[Note: the following addresses the book “The Philosophy of Spirit,” by William Oxley.]
The book bearing the above title, and professing to expound “the philosophy of spirit” contained in the Bhagavadgita, has already been introduced to the readers of The Theosophist by the review that appeared in the December number [p. 62], and the author’s reply thereto published in the copy of March [p. 150]. Considering the importance of the issues raised by the author’s publication, and the two articles above referred to, I persuade myself that I shall be justified in sifting, with some minuteness, the conclusions arrived at by the author regarding the authorship and philosophy of the Bhagavadgita and its esoteric basis or foundation. As the author has not merely published his own speculations regarding the subjects dealt with in that ancient work, but informs the public that his speculations are in perfect accordance with the ancient philosophy of Vyasa, I believe I have a right, as a Hindu, to object to the position taken by him, if, in my humble opinion, his views should be at variance with those of the orthodox pundits and the initiates of ancient Aryavarta, as much as with those of modern India. And I hope the learned gentleman will be good enough to excuse me, if, in this article, I may be under the painful necessity of dwelling longer on what I conceive to be the defects of his work than on its merits. Though the author does not seem to be a Spiritualist in the sense in which that term is used by the so-called modern professors of that name, still he has attempted to give a philosophical shape to their crude notions about “disembodied spirits”; and any intelligent and profitable discussion of the real points of difference between Theosophy and Spiritualism is only possible with writers like Mr. Oxley.
In this article I shall first examine the author’s theory about the real origin of sacred writings in general and of the Bhagavatgita in particular, and next, in his remarks, scattered throughout the book, about what he calls the Astro-Masonic basis of the said treatise, and his views about some of the doctrines therein explained.
At the outset, it is necessary to apprehend correctly Mr. Oxley’s opinions about the constitution of man and the progress of what the learned author is pleased to call “life-principle” after death. The author recognizes the trinity of man, and names the three entities that constitute him—body, spirit and soul. He calls “Soul” the “inmost of all,” “eternal, incorruptible, unchangeable and inseparable from the grand Life, called God,” while describing “Spirit” as the “inner or intermediate active agent which guides, propels and uses as its instrument the body, or that covering which is exterior to itself” (p. 221). From these explanations it is apparent that the author means by “soul” and “spirit” the same entities as are denoted by the two Sanskrit terms Atma (7th principle) and Sookshmasariram, or Lingasariram, respectively. The author is at liberty to attach any connotations he pleases to these words, as no definite meaning has yet been attached to them by English writers. But I do not think he has used the word Spirit in the sense above indicated throughout his book; for, he further says that there are 12 degrees or stages of ascent (p. 40), which the life-principle in man has to pass through in its spiritual progress; and we are also informed that, on reaching the 12th stage, man becomes an angel. Further progress from angel-hood upwards or inwards is admitted, though the author does not undertake to describe it. He farther proceeds to say (pp. 53, 56, 181, etc.,) that particular individuals are in some mysterious way connected with particular spiritual communities “receiving their life-influx” from them and imbibing their influence. And every human being will, in the course of his progress, become an angel of some particular description or other.
Now I beg to submit, with all due respect to the author’s guru, that these views do not harmonize with the teachings of Vyasa and the other Rishis of ancient Aryavarta. The difference between the doctrines of the ancient Aryan esoteric science and the propositions above laid down, will not be properly appreciated unless the meaning attached by the author to the word angel is first ascertained. Though the said word is nowhere defined in his book, yet from a footnote in page 93, it can be easily seen that an angel means Devata. Those, who are acquainted with Sanskrit mythology, know very well that there are several classes of Devata; that these classes perish at the end of each Manvantara,1 and that new classes or tribes (Gaṇams) come into existence at the beginning of every subsequent Manvantara. It will also be seen, from the Hindu Puranas and the Mahabharata itself, that neither the individuals of these various tribes, nor yet the tribes collectively, undergo any change, transmigrations or translations into a higher state, or higher planes of existence. No Hindu has ever heard of a Yaksha or Gandharva2 becoming a Deva, and of a Deva becoming a higher being. The really important difference, however, between the author’s theory and the doctrines of the ancient Rishis, consists in the view taken of the various degress or “states-being” in a man and their esoteric significance. The author’s desire to find some reference to the 12 signs of the Zodiac in almost everything connected with the ancient Aryan religion and philosophy, has probably led him to the belief that there are 12 degrees in man corresponding to the 12 signs ot the Zodiac; and it would also, appear that such was his guru’s teaching. The author, however, has no right, it seems to me, to import into the Aryan doctrine either his guru’s teaching or his own fancies, unless he is in a position to show that they are in accordance with the teachings of the ancient Rishis. I shall now state what the Aryan doctrine really teaches as regards these states or degrees, as far, of course, as I am permitted to say in an article intended for publication.
