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Eastern School of Theosophy (12)

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(Echoes of the Orient p. 383-392)

Eastern School of Theosophy

Suggestions and Aids


Answers to Correspondence 383

emotions and general characteristics of the Ego during an incarnation? Is it composed of the coarse elements of the Auric Egg? Is it subject to change like the physical body, or is it permanent during an incarnation?

Ans. — (a) The Astral Body is the seat of the emotions, etc., in the sense that it is through it that Kāma acts. For Kāma has to have a vehicle, which is the Astral Body — while the material body is the vehicle for the Astral. Without Kāma it is not entirely the representative of the Ego. Both Kāma and the Astral Body are needed, the Kāma-Rūpa being formed after death by the coarse part of Kāma and the Astral Body. With this in mind it is legitimate to say that it is the seat of the general characteristics, etc., “during an incarnation.” (b) The Astral Body is made out of the Auric envelope, together with the necessary astral matter around the family. It grows after conception up to a certain date, but much quicker than the material body. It does not get all of its material from the Auric envelope, but, as said above, elsewhere. (c) In the ordinary sense, the Astral Body is not subject to the constant change that the material body undergoes from day to day, but it has changes. These are slight in ordinary cases but are greater in the case of those human beings who are trained. Esotericists should read with care the article on this in Path for July 1888 entitled “Culture of Concentration.”1 It is important.

The Astral Body begins to disintegrate when the time for death arrives. In some cases the disintegration begins perhaps two years before death; generally not so long. When the disintegration of the Astral Body is complete, then natural death supervenes from the natural causes that bring it on in the body, and this may be sudden, slow, or very slow . Ques. 11 (M.L.G.) Is there such a being as a Nirmāṇakāya known among the “Brothers of the Shadow”?

Ans. — There are Nirmāṇakāyas of the left-hand path equally as of the right-hand, just as everything in Nature has its dark and its bright sides. See Instructions, No. 2.

384 Echoes of the Orient

Correspondence No. 2

July 8, 1892


A member of the School having recently visited a group not his own without previously having obtained written permission from the office, attention is once again called to the following. No member will be allowed to attend any group other than the one to which he is officially connected without having first obtained a written permit to do so. The reason for this rule is because the introduction of a new element and personality into any group necessarily disturbs the existing currents and creates new conditions, and unless attendance at a group can be continued by the visiting member for at least three months, said currents are disturbed without any useful purpose. Promiscuous and casual visiting is therefore strictly prohibited, and unless it can be ascertained that the visiting member will attend regularly for at least the period named, no permit will be issued. But if a group desires to meet a member from some other group on some special occasion, it can do so by holding a meeting at some hour or day other than that fixed for the regular meeting. Then the group currents are not disturbed, for no new elements are introduced into the ordinary meeting, which is held regularly at the same time and place as before. For these reasons the unflinching regularity of members in attendance at their own groups cannot be too strongly insisted upon. Unless absolutely prevented by sickness, absence from home, or other urgent reason from so attending, no member should fail in his duty to be present. An absent member momentarily weakens his group. A weakened group weakens the School.

The attention of the presidents and secretaries of groups particularly is called to the above. Ques. 12 (C.F.) Am I to understand that in answer to Question 10 ( pp. 382-3) in last issue of “Answers to Correspondence” it is meant to say that the astral body as a whole disintegrates before death of the physical? If so, it would contradict the earlier teaching. Ans. — Inadvertently the word “disintegrate” was used in answer to Question 10 instead of “disentangle.” It should have read, “the astral Answers to Correspondence 385 body begins to disentangle itself,” etc. But strictly I was referring to that part of the astral which might be called vital, for that does disintegrate before death, and as it has the same appearance as the whole astral body it would be so regarded by a seer. In the reply I also said, correctly, that the Astral Body with Kāma forms after death the Kāma- Rūpic Spook, showing that in speaking of disintegration just before in the sentence, reference was not made to the Astral Body as a whole, but only to some part of it. The Māyāvi-Rūpa is a part of the Astral Body also, with very peculiar power. As we use in English very loose terms, some confusion is inevitable. “Astral Body” is made to cover too much, but at present this can hardly be helped. Ques. 13 (S.A.H.) Is any Kāma-Rūpa formed in a case where union is made with the Higher Self?

