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C.W. Leadbeater, a luminary in the fields of metaphysics and Theosophy, tells you everything you need to know about The Hidden Side Of Things...how the unseen energies of others, of nature, of the buildings we inhabit, of the rituals we perform, and of our own habits and thoughts have on us, on every level. This is an essential book for any student of metaphysics, energy healing and psychic development.
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Table of Contents
FIRST SECTION. INTRODUCTORY
CHAPTER 1. OCCULTISM
CHAPTER 2. THE WORLD AS A WHOLE
SECOND SECTION. HOW WE ARE INFLUENCED
CHAPTER 3. BY PLANETS
CHAPTER 4. BY THE SUN
CHAPTER 5. BY NATURAL SURROUNDINGS
CHAPTER 6. BY NATURE-SPIRITS
CHAPTER 7. BY CENTRES OF MAGNETISM
CHAPTER 8. BY CEREMONIES
CHAPTER 9. BY SOUNDS
CHAPTER 10. BY PUBLIC OPINION
CHAPTER 11. BY OCCASIONAL EVENTS
CHAPTER 12. BY UNSEEN BEINGS
CHAPTER 13. OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THESE INFLUENCES
THIRD SECTION. HOW WE INFLUENCE OURSELVES
CHAPTER 14. BY OUR HABITS
CHAPTER 15. BY PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
CHAPTER 16. BY MENTAL CONDITIONS
CHAPTER 17. BY OUR AMUSEMENTS
FOURTH SECTION. HOW WE INFLUENCE OTHERS
CHAPTER 18. BY WHAT WE ARE
CHAPTER 19. BY WHAT WE THINK
CHAPTER 20. BY WHAT WE DO
CHAPTER 21. BY COLLECTIVE THOUGHT
CHAPTER 22. BY OUR RELATION TO CHILDREN
CHAPTER 23. BY OUR RELATION TO LOWER KINGDOMS
CHAPTER 24. THE RESULTS OF THE KNOWLEDGE
CHAPTER 25. THE WAY TO SEERSHIP
Edition 2018 by David De Angelis - all rights reserved
THE term ` occultism' is one which has been much misunderstood. In the mind of the ignorant it was, even recently, synonymous with magic, and its students were supposed to be practitioners of the black art, veiled in flowing robes of scarlet covered with cabalistic signs, sitting amidst uncanny surroundings with a black cat as a familiar, compounding unholy decoctions by the aid of satanic evocations.
Even now, and among those whom education has raised above such superstition as this, there still remains a good deal of misapprehension. For them its derivation from the Latin word occultus ought to explain at once that it is the science of the hidden; but they often regard it contemptuously as nonsensical and unpractical, as connected with dreams and fortune-telling, with hysteria and necromancy, with the search for the elixir of life and the philosopher' s stone. Students, who should know better, perpetually speak as though the hidden side of things were intentionally concealed, as though knowledge with regard to it ought to be in the hands of all men, but was being deliberately withheld by the caprice or selfishness of a few; whereas the fact is that nothing is or can be hidden from us except by our own limitations, and that for every man as he evolves the world grows wider and wider, because he is able to see more and more of its grandeur and its loveliness.
As an objection against this statement may be cited the well-known fact that, at each of the great Initiations which mark the advance of the neophyte along the path of the higher progress, a definite new block of knowledge is given to him. That is quite true, but the knowledge can be given only because the recipient has evolved to the point at which he can grasp it. It is no more being withheld from ordinary humanity than the knowledge of conic sections is being withheld from the child who is still struggling with the multiplication-table. When that child reaches the level at which he can comprehend quadratic equations, the teacher is ready to explain to him the rules which govern them. In exactly the same way, when a man has qualified himself for the reception of the information given at a certain Initiation, he is forthwith initiated. But the only way to attain the capacity to imbibe that higher knowledge is to begin by trying to understand our present conditions, and to order our lives intelligently in view of the facts which we find.
Occultism, then, is the study of the hidden side of nature; or rather, it is the study of the whole of nature, instead of only that small part of it which comes under the investigation of modern science. At the present stage of our development, by far the greater part of nature is entirely unknown to the majority of mankind, because they have as yet unfolded only a minute proportion of the faculties which they possess. The ordinary man, therefore, is basing his philosophy (so far as he has any) upon entirely inadequate grounds; his actions are moulded more or less in accordance with the few laws of nature which he knows, and consequently both his theory of life and his daily practice are necessarily inaccurate. The occultist adopts a far more comprehensive view; he takes into account those forces of the higher worlds whose action is hidden from the materialist, and so he moulds his life in obedience to the entire code of Nature' s laws, instead of only by occasional reference to a minute fragment of it.
It is difficult for the man who knows nothing of the occult to realise how great, how serious and how all-pervading are his own limitations. The only way in which we can adequately symbolise them is to suppose some form of consciousness still more limited than our own, and to think in what directions it would differ from ours. Suppose it were possible that a consciousness could exist capable of appreciating only solid matter-- the liquid and gaseous forms of matter being to it as entirely non-existent as are the etheric and astral and mental forms to the ordinary man. We can readily see how for such a consciousness any adequate conception of the world in which we live would be impossible. Solid matter, which alone could be perceived by it, would constantly be found to be undergoing serious modifications, about which no rational theory could be formed.
For example, whenever a shower of rain took place, the solid matter of the earth would undergo change; it would in many cases become both softer and heavier when charged with moisture, but the reason of such a change would necessarily be wholly incomprehensible to the consciousness which we are supposing. The wind might lift clouds of sand and transfer them from one place to another; but such motion of solid matter would be entirely inexplicable to one who had no conception of the existence of the air. Without considering more examples of what is already so obvious, we see clearly how hopelessly inadequate would be such an idea of the world as would be attainable by this consciousness limited to solid matter. What we do not realise so readily, however, is that our present consciousness falls just as far short of that of the developed man as this supposed consciousness would fall short of that which we now possess.