The seven-fold classification in man was already prominently brought to the notice of the readers of the “Theosophist” in the article headed “Fragments of Occult Truth,”3 and in a subsequent article, referring to and completing it, published in the January number of the said journal.4 These seven entities in man represent the 7 principles that constitute him. But the Rishis also recognized 16 stages of ascent—not 12 as the author has erroneously supposed—from Prithwi Tatwam up to “the eternal and infinite monad”—the augoides that overshadows every man, the blazing star at the end of Shodasantum (end of the 16th stage of ascent). Busiris himself, when in human form as Krishna Dwypâyana (!), spoke of Shodasántum, as may be seen from the many sacred writings attributed to Vyasa. From the stand-poiat of Aryan philosophy, the author is right in saying that a man becomes perfect on reaching the 11th stage, but he is wrong in saying that, on attaining the next higher step, he becomes an “angel” or Deva. The nature of the last 5 stages, spoken of by the ancient Rishis, is not clearly understood even by the ordinary initiate.5 It is not surprising, then, that an author, like Mr. Oxley, who attempts to interpret the ancient Aryan doctrine without knowing either the Sanskrit language, the Hindu systems of mythology, the Eastern modes of allegorizing spiritual truths, or the physiology and psychology as taught by the ancients, should have misunderstood the meaning of the 12th stage. No one, who correctly understands the meaning of the 8th Adhyaya (chapter) of the Bhagavatgita, and compares the original with the author’s translation of the said chapter, will be inclined to doubt the correctness of our assertion. In that chapter, Krishna, speaking of the future state of the human being after death, says that, generally speaking, “the life-principle” in man (the Karanasariram probably?) assumes the shape and nature of that being or entity on whom, or on which, the human being concentrates his attention deeply. Therefore, and as it is not desirable for a human being to contemplate any other spiritual entity or being than Krishna himself, he advises Arjuna to centre his thoughts in him. But, who is Krishna? The Bhagavatgita does not leave as in any doubt about this question. In giving an account of his Vibhuti (as it is called in Sanskrit) Krishna commences by saying “Ahamatma”6 (I am Atma—the 7th principle in man). To use the author’s phraseology, he is the “soul”—the inmost principle in man. The author admits this view in certain portions of his book, though, for the purpose of establishing the claims of Busiris to the authorship of the “Mahabharata,” a different interpretation would perhaps be necessary. And, in recommending the contemplation or Dhyan of one’s own atma, Krishna points out two different modes of doing it, in the 9th, 12th and 13th Slokams of the chapter above mentioned. The author’s translation of the 9th Slokam is enough to convince me that he has no defininte idea about the esoteric meaning therein found, and that he mistook the spiritual being or entity described in the said Slokam for his favourite angel. He translates the significant Sanskrit adjective—Puranam, as if it meant “The Ancient Angel.” I shall be very happy indeed to learn in what Sanskrit Lexicon is this meaning given, or what are the Sanskrit words used in the Slokam that could ever suggest that idea of an “angel.” From this instance of mis-translation, as well as from other similar instances, which will be noticed further, I am justified in thinking that the author’s theories were formed before he had carefully ascertained the esoteric meaning of the Bhagavatgita; and that he simply attempted to find support for his individual speculation in it, and to identify modern Spiritualism (however advanced) with what he is pleased to call “Ancient Yoginism” (P. 87).
In fact, in the Slokam, or verse in question, there is no reference whatsoever to any angel, Deva or God. The last five stages in the ladder of ascent have exactly the same meaning that is given by the esoteric Buddhism to the four celestial “Dhyan-Buddhas” and “Adi-Buddha.” Krishna significantly alludes to the Dhyan-Baddhas in the 9th and 10th Slokas, and speaks of “Adi-Buddha”—the state or condition represented by Pranava—in the succeeding verses.7 While he applies the wore Purusha to these “Dhyan-Buddhas” he speaks of Adi-Buddhas, as if it were merely a state or condition.8 The two expressions, Anusasitarum and Aditya-Varnam, in the 9th verse may give the author a clue to the mystery connected with these “Dhyan-Buddhas.” I am not permitted to state in an article the views of the ancient Rishis concerning these 5 stages—the spiritual counterparts of the 5 chambers of construction above the King’s chamber in the great Pyramid of Egypt—or the phliosophy underlying the Buddhist doctrine regarding these 5 Buddhas. But it is enough for my present purpose to state that these celestial “Dhyan-Buddhas” came into existence (according to Vyasa) before the last work of creation or evolution commenced, and consequently, before any Deva or Angel was evolved. Therefore, they are to be regarded as occupying a higher position (in a spiritual sense) than even Brahma, Vishnu and Ishwara, the three highest gods of the Hindu Pantheon—as they are the direct emanations of Parabrahman. The author will understand my meaning clearly, when he examines the accounts of “creation” given in the Hindu Puranas, and comes to comprehend what the ancient Rishis meant by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, and Sanatsujata.
From the teachings of Krishna himself, as disclosed in the chapter under examination, it is clear that the transformation into an angel after death (even into a Busiris, the light-giver) is not a state or position which is so devoutly to be wished for, by any true Yogi. The ancient Rishis of Aryavarta have taken considerable pains to impress upon the minds of their followers that the human spirit (7th principle) has a dignity, power and sacredness which cannot be claimed by any other God, Deva or angel of the Hindu Pantheon;9 and human beings are stated in the Puranas to have performed actions which all the 33 crores of Devas in Swarga were unable to perform. Rama in human shape, conquers Ravana, a giant, who drove before him all the angel-bands of Heaven. Krishna again, in human form, conquers Narakasura, and several other Rakshasas whom even Iiidra was unable to oppose. And again Arjuna—a man significantly calld by Vyasa “Nara,”—succeeds in destroying the “Kalakayas” and the “Nivatakavachas” (two tribes of Rakshas or demons) who were found invincible by the “Devas,” and actaally defeats Indra himself with the help of his friend, Krishna. If the learned author is pleased to read between the lines of our Puranas and to ascertain the grand idea which found expression in such myths and allegories, he will be in a better position to know the opinion of our ancient teachers regarding the human spirit (7th principle) and its supremacy over all the angels of Swarga. Even on “this mundane plane of existence a Hindu “Yogi” or a Buddhist “Arhat” aims at a result immeasurably higher than the mere attainment of Swargam:—namely, a state of eternal rest, which even the devas do not comprehend. And I can safely assure the author that an eastern adept would not consider it a compliment if he were told that he would reach Swargam after death or that he would become an “angel.” Krishna goes to the length of saying (chap. 8) that even residence in Brahma Loka is not desirable for a man who cares for Swaswarupagnanâm—the knowledge of self.