Ans. — Yes, there is, except where Nirvana is taken. The Higher Adept has and uses a Kāma-Rūpa, which is often called Māyāvi-Rūpa when acting in a certain way. But the Kāma-Rūpa in this case is a different sort of one from those of ordinary men. It is high and refined and harmless. It represents the purest essence of the material nature, and is absolutely needed to work in and with nature. Students have, so far, only considered that phase of Kāma-Rūpa which is connected with this plane of gross experience. Kāma is a general principle, and therefore also having gradations of high and low, fine and coarse, and so on. Understood thus, difficulties should disappear; but further discussion is still in order.

Ques. 14 (Lucifer) Can our Higher Egos become Devas, or be absorbed into Devas? If so, what becomes of our Higher Ego’s past experience? Ans. — As Deva is the name given to any power in Nature, from the highest of the Dhyāni-Chohans to the lowest Elemental, the question is not very clear. It seems also to contain the implication that the Higher Ego is something quite distinct from one’s self, whereas it is nothing of the sort, but is the permanent aspect of the ever-changeable lower Ego-sum. One can become a Deva, but the consequence will entail a return to incarnation in the next Manvantara. The past experiences are retained.

Ques. 15 (Lucifer) What is a Deva?

Ans. — See answer to No. 14. A Deva is a so-called god, that being the exact meaning of the word. They are of all classes, conscious and 386 Echoes of the Orient unconscious, and operate in all natural phenomena. Better consult a good glossary for words like this.

Ques. 16 (M.L.G.) Why is Prāṇa made a principle? Jīva being diffused through all and having been present in all things from the first, the lowest equally as the highest, it is in the animal as well as man, and out of it seem to be generated all the other principles.

Ans. — The Prāṇa which is made a “principle” in the human classification is only an aspect of Jīva — not Jīva proper. It is merely that aspect which has direct dealing with physical man, and to some extent might be looked upon as that which draws the line between organic and inorganic matter, in the former of which it is always manifested as a principle. But there are many kinds of Prāṇa so-called. It is a most necessary agent in the constitution of man, and, as such, we cannot avoid considering it as a principle, although from a more complete point of view it is identical with Kāma. The present classification, however, must suffice.

Ques. 17 (J.G.W.) How can there be such a being as a Nirmāṇakāya of the evil path? I can understand how one who is merely an Adept can be a power in evil spirituality, or be spiritual for evil, but I do not understand how a Nirmāṇakāya can be. H.P.B.’s Glossary and other Theosophical works present the case so forcibly as to leave me in some doubt.

Ans. — “Nirmāṇakāya” is a name made up of two words which signify really “having no body,” and has no reference whatever to moral qualities. Hence there may be a Nirmāṇakāya of good or of evil. Naturally men think most of the good in such high and peculiar beings. Now, therefore, the Nirmāṇakāya of good must have a separate name to designate goodness as a Nirmāṇakāya, and that name is “Nirmāṇakāya of the Path of Compassion.” This explanation is of course in the E.S.T., and is not a public one, for in the public, outside explanations, the Nirmāṇakāya known of is solely good, as, for instance in Buddhism, where it refers solely to Buddha’s state. This knowledge also need not shatter our lofty ideal of the Nirmāṇakāyas of the light; it is only enlarged, and we are able to discriminate more clearly herein. The word man may be good or bad, and yet we retain our lofty idea of man’s possibility of perfection.

There are beings able to live “without” a physical body, hence beings of spiritual power, who are yet evil and descending, for “spirituality” per se is a knowledge of the essential breath, motion, or essence of nature, but if used against the upward tendency of nature’s laws it must

Answers to Correspondence 387

fail in the end. The authority for the above about Nirmāṇakāyas, for this School, is to be found in Instructions II, page [560].