Theosophical students are at least theoretically acquainted with the idea that to everything there is a hidden side; and they also know that in the great majority of cases this unseen side is of far greater importance than that which is visible to the physical eye.
To put the same idea from another point of view, the senses, by means of which we obtain all our information about external objects, are as yet imperfectly developed; therefore the information obtained is partial. What we see in the world about us is by no means all that there is to see, and a man who will take the trouble to cultivate his senses will find that, in proportion as he succeeds, life will become fuller and richer for him. For the lover of nature, of art, of music, a vast field of incredibly intensified and exalted pleasure lies close at hand, if he will fit himself to enter upon it. Above all, for the lover of his fellow-man there is the possibility of far more intimate comprehension and therefore far wider usefulness.
We are only halfway up the ladder of evolution at present, and so our senses are only half-evolved. But it is possible for us to hurry up that ladder-- possible, by hard work, to make our senses now what all men' s senses will be in the distant future. The man who has succeeded in doing this is often called a seer or a clairvoyant.
A fine word that-- clairvoyant. It means ` one who sees clearly' ; but it has been horribly misused and degraded, so that people associate it with all sorts of trickery and imposture-- with gypsies who for sixpence will tell a maid-servant what is the colour of the hair of the duke who is coming to marry her, or with establishments in Bond Street where for a guinea fee the veil of the future is supposed to be lifted for more aristocratic clients.
All this is irregular and unscientific; in many cases it is mere charlatanry and bare-faced robbery. But not always; to foresee the future up to a certain point is a possibility; it can be done, and it has been done, scores of times; and some of these irregular practitioners unquestionably do at times possess flashes of higher vision, though usually they cannot depend upon having them when they want them.
But behind all this vagueness there is a bed-rock of fact-- something which can be approached rationally and studied scientifically. It is as the result of many years of such study and experiment that I state emphatically what I have written above-- that it is possible for men to develop their senses until they can see much more of this wonderful and beautiful world in which we live than is ever suspected by the untrained average man, who lives contentedly in the midst of Cimmerean darkness and calls it light.
Two thousand and five hundred years ago the greatest of Indian teachers, Gautama the BUDDHA, said to His disciples: ` Do not complain and cry and pray, but open your eyes and see. The truth is all about you, if you will only take the bandage from your eyes and look; and it is so wonderful, so beautiful, so far beyond anything that men have ever dreamt of or prayed for, and it is for ever and for ever.'
He assuredly meant far more than this of which I am writing now, but this is a step on the way towards that glorious goal of perfect realisation. If it does not yet tell us quite all the truth, at any rate it gives us a good deal of it. It removes for us a host of common misconceptions, and clears up for us many points which are considered as mysteries or problems by those who are as yet uninstructed in this lore. It shows that all these things were mysteries and problems to us only because heretofore we saw so small a part of the facts, because we were looking at the various matters from below, and as isolated and unconnected fragments, instead of rising above them to a standpoint whence they are comprehensible as parts of a mighty whole. It settles in a moment many questions which have been much disputed-- such, for example, as that of the continued existence of man after death. It explains many of the strange things which the Churches tell us; it dispels our ignorance and removes our fear of the unknown by supplying us with a rational and orderly scheme.
Besides all this, it opens up a new world to us in regard to our every-day life-- a new world which is yet a part of the old. It shows us that, as I began by saying, there is a hidden side to everything, and that our most ordinary actions often produce results of which without this study we should never have known. By it we understand the rationale of what is commonly called telepathy, for we see that just as there are waves of heat or light or electricity, so there are waves produced by thought, though they are in a finer type of matter than the others, and therefore not perceptible to our physical senses. By studying these vibrations we see how thought acts, and we learn that it is a tremendous power for good or for ill-- a power which we are all of us unconsciously wielding to some extent-- which we can use a hundredfold more effectively when we comprehend its workings. Further investigation reveals to us the method of formation of what are called ` thought-forms,' and indicates how these can be usefully employed both for ourselves and for others in a dozen different ways.
The occultist studies carefully all these unseen effects, and consequently knows much more fully than other men the result of what he is doing. He has more information about life than others have, and he exercises his common-sense by modifying his life in accordance with what he knows. In many ways we live differently now from our forefathers in mediaeval times, because we know more than they did. We have discovered certain laws of hygiene; wise men live according to that knowledge, and therefore the average length of life is decidedly greater now than it was in the Middle Ages. There are still some who are foolish or ignorant, who either do not know the laws of health or are careless about keeping them; they think that because disease-germs are invisible to them, they are therefore of no importance; they don't believe in new ideas. Those are the people who suffer first when an epidemic disease arrives, or some unusual strain is put upon the community. They suffer unnecessarily, because they are behind the times. But they injure not only themselves by their neglect; the conditions caused by their ignorance or carelessness often bring infection into a district which might otherwise be free from it.
The matter of which I am writing is precisely the same thing at a different level. The microscope revealed disease-germs; the intelligent man profited by the discovery, and rearranged his life, while the unintelligent man paid no attention, but went on as before. Clairvoyance reveals thought-force and many other previously unsuspected powers; once more the intelligent man profits by this discovery, and rearranges his life accordingly. Once more also the unintelligent man takes no heed of the new discoveries; once more he thinks that what he cannot see can have no importance for him; once more he continues to suffer quite unnecessarily, because he is behind the times.
Not only does he often suffer positive pain, but he also misses so much of the pleasure of life. To painting, to music, to poetry, to literature, to religious ceremonies, to the beauties of nature there is always a hidden side-- a fulness, a completeness beyond the mere physical; and the man who can see or sense this has at his command a wealth of enjoyment far beyond the comprehension of the man who passes through it all with unopened perceptions.