Under such circumstances, it is with considerable astonishment that every Hindu will receive the author’s astounding assertion that “Busiris, the angel”—(viewing him absolutely in the sense that the author would have as view him)—made an announcement sometime ago in a seance-room at Manchester or London to the effect that he was the author of the Mahabharata? If the author’s declaration or announcenrent means the entity or life “life-principle,” which was represented by Vyasa on the mundane plane of exsitence 5,000 years ago, is now represented by Busiris on the Angelic plane of existence, or, to express the same thing in other words, that Vyasa is now an angel called Busiris—his Hindu readers will not be able to reconcile it with the teachings of their ancient Rishis; unless they are willing to admit that Vyasa, insted of being, during his life-time, a great Rishi on earth, was neither an adept, not even an initiate, but merely a worshipper of a particular Angel or Deva, who spent his life-time in the contemplation of that Deva longing all the while for “angel-hood,” a dwelling in Swargam (or paradise) after death.
With these preliminary remarks, I shall now proceed to consider the claims of Busiris to the authorship of the Mahabharata. The various passages, referring to this subject, in Mr. Oxley’s book, may point to either of the following conclusions:—
(1) That Vyasa is now an angel, called “Busiris,” as explained in the foregoing, and that, in writing his epic poem, he was inspired by the angel—collectively called Busiris.
(2) That, even supposing Vyasa has already attained Moksha, or Nirvana, and reached a higher plane of existence than that of an angel, still he is changed with having composed the Mahabharata and the Bhagwatgita, through inspiration received from the band of angels or Devagnanam, now collectively represented by “Busiris,” the light-giver.
Taking either of those two propositions, one may naturally expect that some evidence will be found either in the Bhagavatgita or the remaining portions of the Bharata in support of them. And, as the author assures us (p. 181) that the individuals, who collect the utterances of angelic intelligences and reduce them to written form, very “wisely keep their own personalities in the shade,” we are led to believe that this expectation is likely to be realised. But the whole of the internal evidence, gathered by the author on behalf of his angelic hero, amounts only to this:—
1. Vyasa means a “Recorder:” therefore the word was purposely applied to Krishna Dwapayana to indicate his real position as regards the authorship as the Mahabharata.
Now I beg to submit, in reply to this argument, that Vyasa does not exactly mean a recorder; but that it means one who expands or amplifies.10 The thing or doctrine explained or amplified by him, is a mystery to the uninitiated public. This term was applied to the Highest Guru in India in ancient times; and the author will be able to find in the “Linga Puran” that the author of the Mahabharata was the 28th Vyasa in the order of succession. I shall not now attempt to explain the real meaning of the 28 incarnations therein mentioned,11 but I shall only say that the entity, amplified and expanded by these Mahatmas12 for the instruction of their highest circle of disciples was Pranava (see “Kurma Purana”). The author will be able to learn something aboat this mysterious amplification of Pranava only in the sacred region where Swedenborg advised his readers to search for the “Lost Word,” and in a few unexplored and unknown localities in India.
II. Sanjaya—according to Mr. Oxley—was purposely introduced into the story to give to the reader an indication of the way in which divine truths were communicated by “Busiris” to Vyasa. On page 61 the author writes, in this connection, as follows:—“Sanjaya means a messenger, (and, if interpreted by modern Spiritualist experiences, refers to the communicating spirit or angel) who is gradually absorbed into the individuality of the organism of the recorder who assumes the name or title of Krishna.”
It will be very interesting to know on whose authority the author says that Sanjaya in Sanskrit means a messenger? No one would feel inclined to quarrel with him, if he only gave fanciful names to imaginary angels. But is it fair, on the author’s part, to misconstrue Sanskrit names without possessing any knowledge of that language, and to represent, to the English and Indian public, that the “crude notions” of modern Spiritualists and his own speculations completely harmonize with the teachings of the sacred books of the Aryans? The author says (p. 55 ) that—
“An understanding of the grand Law of Influx (but little dreamt of and still less comprehended by the mass), enables us to receive the statement of the new Angel Busiris, that he was the author of the Mahabharata.”
Though I do not know much about the author’s “grand Law of Influx,” I know of a particular Law of efflux (but little dreamt of by authors and still less comprehended by their readers) which enables me to perceive that mere fancies are often mistaken for realities, especially when the said authors think that they are “inspired.”