Ques. 18 (H.H.) Will humanity at the close of the seventh or last round die; or will they be transferred to another planet, the next planet of our chain, E, and again commence seven rounds after this on F and G, and will after all this the earth disintegrate gradually?

Ans. — This question is exceedingly mixed. A “round” is a cycle of the life-wave — including every substantial entity on earth as well as man — round the whole seven planets of our chain. Consequently, once having left this earth — Globe D — at the close of our period on it, we shall not return to it to go through another round on it until we have first passed through the six other planets. The questioner is probably confused on account of the passage on page 160, Vol. I, Secret Doctrine — “one is a ‘planetary round’ from Globe A to Globe G, the seventh; the other the ‘globe round’ or the terrestrial” — but this only means that the author is considering the earth Globe D only, during the period when the life-wave is passing through it, and not taking any account of the other six globes. For in another part she says: “The other globes are not referred to in this work, save incidentally.” In the interval between two “terrestrial rounds” Humanity has passed completely round the six other globes (including Globe E, of course). At the end of the seventh round the earth-chain (the whole seven globes) will transfer its principles to a laya center, or “neutral point,” and thus form a new chain of worlds into which all on earth will go. Just as the moon did to our present world. The earth will then become the satellite of the new planet.

Ques. 19 (H.H.) Is there a real progress for Humanity?

Ans. — The questioner’s difficulty seems here to be in the observation of Humanity as less perfect than in the “days of old.” This is true. It is less perfect. But this is only a demonstration of the law of cycles. Because eventually, when it comes to the perfection possible in this Manvantara, it will be far more ahead of all past times. You are comparing a race as yet only in its teens to one in its prime. The man who reincarnates as a babe can hardly be said to be as noble or useful while he remains that babe, as he was when full-grown in his preceding life. But besides this there are periods of obscuration — really larger cycles — when powers are taken from man so that he may have deeper experiences and knowledge of Life. This is one of such periods for this planet, and is called Kali-Yuga or Black Age. The flower of the elder races has gone on; it is the decadence of them we now see.

388 Echoes of the Orient

Ques. 20 (H.H.) At the close of the seventh round the man who is not then perfected is thrown back and has to commence work over again in a succeeding Manvantara. This is his bad Karma. But (a) is he not the gainer, because in the next Manvantara he by his previous experience must be able to go ahead of his times and become a pioneer? (b) Will all sometime be perfect?

Ans. — (a) Relatively he (or the monad) has advantage. This is over the newer Egos of the next period, but he is behind those who passed on. From another point of view he loses. In relation to the new Manvantara he is a pioneer. But in regard to the old one he is long behind time. The advantage he gains is the compensation for the suffering he has had to endure in returning to the most simple elements and in disintegrating because he could not go on, said to be the most awful punishment endurable. But this is not for humanity in this globe or round. (b) Yes, all will sometime be perfect, if we can speak of time at all, in any sense, of things relating to infinites. But before perfection is reached — and this will not be in one or a million minor Manvantaras — each will have to fall again and again, as greater and as less. This, however, refers to the monad or true Ego. There is also such a thing as the complete loss of the personality. (See Instructions, No. III [622-41].)

Ques. 21 (T.D.) Why does the Monad have to travel the cycle of pilgrimage; to descend into matter, and return laden with the experience of its journey?

Ans. — This is almost equivalent to asking “Why is there such a thing as Life?” There cannot be, philosophically speaking, any other method of encountering existence save through experience. And the only difference between the Esoteric Philosophy and other systems of thought is that it is more consistent, since it makes this experience take place under the laws of cycles and of justice which are fundamental laws of Life. Monadic experience must be without end or beginning, since Life itself is, in the nature of things, also without end or beginning. And the conception of a cycle or circle best conveys this unendingness. The Monad descends into “matter” for the same reason that it afterwards ascends to “spirit” — to complete the cycle of experience, for without such constant emanation and experience spirit could not know itself. Ques. 22 (M.H.P.) — Rule [18], page [496], Book of Rules, states that no member of the School shall belong to any other body or association for mystic study. Does this prohibit one’s studying works like the Kabbalah, or forming classes for such study?