The perceptions exist in every human being, though as yet undeveloped in most. To unfold them means generally a good deal of time and hard work, but it is exceedingly well worth while. Only let no man undertake the effort unless his motives are absolutely pure and unselfish, for he who seeks wider faculty for any but the most exalted purposes will bring upon himself a curse and not a blessing.
But the man of affairs, who has no time to spare for a sustained effort to evolve nascent powers within himself, is not thereby debarred from sharing in some at least of the benefits derived from occult study, any more than the man who possesses no microscope is thereby prevented from living hygienically. The latter has not seen the disease-germs, but from the testimony of the specialist he knows that they exist, and he knows how to guard himself from them. Just in the same way a man who has as yet no dawning of clairvoyant vision may study the writings of those who have gained it, and in this way profit by the results of their labour. True, he cannot yet see all the glory and the beauty which are hidden from us by the imperfection of our senses; but he can readily learn how to avoid the unseen evil, and how to set in motion the unseen forces of good. So, long before he actually sees them, he can conclusively prove to himself their existence, just as the man who drives an electric motor proves to himself the existence of electricity, though he has never seen it and does not in the least know what it is.
We must try to understand as much as we can of the world in which we live. We must not fall behind in the march of evolution, we must not let ourselves be anachronisms, for lack of interest in these new discoveries, which yet are only the presentation from a new point of view of the most archaic wisdom. “Knowledge is power” in this case as in every other; in this case, as in every other, to secure the best results, the glorious trinity of power, wisdom and love must ever go hand in hand.
There is a difference, however, between theoretical acquaintance and actual realisation; and I have thought that it might help students somewhat towards the grasp of the realities to have a description of the unseen side of some of the simple transactions of every day life as they appear to clairvoyant vision-- to one, let us say, who has developed within himself the power of perception through the astral, mental and causal bodies. Their appearance as seen by means of the intuitional vehicle is infinitely grander and more effective still, but so entirely inexpressible that it seems useless to say anything about it; for on that level all experience is within the man instead of without, and the glory and the beauty of it is no longer something which he watches with interest, but something which he feels in his inmost heart, because it is part of himself.
The object of this book is to give some hints as to the inner side of the world as a whole and of our daily life. We shall consider this latter in three divisions, which will resemble the conjugations of our youthful days in being passive, middle and active respectively-- how we are influenced, how we influence ourselves, and how we influence others; and we shall conclude by observing a few of the results which must inevitably flow from a wider diffusion of this knowledge as to the realities of existence.
A WIDER OUTLOOK
WHEN we look upon the world around us, we cannot hide fromourselves the existence of a vast amount of sorrow and suffering.True, much of it is obviously the fault of the sufferers, and mighteasily be avoided by the exercise of a little self-control andcommon-sense; but there is also much which is not immediatelyself-induced, but undoubtedly comes from without. It often seems asthough evil triumphs, as though justice fails in the midst of thestorm and stress of the roaring confusion of life, and because ofthis many despair of the ultimate result, and doubt whether thereis in truth any plan of definite progress behind all thisbewildering chaos.
It is all a question of the point of view; the man who ishimself in the thick of the fight cannot judge of the plan of thegeneral or the progress of the conflict. To understand the battleas a whole, one must withdraw from the tumult and look down uponthe field from above. In exactly the same way, to comprehend theplan of the battle of life we must withdraw ourselves from it forthe time, and in thought look down upon it from above-- from thepoint of view not of the body which perishes but of the soul whichlives for ever. We must take into account not only the small partof life which our physical eyes can see, but the vast totality ofwhich at present so much is invisible to us.
Until that has been done we are in the position of a man lookingfrom beneath at the under side of some huge piece of elaboratetapestry which is in process of being woven. The whole thing is tous but a confused medley of varied colour, of ragged hanging ends,without order or beauty, and we are unable to conceive what allthis mad clatter of machinery can be doing; but when through ourknowledge of the hidden side of nature we are able to look downfrom above, the pattern begins to unfold itself before our eyes,and the apparent chaos shows itself as orderly progress.
A more forcible analogy may be obtained by contemplating inimagination the view of life which would present itself to sometiny microbe whirled down by a resistless flood, such as that whichrushes through the gorge of Niagara. Boiling, foaming, swirling,the force of that stream is so tremendous that its centre is manyfeet higher than its sides. The microbe on the surface of such atorrent must be dashed hither and thither wildly amidst the foam,sometimes thrown high in air, sometimes whirled backwards in aneddy, unable to see the banks between which he is passing, havingevery sense occupied in the mad struggle to keep himself somehowabove water. To him that strife and stress is all the world ofwhich he knows; how can he tell whither the stream is going?
But the man who stands on the bank, looking down on it all, cansee that all this bewildering tumult is merely superficial, andthat the one fact of real importance is the steady onward sweep ofthose millions of tons of water downwards towards the sea. If wecan furthermore suppose the microbe to have some idea of progress,and to identify it with forward motion, he might well be dismayedwhen he found himself hurled aside or borne backwards by an eddy;while the spectator could see that the apparent backward movementwas but a delusion, since even the little eddies were all beingswept onwards with the rest. It is no exaggeration to say that asis the knowledge of the microbe struggling in the stream to that ofthe man looking down upon it, so is the comprehension of lifepossessed by the man in the world to that of one who knows itshidden side.
Best of all, though not so easy to follow because of the effortof imagination involved, is the parable offered to us by Mr. Hintonin his Scientific Romances. For purposes connected withhis argument Mr. Hinton supposes the construction of a largevertical wooden frame, from top to bottom of which are tightlystretched a multitude of threads at all sorts of angles. If then asheet of paper be inserted horizontally in the frame so that thesethreads pass through it, it is obvious that each thread will make aminute hole in the paper. If then the frame as a whole be movedslowly upwards, but the paper kept still, various effects will beproduced. When a thread is perpendicular it will slip through itshole without difficulty, but when a thread is fixed at an angle itwill cut a slit in the paper as the frame moves.