If Sanjaya really represented the angelic intelligence which communicated the truths embodied in the Bhagvatgita to Vyasa, it is surprising to find in the last chapter—the very chapter, in fact, which, in the opinion of the author, contains the key for the clear understanding of the whole philosophy—Sanjaya informing Dhritarashtra that by favour of Vyasa (Vyasa prasadana) he was able to hear the mystic truths revealed by Krishna. Sanjaya’s meaning would be rendered clear by the account of the arrangement made by the Vyasa for getting information of the war between the Pandavas and the Kouravas to the blind Dhritarashtra given at the commencement of Bheeshmaparva. Vyasa, in fact, endowed Sanjaya, for the time being, with the powers of Dooradrishti and Doorasravanam, and made him invulnerable, so that he might be present on the battle-field and report everything to the blind old man. These facts recorded in the “Mahabharata” are quite inconsistent with the author’s theory unless we are prepared to admit that Vyasa has published deliberate falsehoods, with the intention of concealing the real authorship of the “Mahabharata.” But the author informs us that “recorders,” like Vyasa, “very wisely keep their own personalities in the shade.” I must, therefore, assume that the author’s suppositions about Sanjaya and angelic intelligences are erroneous until the facts are proved to be incorrect.
III. Again in page 54 of his book, in giving his interpretation of the words Krishna and Dwypayana, he says that Krishna means black, and Dwypayana, difficult to attain, which “spiritnally interpreted symbolises the states of mankind to whom the revelation was made.”
The author evidently means to suggest, by this passage, that the appellation given to Vyasa contains some evidence of the revelation made by Busiris. And here, again, the author is misinterpreting the Sanskrit word “Dwypayana” to create a fresh evidence for his favourite theory. This name was given to Vyasa, because he was borne in a Dweepam or island (on the Ganges) as will be seen from the “Bharata” itself. Unless the author can successfully demonstrate that all the Sanskrit words he has misconstrued really belong to the mysterious language to which the two words she has selected—“Osiris” and “Busiris”—belong, and which he alone can understand, mistakes, like these, cannot but produce an unfavourable impression upon the mind of the Hindu reader.
This is the whole of the internal evidence brought to light by the learned author in support of the claims of Busiris. If such evidence is really worse than useless, for the reasons above-mentioned, on what other grounds are we to admit the truth of the alleged declaration made by Busiris in England? The author is likely to take up his stand on his theory about the composition of sacred books in general, and on the direct evidence supplied by the claimant himself.
As regards the first of the two propositions above-mentioned, I have already shown that, to the Hindu mind, the fact that Vyasa was an adept and a Mahatma in his life-time, and that other fact that he is now an angel or Deva—are irreconcilable. I admit that there is no primâ facie improbability in the fact of an angel giving information to a mortal, although my opinions, regarding the nature of so-called “angels,” differ vastly from those of the author. But no one, I venture to affirm, who is acquainted with Eastern adepts and the powers possessed by them, will be willing to admit that an adept like Vyasa would ever be under the necessity of learning spiritual truths from an angel or a Deva. The only infallible source of inspiration with respect to the highest spiritual truths, recognized and respected by an Eastern adept, is the eternal and infinite monad—his own Atma, in fact. He may make use of the assistance of the elementals and the semi-intelligent powers of nature whenever he is pleased to do so. But his own inherent powers can give him all the information, or instruction which angels like Basiris can ever give him. I do not profess to say anything about the way in which spiritual truths are being learnt by the “adepts” of France, the “adepts” of America, and, probably, also the adepts of Patagonia and Zululand alluded to by “Alif” in his review of the author’s book in the “Psychological Review”; but Vyasa was an Eastern adept; and, it must be presumed that he possessed at least the powers now exercised by adepts in Tibet and India. In the Hindu Puranas, there are, no doubt, instances recorded of initiates having received information and instruction through the assistance of intelligent powers of nature. But there is very little resemblance between such powers and angels like Busiris. When the author succeeds in finding out the mode in which an adept communicates with these powers, and obtains a clue to construe the cipher which nature herself uses, he will be in a better position to understand the difference between spirit communion in a séance-room and the way in which initiates of Ancient Aryavarta gathered their information on various subjects. But what necessity was there for anything like special revelation in the case of the Mahabharata? As regards the facts of history mentioned therein, there could not be any need for Vyasa’s interiors being opened;” as he had merely to record the events occurring before his very eyes. He was, in fact, the “father” of Pandu and Dhritarashtra, and all the events mentioned in the Mahabharata took place during his lifetime. As regards the various philosophical discourses such as Bhagvatgita in “Bheeshmaparvam,” “Sanat Sujatyam” in “Udyogaparvam” and Uttaragita in “Amsasanikaparvam,” many of the learned Pundits of India are of opinion that orginally they were not included in the Mahabharata. Whatever may be the strength of the reasons given by them for saying so, it is clear to those, who are acquainted with the real history of Aryan thought, that all the esoteric science and philosophy contained in the Mahabharata existed long before Vyasa was born. This work did not mark the advent of a new era in Aryan philosophy or introduce into the Aryan world a new Dispensation, as the author has imagined. Though Vyasa is generally spoken of as the founder of the Vedantic Doctrine, it was not for the Mahabharata, or anything contained in it, that he obtained this title, but on account of his celebrated Brahmasutras which are supposed to contain a complete exposition of the doctrines taught by the Vedantic school. This book is particularly referred to in the 5th verse of the 13th chapter of the Bhagvatgita, where Krishna informs Arjuna, that the nature of Kshatram and Kshatragna has been fully defined in the Bhrahmasutras. Not knowing anything about the exsitence of this great philosophical work, the author thought that the Sanskrit expression Brahmasutras merely meant “precepts taught of truths divine.” If the author had known anything about the importance of the work in question, Busiris would, no doubt, have announced himself by this time the author of the Brahmasutras also. If these Sutras were composed by Vyasa before Krishna revealed the truths of the Bhagvatgita to Arjuna, as we are led to infer from the words used in this Slokam, there was no necessity whatsoever for the assistance of Busiris in composing the Bhagvatgita, as the “philosophy of spirit” contained in it was already fully contained in the said Sutras.