Answers to Correspondence 389

Ans. — The rule referred to does not prohibit the study of the Kabbalah or aught else, or joining classes for study of literature. What it prohibits is joining bodies for the purpose of mystic study or practical occultism, which is a very different thing from intellectual study of ancient scriptures or books. The rule is made because one order of training would conflict with the other, and as this School has especially in view the training of the Manas and the acquirement of knowledge of the Antaḥkaraṇa, it follows that outside study of mysticism might easily lead one astray.

Ques. 23 (J.C.S.) Concerning the evolution of the seven races, am I right in understanding that the life impulse did not leave the moon until its seventh race was fully perfected, when it produced a laya center in space (which became our present earth) in season for the evolution of the Monads in our first round and first race?

Ans. — You are right, and although the Moon may now have volcanic ebullition, that is merely because it is in its third last stage of dissolution.

There is analogy in this in the state of a man’s body after death, inasmuch as it takes a considerable time to burst, decompose, and so forth.

Furthermore, do not forget that in the planets from A to G, in any system of worlds, the whole scheme of evolution on each is in accordance with the nature of each globe; therefore, for instance, on Globe A the entire evolutionary scheme would be of the nature of a prototype or ideal type of the whole evolution, and so on down the line of planets to ours.

Ques. 24 (H.J.W.) How is it possible to get rid of the feeling of dislike of other people that we sometimes experience?

Ans. — There is no way of ridding ourselves of such feelings save by attacking them steadfastly. But we aid ourselves if we remember that all our dislikes arise from something we did against those people in other lives, and by remembering that we are each in fact a part of all. Hence if we dislike them we are really disliking ourselves. If we arouse the feelings of love and charity in our hearts, we will gradually destroy the other.

Ques. 25 (H.H.) What has the Astral Form or Liṅga-Śarīra to do with clothes? Clothes have no astral form, yet if the astral of anyone appears to another, it will be clothed as the person to whom it belongs?

390 Echoes of the Orient

Ans. — You are incorrect in assuming that clothes have no astral form. Everything in Nature has its double or astral on other planes, the fact being that nothing visible in matter or space could be produced without such for basis. The clothes are seen as well as the person because they exist on the astral as well as he. Besides this, the reason why people are seen in the astral plane with clothes of various cut and color is because of the thought and desire of the person which clothes him thus. Hence a person may be seen in the astral light wearing there a suit of clothes utterly unlike what he has on his body at the time, because his thought and desire were upon another suit, more comfortable, more appropriate, or what not, and which therefore clothes his astral form. This fact I testify to from actual experience and observation.

Ques. 26 (H.H.) What can true and earnest Theosophists do against the Black Age or Kali-Yuga?

Ans. — Nothing against it, but a great deal in it, for it is to be remembered that the very fact of its being the iron or foundation age gives opportunities to be obtained in no other. It is only a quarter as long as the longest of the other ages, and is therefore crammed four times as full of life and activity. Hence the rapidity with which all things come to pass in it. A very slight cause produces gigantic effects. To aspire ever so little now will bring about greater and more lasting effects for good than at any other time. And, similarly, evil intent has greater powers for evil. These great forces are visibly increased at the close of certain cycles in the Kali-Yuga. The present cycle, which closes November 17th, 1897–February 18th, 1898, is one of the most important of any that have been. Opportunities for producing permanent effects for good in themselves and in the world as a whole are given to Theosophists at the present time, which they may never have again if not taken advantage of.