Suppose instead of a sheet of paper we have a thin sheet of wax,and let the wax be sufficiently viscous to close up behind themoving thread. Then instead of a number of slits we shall have anumber of moving holes, and to a sight which cannot seethe threads that cause them, the movement of these holes willnecessarily appear irregular and inexplicable. Some will approachone another, some will recede; various patterns and combinationswill be formed and dissolve; all depending upon the arrangement ofthe invisible threads. Now, by a still more daring flight of fancy,think not of the holes but of the minute sections of thread for themoment filling them, and imagine those sections as conscious atoms.They think of themselves as separate entities, they find themselvesmoving without their own volition in what seems a maze ofinextricable confusion, and this bewildering dance is life as theyknow it. Yet all this apparent complexity and aimless motion is infact a delusion caused by the limitation of the consciousness ofthose atoms, for only one extremely simple movement isreally taking place-- the steady upward motion of the frame as awhole. But the atom can never comprehend that until it realisesthat it is not a separated fragment, but part of athread.
Which things are an allegory,' and a very beautiful one; for thethreads are ourselves-- our true selves, our souls-- and the atomsrepresent us in this earthly life. So long as we confine ourconsciousness to the atom, and look on life only from this earthlystandpoint, we can never understand what is happening in the world.But if we will raise our consciousness to the point of view of thesoul, the thread of which the bodily life is only a minute part anda temporary expression, we shall then see that there is a splendidsimplicity at the back of all the complexity, a unity behind allthe diversity. The complexity and the diversity are illusionsproduced by our limitations; the simplicity and the unity arereal.
The world in which we live has a hidden side to it, for theconception of it in the mind of the ordinary man in the street isutterly imperfect along three quite distinct lines. First, it hasan extension at its own level which he is at present quiteincapable of appreciating; secondly, it has a higher side which istoo refined for his undeveloped perceptions; thirdly, it has ameaning and a purpose of which he usually has not the faintestglimpse. To say that we do not see the whole of our world is tostate the case far too feebly; what we see is an absolutelyinsignificant part of it, beautiful though that part may be. Andjust as the additional extension is infinite compared to our ideaof space, and cannot be expressed in its terms, so are the scopeand the splendour of the whole infinitely greater than anyconception that can possibly be formed of it here, and they cannotbe expressed in any terms of that part of the world which weknow.
THE FOURTH DIMENSION
The extension spoken of under the first head has often beencalled the fourth dimension. Many writers have scoffed at this anddenied its existence, yet for all that it remains a fact that ourphysical world is in truth a world of many dimensions, and thatevery object in it has an extension, however minute, in a directionwhich is unthinkable to us at our present stage of mentalevolution. When we develop astral senses we are brought so muchmore directly into contact with this extension that our minds aremore or less forced into recognition of it, and the moreintelligent gradually grow to understand it; though there are thoseof less intellectual growth who, even after death and in the astralworld, cling desperately to their accustomed limitations and adoptmost extraordinary and irrational hypotheses to avoid admitting theexistence of the higher life which they so greatly fear.
Because the easiest way for most people to arrive at arealisation of the fourth dimension of space is to develop withinthemselves the power of astral sight, many persons have come tosuppose that the fourth dimension is an exclusive appanage of theastral world. A little thought will show that this cannot be so.Fundamentally there is only one kind of matter existing in theuniverse, although we call it physical, astral or mental accordingto the extent of its subdivision and the rapidity of its vibration.Consequently the dimensions of space-- if they exist at all-- existindependently of the matter which lies within them; and whetherthat space has three dimensions or four or more, all the matterwithin it exists subject to those conditions, whether we are ableto appreciate them or not.
It may perhaps help us a little in trying to understand thismatter if we realise that what we call space is a limitation ofconsciousness, and that there is a higher level at which asufficiently developed consciousness is entirely free from this. Wemay invest this higher consciousness with the power of expressionin any number of directions, and may then assume that each descentinto a denser world of matter imposes upon it an additionallimitation, and shuts off the perception of one of thesedirections. We may suppose that by the time the consciousness hasdescended as far as the mental world only five of these directionsremain to it; that when it descends or moves outward once more tothe astral level it loses yet one more of its powers, and so islimited to the conception of four dimensions; then the furtherdescent or outward movement which brings it into the physical worldcuts off from it the possibility of grasping even that fourthdimension, and so we find ourselves confined to the three withwhich we are familiar.
Looking at it from this point of view, it is clear that theconditions of the universe have remained unaffected, though ourpower of appreciating them has changed; so that, although it istrue that when our consciousness is functioning through astralmatter we are able to appreciate a fourth dimension which normallyis hidden from us while we work through the physical brain, we mustnot therefore make the mistake of thinking that the fourthdimension belongs to the astral world only and that physical matterexists somehow in a different kind of space from the astral ormental. Such a suggestion is shown to be unjustified by the factthat it is possible for a man using his physical brain to attain bymeans of practice the power of comprehending some of thefourdimensional forms.
I do not wish here to take up fully the consideration of thisfascinating subject; those who would follow it further should applythemselves to the works of Mr. C. H. Hinton-- ScientificRomances and The Fourth Dimension -- the former bookfor all the interesting possibilities connected with this study,and the latter for the means whereby the mind can realise thefourth dimension as a fact. For our present purposes it isnecessary only to indicate that here is an aspect or extension ofour world which, though utterly unknown to the vast majority ofmen, requires to be studied and to be taken into consideration bythose who wish to understand the whole of life instead of only atiny fragment of it.