The author will probably say: “I see no reason why I should not believe the statement made by Busiris.” He may argue that he knows for certain that “it was made by an angel; and as an angel cannot, under any circumstances, utter a falsehood,” he has to believe that “the Mahabharata is really the production of Busiris.”
The learned author has informed the public in page 51 of his book, that, after making the important declaration that he was the author of the Mahabharata, Busiris proceeded “to give an interesting account of the civilization and manners and customs of the inhabitants in his day, long antecedent to the system of caste which now prevails in India.” Unfortunately we do not find the whole of this interesting account published by the learned author for the benefit of the public. But the only statement of an historical importance contained in the sentence above quoted—that the system of caste did not prevail at the time when Busiris was in India in human form—is such as to make everyone who is acquainted with Indian history doubt the veracity of Busiris. Rig-veda speaks of the four castes of the Hindus (see Max Muller’s Lectures, etc.), and, as the author admits that Rig-veda existed long before the composition of the Mahabharata, the system of caste must have also existed before Busiris had appeared in human form in this country. Again, “Santiparvam” and “Anusasanikaparvam” of the Mahabharata will distinctly show to the author that the system of caste existed when Busiris was living here as Vyasa. And, moreover, in the 13th verse of the 4th chapter of the Bhagvatgita itself, Krishna says that he had already created the four divisions of caste (“Chaturvarnam maya sreshtam”). This statement of Busiris, then, is clearly wrong. It is very surprising that an angel should lose his memory in the course of his transformation from man to angel, or should wilfully make false statements with reference to well-known facts of history. Under such circumstances, no one will be prepared to admit that Busiris was the author of the great poem, if there is no other evidence in support of it, bat the value of his own statements.
We have thus seen the degree of reliance that can be placed on the revelation from angels, who delight in giving now and then sensational news to the public through their friends and admirers in séance-rooms. So long as the so-called celebrated “Historical Controls” continue to give incorrect information regarding the events and facts in history, the public in general, and the Hindus in particular, ought to be excused for not giving credence to all that is claimed by Spiritualists on behalf of the “disembodied spirit” and “spirit communion.”
I have purposely abstained from saying anything about the real agency at work in producing the so-called spirit manifestations, and from testing Busiris and his pretensions by examining the very basis of modern Spiritualism from its first principles. Unless the real points of divergence between Spiritualism and Theosophy in their fundamental doctrines are first settled, there will be little or no profit in stating merely the conclusions arrived at by Theosophists about the séance-room phenomena. Conclusions based on the systematic investigation and discoveries made by the brightest intellects of Asia, for thousands of years, are liable to be often mistaken for idle speculations and whimsical hypotheses, if the ground, on which they rest, is masked from view. I can hardly be expected to undertake a complete discussion of the subject within the limits of one article. I have already given a brief and general statement of my views about Spiritualism in a paper published in the “Theosophist.”
As the present review has already reached an inordinate length, I shall now bring it to a close. The author’s views about the Astro-Masonic basis of the Bhagvatgita and his elucidation of some of its important doctrines will be examined in my next paper.
Triplicane, Madras, 22nd March, 1882.
(To be Continued.)
The Philosophy of Spirit
Hierosophy, Theosophy, and Psychosophy
An article by Mr. W. Oxley, under the above heading, has appeared in the Theosophist [September, 1882]. It is intended to be a reply to the strictures contained in my review of “The Philosophy of Spirit,” published in the Theosophist; but a considerable portion of it is devoted to the exposition of some of the important doctrines of what is termed “Hierosophy and Theosophy,” as understood by the author. I shall first examine the author’s defence of Busiris and the statements contained in his treatise on “The Philosophy of Spirit” regarding the authorship of Mahabharata, and then proceed to point out his misconceptions of the real doctrines of “Theosophy,” and the fanciful nature of his speculations on the doctrines of the new system of Esoteric Philosophy and Science, which, it is confidently predicted, will soon supplant the existing systems of Eastern Brotherhoods, and which is hereafter to be known under the name of “Hierosophy.”
Mr. Oxley is pleased to state at the commencement of his article, that whatever may be the views of “orthodox Bramhins,” regarding his theories and speculations, “enlightened Buddhists” would not be unwilling to sympathize with and receive him as an ally in the work of reform.
