7 treating of Pitris [Manu, IV, 124] whose sound alone is impure [aśuchi] because of its association and communication with the Piśâchas [the ‘Elementaries’ that Mr. T. —— attributes to the Middle Ages]; for, as Kullûka [a great Commentator and historian] proves, the Sâma-Veda is only impure because of those ślokas [verses] which treat of intercourse with the dead, and contain ritual for the repetition of aśaucha and of Savam aśaucham [necromancy and rites concerning the bodies of the dead, whether physical or astral, which are considered most polluting].”
The following therefore is what is fully established. The two Gautamas are entirely different personages, and hieratic manuscripts which treat of evocations of the dead are and have been from time immemorial (see the Laws of Manu, IV, 23, etc.) considered of a degrading, polluting and sacrilegious nature. We have only to read this sentence in Mr. T. ——’s Lecture: “the reality of our communications with the spirits of the ancestors, taught by the ‘divine Science’ of Gôtomô . . .” to know what to think of his Hieratic Code. If the evidence provided by the Brâhmanas as well as by the European Sanskritists, and the authority on hieratic codes in general, and Occultism and Theosophy in particular, of a scholar and an initiate such as His Holiness Sri Śankaracharya, are of no value and are rejected by Mr. T. ——, let him substitute his own authority in place of that of Śankarâchârya and of Manu, and let the Spiritists accept it. It will be all the same to us; but in order to discredit Oriental Theosophy he should not invent apocryphal Codes, for, with the exception of himself and some credulous Spiritists, the rest of the world will laugh at them and will not accept them any more than we do.
Henceforth the respective doctrines of our two Theosophies will have to be judged by their intrinsic value, and by judges of recognized impartiality.
Neither sectarians, nor partisans ought to have a voice in this subject; because, carried away by enthusiasm for their respective causes and preconceived notions, neither the one nor the other, are in a condition to judge rationally of things contrary to their beliefs. Mr. T. —— promises proofs by means of the methods employed by science; as for us—we give them! And if we are obliged to support what we now assert or deny, by means of quotations from the books composing the sacred literature of the Brâhmanas and the Buddhists as well as the written evidence by witnesses who are recognized in India as authorities on the subject—we are quite ready to do so. Can Mr. T. —— “possessor of authentic documents,” do as much? If so, let him make haste! In the name of all our Oriental Occultists, as in the name of truth, we propose that he settle this dispute in the pages of the Bulletin. Does our antagonist maintain that the only true Theosophy, the divine science, is that which he believes he has discovered in a hieratic (unknown) code? We maintain that there is only one Theosophy—that of the Rishis, of the Magi and of the Buddhist Hierophants, and that we receive it from its very source.
Let him bring his proof, we will bring ours.
H. P. Blavatsky.
Corresponding Secretary of The Theosophical Society founded in New York; in the name of the Branch Society or group of Indian Occultists of that Society.
Madras, Adyar (Headquarters) May 23, 1883.
1. The Nyâya-Sûtras, which consist of five books, is an analytical work—the term Nyâya being opposed to that of Sâmkhya or “synthesis”—which gives its readers a correct method for discussing philosophical questions. Generally speaking, it is a combination of enthymemes and syllogisms—a system very inferior in its method to that of Aristotle. The style of the work is heavy and somewhat obscure and it treats of metaphysics in only one of its books, and with doubtful success, at that. The ten treatises of the Vaiśeshika-Sûtras of Kanâda on the physical constitution of our earth, and the Kusumâñjali, on the existence of a superior God or of God, are included also.
2. According to our doctrine, the Universe is filled with septenary chains of worlds, each chain being composed of seven globes, ours being the 4th of its chain and being found exactly in the middle. It is after passing through all the races as well as all the sub-races and having reached the planetary Pralaya (dissolution) that we shall go to a planet of a superior world. There is ample time for that.
3. See The Theosophist, Vol. III, March, 1882, page 151, first column, a note by a chela, disciple, of the Initiates, “D.M.”, who says: “There can be no annihilation for the ‘Spiritual Ego—as an INDIVIDUALITY’—though often as a PERSONALITY.” (i.e. for the fifth Principle)
4. The Vanśâvali or genealogies of the Races—Sûrya and Chandra two distinct races into which the ancient Hindus were divided—the Brâhmanas and the Kshatriyas are generally traced to them—the first from Ikshvâku to Râma, and the second from the first Buddha to Krishna (see the Vanśâvali of the Râjput princes, the house of Oodeypore).Krishna belonged to the Lunar Race.
5. See the Laws of Manu (1, 64, 73) and the latest book of Monier-Williams, Indian Wisdom, pp. 188 and 229; Sir W. Jones, Colebrooke, etc.
6. A Śâstri is one who gives a life-long study to the Śâstras, the sacred books of the Brâhmanas, an enormous literature.
7. The Sâma-Veda is far inferior to the Rig and to the Yajur-Veda. The Rig treats of the Gods, the Yajur of religious rites, and the Sâma-Veda [of] Pitris (Spirits) and is consequently greatly discredited.