THE HIGHER WORLD
There is a hidden side to our physical world in a second andhigher sense which is well known to all students of Theosophy, formany lectures have been delivered and many books have been writtenin the endeavour to describe the astral and mental worlds-- theunseen realm which interpenetrates that with which we are allfamiliar, and forms by far the most important part of it. A gooddeal of information about this higher aspect of our world has beengiven in the fifth and the sixth of the Theosophical manuals, andin my own book upon The Other Side of Death; so here Ineed do no more than make a short general statement for the benefitof any reader who has not yet met with those works.
Modern physicists tell us that matter is interpenetrated byaether-- a hypothetical substance which they endow with manyapparently contradictory qualities. The occultist knows that thereare many varieties of this finer interpenetrative matter, and thatsome of the qualities attributed to it by the scientific men belongnot to it at all, but to the primordial substance of which it isthe negation. I do not wish here to turn aside from the object ofthis book to give a lengthy disquisition upon the qualities ofaether; those who wish to study this subject may be referred to thebook upon Occult Chemistry , p. 93 . Here it mustsuffice to say that the true aether of space exists, just asscientific men have supposed, and possesses most of the curiouscontradictory qualities ascribed to it. It is not, however, of thataether itself, but of matter built up out of the bubbles in it,that the inner worlds of finer matter are built, of which we havespoken just now. That with which we are concerned at the moment isthe fact that all the matter visible to us is interpenetrated notonly by aether, but also by various kinds of finer matter, and thatof this finer matter there are many degrees.
To the type which is nearest to the physical world occultstudents have given the name astral matter; the kind next abovethat has been called mental, because out of its texture is builtthat mechanism of consciousness which is commonly called the mindin man; and there are other types finer still, with which for themoment we are not concerned. Every portion of space with which wehave to do must be thought of as containing all these differentkinds of matter. It is practically a scientific postulate that evenin the densest forms of matter no two particles ever touch oneanother, but each floats alone in its field of aether, like a sunin space. Just in the same way each particle of the physical aetherfloats in a sea of astral matter, and each astral particle in turnfloats in a mental ocean; so that all these additional worlds needno more space than does this fragment which we know, for in truththey are all parts of one and the same world.
Man has within himself matter of these finer grades, and bylearning to focus his consciousness in it, instead of only in hisphysical brain, he may become cognisant of these inner and higherparts of the world, and acquire much knowledge of the deepestinterest and value. The nature of this unseen world, its scenery,its inhabitants, its possibilities, are described in the worksabove mentioned. It is the existence of these higher realms ofnature that makes occultism possible; and few indeed are thedepartments of life in which their influence has not to beconsidered. From the cradle to the grave we are in close relationwith them during what we call our waking life; during sleep andafter we are even more intimately connected with them, for ourexistence is then almost confined to them.
Perhaps the greatest of the many fundamental changes which areinevitable for the man who studies the facts of life is that whichis produced in his attitude towards death. This matter has beenfully treated elsewhere; here I need state only that the knowledgeof the truth about death robs it of all its terror and much of itssorrow, and enables us to see it in its true proportion and tounderstand its place in the scheme of our evolution. It isperfectly possible to learn to know about all these thingsinstead of accepting beliefs blindly at secondhand, as most peopledo; and knowledge means power, security and happiness.
THE PURPOSE OF LIFE
The third aspect of our world which is hidden from the majorityis the plan and purpose of existence. Most men seem to muddlethrough life without any discernible object, except possibly thepurely physical struggle to make money or attain power, becausethey vaguely think that these things will bring them happiness.They have no definite theory as to why they are here, nor anycertainty as to the future that awaits them. They have not evenrealised that they are souls and not bodies, and that as such theirdevelopment is part of a mighty scheme of cosmic evolution.
When once this grandest of truths has dawned upon a man' shorizon there comes over him that change which occidental religioncalls conversion-- a fine word which has been sadly degraded byimproper associations, for it has often been used to signifynothing more than a crisis of emotion hypnotically induced by thesurging waves of excited feeling radiated by a half-maddened crowd.Its true meaning is exactly what its derivation implies, ` aturning together with' . Before it, the man, unaware of thestupendous current of evolution, has, under the delusion ofselfishness, been fighting against it; but the moment that themagnificence of the Divine Plan bursts upon his astonished sightthere is no other possibility for him but to throw all his energiesinto the effort to promote its fulfilment, to ` turn and gotogether with' that splendid stream of the love and the wisdom ofGod.
His one object then is to qualify himself to help the world, andall his thoughts and actions are directed towards that aim. He mayforget for the moment under the stress of temptation, but theoblivion can be only temporary; and this is the meaning of theecclesiastical dogma that the elect can never finally fail. Discrimination has come to him, the opening of the doorsof the mind, to adopt the terms employed for this change in olderfaiths; he knows now what is real and what is unreal, what is worthgaining and what is valueless. He lives as an immortal soul who isa Spark of the Divine Fire, instead of as one of the beasts thatperish-- to use a biblical phrase which, however, is entirelyincorrect, inasmuch as the beasts do not perish, except inthe sense of their being reabsorbed into their group-soul.
Most truly for this man an aspect of life has been displayedwhich erst was hidden from his eyes. It would even be truer to saythat now for the first time he has really begun to live, whilebefore he merely dragged out an inefficient existence.
THE first fact which it is necessary for us to realise is thateverything is radiating influence on its surroundings, and thesesurroundings are all the while returning the compliment by pouringinfluence upon it in return. Literally everything-- sun, moon,stars, angels, men, animals, trees, rocks-- everything ispouring out a ceaseless stream of vibrations, each of its owncharacteristic type; not in the physical world only, but in otherand subtler worlds as well. Our physical senses can appreciate onlya limited number of such radiations. We readily feel the heatpoured forth by the sun or by a fire, but we are usually notconscious of the fact that we ourselves are constantly radiatingheat; yet if we hold out a hand towards a radiometer the delicateinstrument will respond to the heat imparted by that hand even at adistance of several feet, and will begin to revolve. We say that arose has a scent and that a daisy has none; yet the daisy isthrowing off particles just as much as the rose, only in the onecase they happen to be perceptible to our senses, and in the otherthey are not.