Buddhists may not be very much interested either in Bhagavatgita, its authorship, or its correct interpretation, and consequently they may not take the trouble of arriving at any particular conclusions about the correctness of the authors’ interpretation of its philosophy, or the justness of his views concerning its authorship. But if the author would publish another small treatise to explain the philosophy of spirit contained either in the Tripitakas, or in the Dharma Chakkra Pravartana Sutra, and assert that the real authors of these works were better known to certain mediums in England than to all the Buddhist Lamas and Arhats put together, that they were, in fact, certain angels called by names which they never heard in their lives, and that Gautama Buddha’s interiors were opened to let in spiritual light and wholesome life influx from the sphere of solar angels, he will have an opportunity of ascertaining the opinion of “enlightened Buddhists” on the real value of his speculations and the extent of their usefulness in promoting the cause of Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist reform. I hardly ever expected that a philosopher of Mr. Oxley’s pretensions would think it proper to attack orthodox Bramhinism and inform the public that his reading of the doings of orthodox people in past history and observations of their spirit and action in present times has not left a very favourable impression on his mind, when the said statement is perfectly irrelevant to the argument in question. Busiris must, indeed, have been reduced to desperate straits when this counter-attack on “orthodox Bramhinism” is considered necessary to save him from annihilation. But what does Mr. Oxley know of “orthodox Bramhins?” So far as I can see, his knowledge of the doctrines of orthodox Bramhinism is all derived from the perusal of a few incorrect English translations of Bhagavat-Gita; he is confessedly ignorant of the Sanskrit language, and is, therefore, unable to derive information from any of our Sanskrit works. He mast have based his assertion, perhaps, on the statements of some interested missionaries, who are generally fond of abusing orthodox Brahminism when they find themselves unable to convert Hindus to their creed by fair argument. Under such circumstances, what is the good of informing his readers that he does not patronize “orthodox Brahminism,” when he is not prepared to point out in what respects orthodox Brahminism is bad, and how far my connection with it has tended to vitiate my arguments against the claims of Busiris to the authorship of Mahabharata? I beg to inform the author that if there is reason to condemn any of the rites, ceremonies, or practices of modern Brahmins, their Brahminism would be heterodox Brahminism, and not orthodox Brahminism. The true orthodox Brahmins are the children of the mysterious Fire-mist known to Eastern Occultists. The two Sanskrit words, Badaba and Badabaya, generally applied to Brahmins, will reveal to the author the real basis of orthodox Brahminism, if he can but understand their significance. The real orthodox Brahmin is the Astral man and his religion is the only true religion in the world; it is as eternal as the mighty law which governs the Universe. It is this grand religion which is the foundation of Theosophy. Mr. Oxley is but enunciating a truism—a truism to Theosophists, at least,—when he says that “esoteric truth is one and the same when divested of the external garb in which it is clothed.” It is from the stand-point of this esoteric truth, that I have examined the theories of the author explained in his book, and arrived at the conclusion that they were mere fancies and speculations, which do not harmonize with the doctrines of the ancient Wisdom-religion which, in my humble opinion, is identical with the real orthodox Brahminism of ancient Aryavarta and the pre-Vedic Buddhism of Central Asia. I shall now request my readers to read my review of “The Philosophy of Spirit” in connection with the article under consideration fully to appreciate the relevancy of Mr. Oxley’s arguments.
I stated in my review that as regards the facts of history mentioned in Mahabharata, there could not be any need for Vyasa’s “interiors being opened,” and that as regards the philosophy contained therein, there was no necessity for anything like a special revelation by angels like Busiris. The learned author objects to this statement for two reasons which may be stated as follows:—
I.—Vedic allegories have about as much literal historical truth in them as the Hebraic allegories, etc.
Therefore, Mahabharata does not contain any facts of history. It is hardly necessary for me to point out the fallacy and worthlessness of such an argument. Argument No. II. is still more ridiculous; when stated in plain language, it stands thus:—
Orthodoxy insists on a literal interpretation of such books as Mahabharata.
Mr. Oxley is not favourably disposed towards “Orthodoxy.”
And, therefore, it necessarily follows that Mahabharata contains no facts of history, and that Vyasa’s “interiors were opened” to let in light from Busiris.
Having urged these two useless arguments in defence of Busiris, the learned author proceeds to notice the sixteen states mentioned in my review, after giving me due warning, that I should meet him as a Theosophist, and not as an orthodox Brahmin. He says that as his twelve states are qualities, he has, in fact, twenty-four states when I have only sixteen, and treating these latter, according to his own method, he asserts that Eastern Theosophists have not gone beyond his eighth stage of ascent. If I were to tell him in reply to this statement, that my states are also dualities, he will probably say that his twelve states are so many trinities. Any how, Mr. Oxley’s number must be greater than my number; and this is the grand result to be achieved at any cost. Mr. Oxley will do well to remember that just as a geometrical line may be divided into parts in an infinite number of ways, this line of ascent may similarly be divided into various stages in an innumerable number of ways. And, in order to ascertain whether the very last stage reached by Eastern adepts in higher or lower than the last stage conceived by Mr. Oxley he ought to examine carefully the characteristics of our last stage, instead of merely comparing the number of stages without knowing anything about the basis of our division. I beg to submit that the existence of any state or condition beyond the Shodasanthum (sixteenth state) mentioned in my review is altogether inconceivable. For, it is the Thureeya-kala which is Nishkala; it is the Grand Nothing from which is evolved, by the operation of the external law, every existence, whether physical, astral, or spiritual; it is the condition of Final Negation—the Maha Sunyam, the Nirvana of the Buddhists. It is not the blazing star itself, but it is the condition of perfect unconciousness of the entity thus indicated, as well as of the “Sun,” which is supposed to be beyond the said star.