Answers to Correspondence 391

Eastern School of Theosophy

London, August 1st, 1892

Dear Brother, Sister , A criticism has reached us from an earnest member of the School, with reference to the circular letter of March 10th, 1892, sent by Annie Besant to all members of the School, not resident in America, and it was suggested that that circular was a violation of the liberty of members in their Exoteric work. This idea seems to be confined to a very small number of members, but as it shows a radical misunderstanding of one of the objects of the School, and as it would cripple the School’s usefulness were it to spread, it may serve as offering an opportunity for a clear understanding as to the relation of the E.S.T. to the Theosophical Society.

This relation will best be understood if we glance at the history of the T.S. Founded by the direction of the Masters and drawing its true life from Them, it stands, as a Society, in a position different from that of any worldly organization. As H.P.B. has said, every member of the Society is united by a delicate thread of magnetic rapport to Masters, and it lies with each member to draw himself nearer by that thread, or to let it hang loose and useless, to be frayed away and ultimately broken. Any of you who have read letters sent to early members of the T.S. will see how real that link was meant to be, and how seriously membership in the T.S. was regarded. Lack of loyalty, lack of courage, lack of recognition of Masters, lack of devotion, marred the early ideal, until the T.S., as a body, well-nigh wrenched itself out of the Masters’ hands. H.P.B. sacrificed herself for the Society, and so saved it from complete failure; and, at last, it was decided to openly call out a body that had always existed within the T.S., that they might, as an organized body, work to recall the Society “to its original lines,” and thus redeem it. Turn to your Book of Rules, and read the four paragraphs on pp. [489-91], commencing, “The Theosophical Society had just entered,” down to “without this help benefitting ourselves.” Having read this, you will see that Annie Besant, as one of the two to whom Masters committed the charge of the E.S.T., was discharging an obvious duty when she called on members of the School to show strength, quietness, and absence of prejudice, and to try and infuse similar qualities into the branches of the Society at such an important time as the first

392 Echoes of the Orient

Presidential election. The direction to act as pacificators and to make harmony their object is in exact accord with the words of our Teacher on p. [490].

There remains the statement, not made as one of the Outer Heads, that Annie Besant hoped that the choice of the Society would fall upon William Q. Judge as President, and it was suggested by the friendly critic that this would be taken as a direction to Esotericists to vote for him, although they were told, in so many words, that as no direction had come each must use his own best judgment. But had a far stronger form of advice been used, would the liberty of members have been unfairly infringed? Once more a glance at the past may help us. The first form of pledge in the School bound the disciple “to obey, without cavil or delay, the orders of the Head of the E.S. in all that concerns my relation with the Theosophical movement.”

On becoming an Esotericist he voluntarily abdicated his liberty as regarded the Exoteric Society, and bound himself to carry out in the Exoteric Society the orders he received from the Head of the E.S.

It is true that this simple frank pledge was altered by H.P.B. in consequence of the criticism of some, who feared lest obedience against conscience should be claimed by her; but, as she herself said, the remodeled clause was a farce. She changed it, not because the new form was good, but because Western students were, many of them, not ready to pass under Occult training. They do not understand the privilege of obedience, when rendered to such as are the Masters. Now had Masters sent word that members of the E.S.T. were to vote for any special person and to use all their influence to bring about his election, we should have transmitted those orders to every member of the School, and every loyal member would have obeyed them. Did the absence of such orders debar us from giving advice on a matter important to the T.S., leaving members free to follow it or not? We gave no advice; one of us only expressed a hope. Whereas we should not have gone beyond our duty had we expressed definite advice to members, leaving them free to accept or reject it. By such common action the School should discharge its function to the great Body of which it is the Heart, for this is the “united aim” of which H.P.B. spoke, by which it is to be saved from future dangers. Were this not so, the School would be of little service to the T.S., but the Esotericist is an Esotericist always and in everything, working in brotherly union with his fellow-members, and so swinging the Society along the best lines. It is not meant that the Esotericists, as members of an Exoteric Branch, should assume authority, claim right of direction, or urge on Exoteric members an obedience to Teachers whom such members

  1. [See Echoes I:70-80.] []
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