From early ages men have believed that the sun, the moon, theplanets and the stars exercised a certain influence over humanlife. In the present day most people are content to laugh at such abelief, without knowing anything about it; yet anyone who will takethe trouble to make a careful and impartial study of astrology willdiscover much that cannot be lightly thrown aside. He will meetwith plenty of errors, no doubt, some of them ridiculous enough;but he will also find a proportion of accurate results which is fartoo large to be reasonably ascribed to coincidence. Hisinvestigations will convince him that there is unquestionably somefoundation for the claims of the astrologers, while at the sametime he cannot but observe that their systems are as yet far fromperfect.
When we remember the enormous space that separates us from eventhe nearest of the planets, it is at once obvious that we mustreject the idea that they can exercise upon us any physical actionworth considering; and furthermore, if there were any such action,it would seem that its strength should depend less upon theposition of the planet in the sky than upon its proximity to theearth-- a factor which is not usually taken into account byastrologers. The more we contemplate the matter the less does itseem rational or possible to suppose that the planets can affectthe earth or its inhabitants to any appreciable extent; yet thefact remains that a theory based upon this apparent impossibilityoften works out accurately. Perhaps the explanation may be foundalong the line that just as the movement of the hands of a clockshows the passage of time, though it does not cause it, so themotions of the planets indicate the prevalence of certaininfluences, but are in no way responsible for them. Let us see whatlight occult study throws upon this somewhat perplexingsubject.
THE DEITY OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
Occult students regard the entire solar system in all its vastcomplexity as a partial manifestation of one great living Being,and all its parts as expressing aspects of Him. Many names havebeen given to Him; in our Theosophical literature He has often beendescribed under the Gnostic title of the Logos-- the Word that wasin the beginning with God, and was God; but now we usually speak ofHim as the Solar Deity. All the physical constituents of the solarsystem-- the sun with its wonderful corona, all the planets withtheir satellites, their oceans, their atmospheres and the variousaethers surrounding them-- all these are collectively His physicalbody, the expression of Him in the physical realm.
In the same way the collective astral worlds-- not only theastral worlds belonging to each of the physical planets, but alsothe purely astral planets of all the chains of the system (such,for example, as planets B and F of our chain)-- make up His astralbody, and the collective worlds of the mental realm are His mentalbody-- the vehicle through which He manifests Himself upon thatparticular level. Every atom of every world is a centre throughwhich He is conscious, so that not only is it true that God isomnipresent, but also that whatever is is God.
Thus we see that the old pantheistic conception was quite true,yet it is only a part of the truth, because while all nature in allits worlds is nothing but His garment, yet He Himself existsoutside of and above all this in a stupendous life of which we canknow nothing-- a life among other Rulers of other systems. Just asall our lives are lived literally within Him and are in truth apart of His, so His life and that of the Solar Deities of countlessother systems are a part of a still greater life of the Deity ofthe visible universe; and if there be in the depths of space yetother universes invisible to us, all of their Deities in turn mustin the same way form part of One Great Consciousness which includesthe whole.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF MATTER
In these ` bodies' of the Solar Deity on their various levelsthere are certain different classes or types of matter, which arefairly equally distributed over the whole system. I am not speakinghere of our usual division of the worlds and their subsections-- adivision which is made according to the density of the matter, sothat in the physical world, for example, we have the solid, liquid,gaseous, etheric, super-etheric, subatomic and atomic conditions ofmatter-- all of them physical, but differing in density. The typeswhich I mean constitute a totally distinct series ofcross-divisions, each of which contains matter in all its differentconditions, so that if we denote the various types by numbers, weshall find solid, liquid and gaseous matter of the first type,solid, liquid and gaseous matter of the second type, and so on allthe way through.
These types of matter are as thoroughly intermingled as are theconstituents of our atmosphere. Conceive a room filled with air;any decided vibration communicated to the air, such as a sound, forexample, would be perceptible in every part of the room. Supposethat it were possible to produce some kind of undulation whichshould affect the oxygen alone without disturbing the nitrogen,that undulation would still be felt in every part of the room. Ifwe allow that, for a moment, the proportion of oxygen might begreater in one part of the room than another, then the oscillation,though perceptible everywhere, would be strongest in that part.Just as the air in a room is composed (principally) of oxygen andnitrogen, so is the matter of the solar system composed of thesedifferent types; and just as a wave (if there could be such athing) which affected only the oxygen or only the nitrogen wouldnevertheless be felt in all parts of the room, so a movement ormodification which affects only one of these types produces aneffect throughout the entire solar system, though it may bestronger in one part than in another.
This statement is true of all worlds, but for the sake ofclearness let us for the moment confine our thought to one worldonly. Perhaps the idea is easiest to follow with regard to theastral. It has often been explained that in the astral body of man,matter belonging to each of the astral subsections is to be found,and that the proportion between the denser and the finer kindsshows how far that body is capable of responding to coarse orrefined desires, and so is to some extent an indication of thedegree to which the man has evolved himself. Similarly in eachastral body there is matter of each of these types, and in thiscase the proportion between them will show the disposition of theman-- whether he is devotional or philosophic, artistic orscientific, pragmatic or mystic.