The learned author next points out that there cannot be any difficulty or objection “to accepting as a possibility, that the actual author of Mahabharata should put in, not an objective, but a subjective, appearance in London, or elsewhere if he chose so to-do.” Quite true; but he will never choose to do so. And consequently, when such subjective appearance is stated to have taken place, very strong grounds will be required to support it. So far as I can see, all the evidence is against the said statement. Subjective appearances like these are generally very deceptive. The mischievous pranks of Pisachams or elementals may be often mistaken for the subjective appearances of solar angles or living adepts. The author’s statement about the supposed astral visits of “the venerable Koot-Hoomi” is now contradicted by Koot-Hoomi’s chela under the orders of his Master. Unfortunately, Busiris has no chela in human form to contradict Mr. Oxley’s statements. But the account of Koot-Hoomi’s visits will be sufficient to show how very easily the learned author may be deceived by devils and elementals, or by his own uncontrolled imagination. I respectfully beg to suggest to Mr. Oxley that it may be argued in conformity with his own mighty “law of influx,” that the Pisacham or elemental, whom he mistook for Vyasa, might have put forth a false statement, being unable to maintain “concurrent consciousness at both ends of the line,” or for the same reason, and labouring under a similar difficulty (for we are told by the author that even the highest Deva cannot transcend “the law of conditions”), Busiris might have mistaken himself for the author of Mahabharata, having lost the consciousness of what he really was before he had put in the subjective appearance in question.
The learned author reminds me that Krishna Dwypayana “is only the supposed author of Mahabharata,” and confidently asserts that “no man living knows who were the authors of the Hindu sacred records, or when and where they were written and published,” relying upon the authority of Professor Monier Williams, who stated in his book on “Hinduism” that Sanskrit literature is wholly destitute of trustworthy historical records.
This assertion does not prove that Busiris was the real author of Mahabharata for the following reasons:—
I. With all due respect to the learned Professor, I venture to affirm that the general proposition relied upon is not correct. We have got trustworthy historical records which no Europeon has ever seen; and we have, besides, the means of finding out any historical fact that may be wanted, or of reproducing in its entirety any work that might have been lost. Eastern occult science has given us these powers.
II. Even if the general proposition is correct, it cannot reasonably be inferred therefrom, that, when the names of the authors of Sanskrit works are mentioned in the said works themselves or in other books, which may be considered an authoritative, no reliance should be placed on such statements.
III. Even if such inference were permissible, it cannot be contended, in the absence of any reliable independent evidence, that, because the author of a certain Sanskrit book is not known, it should be presumed to be the production of an angel.
The following statement is to be found in the author’s book, p. 51:—“Busiris expressly declared: ‘I am the author of Mahabharata, and I can answer for five thousand years of time, for I was then on earth’; and he goes on to give an inteaesting account of the civilization, and manners and customs of the inhabitants of his day, long antecedent to the system of caste which now prevails in India.” We are now informed by Mr. Oxley that the words, “long antecedent to the system of caste which now prevails in India,” were not uttered by Busiris, but that they were written by himself. Even then, Busiris has undoubtedly some connection with the statement. “The interesting account of the civilization, and manners and customs of the inhabitants of his day,” given by Busiris, is either consistent with the existence of caste at that time, or it is not. If it is, the author’s statement does not harmonize with the account of Busiris, and I do not suppose that the author will venture to contradict the statements of an angel. I should, therfore, assume that the aocount given by Busiris is incosistent with the existence of caste at the time he appeared in human form.
If so, the account in question flaty contradicts all the statements in Mahabharata itself, which refer to the system of caste (see Santiparvam and Anusasnikaparvam). The author’s quotation of Professor Williams’ opinion regarding Purusha Sukta does not show that it does not properly form a portion of Rig-Veda, and no reasons are given for holding that the system of caste mentioned in Bhagvat-Gita is not properly speaking a system of caste. And here again the author thinks it necessary to condemn orthodox Brahminism for the purpose of enforcing his arguments. If the author really thinks that he will gain his cause by abusing “orthodox Brahminism,” he is entirely mistaken.
After giving us a brief account of the progress of the United States and predicting the future downfall of orthodox Brahminism, the learned author informs his readers that it would be better not to notice what in his opinion might be urged to prove that my criticisms are from a mistaken stand-point. Certainly, the author has acted very prudently in making this declaration; any attempt on his part to answer the main arguments urged by me would have ended in a disastrous failure.
It is always difficult for a foreigner to understand our religious philosophy and the mysteries of our Puranas, even when he devotes a considerable portion of his time and energy to the study of Sanskrit literature and the real secrets of Eastern occult science can only be revealed by an Initiate. So long as Europeans treat the opinions of Hindus with contempt and interpret our religious books according to their own fancies, the sublime truths contained therein will not be disclosed to Western nations. Mr. Oxley evidently thinks that there is no initiate in India, who can interpret our religious books properly, and that the real key to esoteric Hinduism is in his possession. It is such unreasonable confidence that has hitherto prevented so many European enquirers from ascertaining the real truth about our ancient religious books.
Mr. Oxley means to assume a certain amount of importance by putting forth the following astounding assertion. He says in his article:—“What, if I State to my reviewer that perchance—following the hint and guidance of Swedenbourg—I and some others may have penetrated into that sacred region (Central Asia) and discovered the ‘Lost Word’”!
If I had not seen the author’s book and his articles in the Theosophist, I would have refrained from saying anything against such a statement on the assumption that no man’s statement should be presumed to be false, unless it is proved to be so. But from the following considerations, I cannot help coming to the conclusion that the author knows nothing about the “Lost Word.”