THE LIVING CENTRES
Now each of these types of matter in the astral body of theSolar Deity is to some extent a separate vehicle, and may bethought of as also the astral body of a subsidiary Deity orMinister, who is at the same time an aspect of the Deity of thesystem, a kind of ganglion or force-centre in Him. Indeed, if thesetypes differ among themselves, it is because the matter composingthem originally came forth through these different living Centres,and the matter of each type is still the special vehicle andexpression of the subsidiary Deity through whom it came, so thatthe slightest thought, movement or alteration of any kind in Him isinstantly reflected in some way or other in all the matter of thecorresponding type. Naturally each such type of matter has its ownspecial affinities, and is capable of vibrating under influenceswhich may probably evoke no response from the other types.
Since every man has within himself matter of all thesetypes, it is obvious that any modification in or action of any oneof these great living Centres must to some degree affect all beingsin the system. The extent to which any particular person is soaffected depends upon the proportion of the type of matter actedupon which he happens to have in his astral body. Consequently wefind different types of men as of matter, and by reason of theirconstitution, by the very composition of their astral bodies, someof them are more susceptible to one influence, some to another.
The types are seven, and astrologers have often given to themthe names of certain of the planets. Each type is divided intoseven sub-types, because each ` planet' may be either practicallyuninfluenced, or it may be affected predominantly by any one of theother six. In addition to the forty-nine definite sub-types thusobtained, there are any number of possible permutations andcombinations of influences, often so complicated that it is no easymatter to follow them. Nevertheless, this gives us a certain systemof classification, according to which we can arrange not only humanbeings, but also the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, andthe elemental essence which precedes them in evolution.
Everything in the solar system belongs to one or other of theseseven great streams, because it has come out through one or otherof these great Force-Centres, to which therefore it belongs inessence, although it must inevitably be affected more or less bythe others also. This gives each man, each animal, each plant, eachmineral a certain fundamental characteristic which never changes--sometimes symbolised as his note, his colour or his ray.
This characteristic is permanent not only through onechain-period, but through the whole planetary scheme, so that thelife which manifests through elemental essence of type A will inthe due course of its evolution ensoul successively minerals,plants, and animals of type A; and when its group-soul breaks upinto units and receives the Third Outpouring, the human beingswhich are the result of its evolution will be men of type A and noother, and under normal conditions will continue so all throughtheir development until they grow into Adepts of type A.
In the earlier days of Theosophical study we were under theimpression that this plan was carried out consistently to the veryend, and that these Adepts rejoined the Solar Deity through thesame subsidiary Deity or Minister through whom they originally cameforth. Further research shows that this thought requiresmodification. We find that bands of egos of many different typesjoin themselves together for a common object.
For example, in the investigations connected primarily with thelives of
Alcyone it was found that certain bands of egos circled roundthe various Masters, and came closer and closer to Them as timewent on. One by one, as they became fit for it, these egos reachedthe stage at which they were accepted as pupils or apprentices byone or other of the Masters. To become truly a pupil of a Mastermeans entering into relations with Him whose intimacy is far beyondany tie of which we know on earth. It means a degree of union withHim which no words can fully express, although at the same time apupil retains absolutely his own individuality and his owninitiative.
In this way each Master becomes a centre of what may be trulydescribed as a great organism, since his pupils are veritablymembers of Him. When we realise that He Himself is in just the sameway a Member of some still greater Master we arrive at a conceptionof a mighty. organism which is in a very real sense one,although built up of thousands of perfectly distinct egos.
Such an organism is the Heavenly Man who emerges as the resultof the evolution of each great root-race. In Him, as in an earthlyman, are seven great centres, each of which is a mighty Adept; andthe Manu and the Bodhisattva occupy in this great organism theplace of the brain and the heart centres respectively. Round Them--and yet not round Them, but in Them and part ofThem, although so fully and gloriously ourselves-- shall we, Theirservants, be; and this great figure in its totality represents theflower of that particular race, and includes all who have attainedAdeptship through it. Each root-race is thus represented at itsclose by one of these Heavenly Men; and They, these splendidtotalities, will, as Their next stage in evolution, becomeMinisters Themselves of some future Solar Deity. Yet each one ofthese contains within Himself men of all possible types, so thateach of these future Ministers is in truth a representative not ofone line but of all lines.
When looked at from a sufficiently high level the whole solarsystem is seen to consist of these great living Centres orMinisters, and the types of matter through which each is expressingHimself. Let me repeat here for the sake of clearness, what I wrotesome time ago on this subject in The Inner Life, vol. i,page 217:
Each of these great living Centres has a sort of orderlyperiodic change or motion of his own, corresponding perhaps on someinfinitely higher level to the regular beating of the human heart,or to the inspiration and expiration of the breath. Some of theseperiodic changes are more rapid than others, so that a complicatedseries of effects is produced; and it has been observed that themovements of the physical planets in their relation to one anotherfurnish a clue to the operation of these influences at any givenmoment. Each of these Centres has His special location or majorfocus within the body of the sun, and a minor exterior focus whichis always marked by the position of a planet.
The exact relation can hardly be made clear in ourthree-dimensional phraseology; but we may perhaps put it that eachCentre has a field of influence practically co-extensive with asolar system; that if a section of this field could be taken itwould be found to be elliptical; and that one of the foci of eachellipse would always be the sun, and the other would be the specialplanet ruled by that Minister. It is probable that, in the gradualcondensation of the original glowing nebula from which the systemwas formed, the location of the planets was determined by theformation of vortices at these minor foci, they being auxiliarypoints of distribution of these influences-- ganglia, as it were,in the solar system.
It must of course be understood that we are referring here notto the curious astrological theory which considers the sun himselfas a planet, but to the real planets which revolve round him.
The influences belonging to these great types differ widely inquality, and one way in which this difference shows itself is intheir action upon the living elemental essence both in man andaround him. Be it ever remembered that this dominance is exerted inall worlds, not only in the astral, though we are just nowconfining ourselves to that for simplicity' s sake. Thesemysterious agencies may have, and indeed must have, other and moreimportant lines of action not at present known to us; but this atleast forces itself upon the notice of the observer, that eachCentre produces its own special effect upon the manifold varietiesof elemental essence.
One, for example, will be found greatly to stimulate theactivity and the vitality of those kinds of essence which speciallyappertain to the Centre through which it comes, while apparentlychecking and controlling others; the sway of another type will beseen to be strong over a quite different set of essences whichbelong to its Centre, while apparently not affecting the previousset in the least. There are all sorts of combinations andpermutations of these mystic powers, the action of one of thembeing in some cases greatly intensified and in others almostneutralised by the presence of another.
Since this elemental essence is vividly active in the astral andmental bodies of man, it is clear that any unusual excitation ofany of these classes of that essence-- any sudden increase in itsactivity-- must undoubtedly affect to some extent either hisemotions or his mind, or both; and it is also obvious that theseforces would work differently on different men, because of thevarieties of essence entering into their composition.
These influences neither exist nor are exercised for the sake ofthe man or with any reference to him, any more than the wind existsfor the sake of the vessel which is helped or hindered by it; theyare part of the play of cosmic forces of whose object we knownothing, though we may to some extent learn how to calculate uponthem and to use them. Such energies in themselves are no more goodnor evil than any other of the powers of nature: like electricityor any other great natural force they may be helpful or hurtful tous, according to the use that we make of them. Just as certainexperiments are more likely to be successful if undertaken when theair is heavily charged with electricity, while certain others undersuch conditions will most probably fail, so an effort involving theuse of the powers of our mental and emotional nature will more orless readily achieve its object according to the influences whichpredominate when it is made.
LIBERTY OF ACTION
It is of the utmost importance for us to understand that suchpressure cannot dominate man' s will in the slightest degree; allit can do is in some cases to make it easier or more difficult forthat will to act along certain lines. In no case can a man be sweptaway by it into any course of action without his own consent,though he may evidently be helped or hindered by it in any effortthat he chances to be making. The really strong man has little needto trouble himself as to the agencies which happen to be in theascendant, but for men of weaker will it may sometimes be worthwhile to know at what moment this or that force can mostadvantageously be applied. These factors may be put aside as anegligible quantity by the man of iron determination or by thestudent of true occultism; but since most men still allowthemselves to be the helpless sport of the forces of desire, andhave not yet developed anything worth calling a will of their own,their feebleness permits these influences to assume an importancein human life to which they have intrinsically no claim.
For example, a certain variety of pressure may occasionallybring about a condition of affairs in which all forms of nervousexcitement are considerably intensified, and there is consequentlya general sense of irritability abroad. That condition cannot causea quarrel between sensible people; but under such circumstancesdisputes arise far more readily than usual, even on the mosttrifling pretexts, and the large number of people who seem to bealways on the verge of losing their tempers are likely torelinquish all control of themselves on even less than ordinaryprovocation. It may sometimes happen that such influences, playingon the smouldering discontent of ignorant jealousy, may fan it intoan outburst of popular frenzy from which wide-spread disaster mayensue.
Even in such a case as this we must guard ourselves against thefatal mistake of supposing the influence to be evil because man' spassions turn it to evil effect. The force itself is simply a waveof activity sent forth from one of the Centres of the Deity, and isin itself of the nature of an intensification of certainvibrations-- necessary perhaps to produce some far-reaching cosmiceffect. The increased activity produced incidentally by its meansin the astral body of a man offers him an opportunity of testinghis power to manage his vehicles; and whether he succeeds or failsin this, it is still one of the lessons which help in hisevolution.
Karma may throw a man into certain surroundings or bring himunder certain influences, but it can never force him to commit acrime, though it may so place him that it requires greatdetermination on his part to avoid that crime. It is possible,therefore, for an astrologer to warn a man of the circumstancesunder which at a given time be will find himself, but any definiteprophecy as to his action under those circumstances can only bebased upon probabilities-- though we may readily recognise hownearly such prophecies become certainties in the case of theordinary will-less man. From the extraordinary mixture of successand failure which characterise modern astrological predictions, itseems fairly certain that the practitioners, of this art are notfully acquainted with all the necessary factors. In a case intowhich only those factors enter which are already fairly wellunderstood, success is achieved; but in cases where unrecognisedfactors come into play we have naturally more or less completefailure as the result.
THE HEAT OF THE SUN
THOSE who are interested in astronomy will find the occult sideof that science one of the most fascinating studies within ourreach. Obviously it would be at once too recondite and tootechnical for inclusion in such a book as this, which is concernedmore immediately with such of the unseen phenomena as affect uspractically in our daily life; but the connection of the sun withthat life is so intimate that it is necessary that a few wordsshould be said about him.
The whole solar system is truly the garment of its Deity, butthe sun is His veritable epiphany-- the nearest that we can come inthe physical realm to a manifestation of Him, the lens throughwhich His power shines forth upon us.
Regarded purely from the physical point of view, the sun is avast mass of glowing matter at almost inconceivably hightemperatures, and in a condition of electrification so intense asto be altogether beyond our experience. Astronomers, supposing hisheat to be due merely to contraction, used to calculate how long hemust have existed in the past, and how long it would be possiblefor him to maintain it in the future; and they found themselvesunable to allow more than a few hundred thousand years either way,while the geologists on the other hand claim that on this earthalone we have evidence of processes extending over millions ofyears. The discovery of radium has upset the older theories, buteven with its aid they have not yet risen to the simplicity of thereal explanation of the difficulty.
One can imagine some intelligent microbe living in or upon ahuman body and arguing about its temperature in precisely the sameway. He might say that it must of course be a gradually coolingbody, and he might calculate with exactitude that in so many hoursor minutes it must reach a temperature that would render continuedexistence impossible for him. If he lived long enough, however, hewould find that the human body did not
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