(1.) Those who are in possession of it are not ignorant of the “art of dominating over the so-called forces of Nature.” The author confesses that he and his associates are ignorant of the said art.
(2.) Those who are acquainted with the Mighty Law embodied in the “Lost Word” will never affirm that the “Infinite Monad receives influx of energy from the Planetary Spirits” as stated by the author.
(3.) The author’s assertion about the flow of energy from solar angles shows that he is not acquainted with the real source of creative energy indicated by the Name.
Here ends Mr. Oxley’s reply to my criticisms. He then proceeds to explain the doctrines of Hierosophy. I shall examine the author’s theories in the continuation of this article which will appear in the Theosophist.
In continuation of my article on the “Philosophy of Spirit,” published in the October issue of the Theosophist, I shall now examine Mr. Oxley’s notions of Theosophy and Hierosophy. It is not easy to understand his definitions of the two systems of philosophy thus indicated; and no definite issue or issues can be raised regarding the important distinction between the said systems from the meaning conveyed by these definitions. But he has explained some of the important doctrines of theosophy and hierosophy from his own stand-point for the purpose of comparing the two systems. Though he believes that “it will be admitted” that he has “not either under-or over-stated the case for theosophy,” I respectfully beg to submit that he has entirely misunderstood the main doctrines inculcated by it.
The learned writer says that theosophists teach that in the instance of wicked and depraved people, the spirit proper at death takes its final departure. This statement is certainly correct; but the conclusions drawn from it by Mr. Oxley are clearly illogical. If this doctrine is correct, says the author, then it will necessarily follow that to all intents and purposes to plain John Brown “life eternal is out of the question.” He then expresses his sympathy for pariahs, vagabonds, and other unfortunate poor people and condemns the doctrine for its partiality to “Rajahs, Maharajahs, plutocrats, aristocrats,” &c., &c., and rich Brahmins, and its want of charity towards others who constitute the greater portion of humanity. Here it is quite clear that the fallacy in Mr. Oxley’s argument consists in the change of adjectives. From the main doctrine in question it follows that “life eternal is out of the question” not to plain John Brown, but to wicked and depraved John Brown; and I can hardly see any reason why the author should so bitterly lament the loss of immortality so far as utterly wicked and depraved natures are concerned. I do not think that my learned opponent will be prepared to maintain that all pariahs, vagabonds, and other poor people, are all depraved and wicked, or that all Rajahs, Maharajahs, and other rich people are always virtuous. It is my humble opinion that utterly wicked and depraved people are in the minority; and loss of immortality to such persons cannot seriously be made the ground of an objection to the Theosophical doctrine under consideration. Properly speaking theosophy teaches not “conditional immortality,” as the author is pleased to state, but conditional mortality if I may be permitted to use such a phrase. According to theosophy, therefore, annihilation is not the common lot of mankind unless the learned author is in a position to state that the greater portion of the human race are wicked and depraved—beyond redemption. Theosophists have never stated, so far as I know, that adepts alone attain immortality. The condition ultimately reached by ordinary men after going through all the planetary rounds during countless number of ages in the gradually ascending order of material objective existence is reached by the adept within a comparatively shorter time, than required by the uninitiated. It is thus but a question of time; but every human being, unless he is utterly “wicked and depraved,” may hope to reach that state sooner or later according to his merits and Karma.
The corresponding hierosophic doctrine is not fully and definitely stated in the article nnder review, but the views of the author regarding the same may be gathered from his treatise on the philosophy of spirit. They may be summarized as follows:—
(1.) The four discreeted degrees in the human being “called animal, human, angelic, and deific,” show that every human being (however wicked and depraved) will ultimately reach immortality.13
(2.) There is no re-birth in the material human form, there is no retrogression at any time.
And there is this interesting passage in the author’s book:—
(3.) “The thread of life is broken up at the point where it appeared to be broken off by physical dissolution, and every one will come into the use and enjoyment of his or her own specific life, i. e., whatever each one has loved the most, he or she will enter into the spirit of it, not using earthly material or organisms for the same but spiritual substances, as distinct from matter as earth is from at atmospheric air; thus the artist, musician, mechanic inventor, scientist, and philosopher will still continue their occupations but in a spiritual manner.”
Now as regards the first proposition, it is not easy to understand how the existence of four discreeted degrees in human being or any number of such degrees necessarily leads to unconditional immortality. Such a result may follow if deific or angelic existence were quite consistent with, or could reconcile itself to, a depraved and wicked personality or individuality or the recollection of such personality. The mere existence of an immortality principle in man can never secure to him unconditional immortality unless he is in a position to purify his nature, either through the regular course of initiations or successive re-births in the ordinary course of nature according to the great cyclic Law, and transfer the purest essence of his individuality and the recollection of his past births and lives to his immortal Atma and the developed and purified spiritual Ego in which they inhere.
The second proposition above stated is opposed to all the ancient traditions of Eastern nations and the teachings of all the Eastern adepts, and I do not think that any passage in support of it can be found in Bhagavatgita.
The last statement above-quoted is certainly a very extraordinary proposition; and I shall be very happy it the author can point out any authority for it in the Bhagavatgita or in the other portions of Mahabharata.
Whatever may be the nature of the purely ideal or subjective existence experienced in Devachan after death and before the next birth, it cannot be held that the artist or musician carries on his “occupations” except by way of ideation.
I shall now leave it to the readers to say whether this assertion is really “based upon foundations more substantial than mere fancies and speculations.”
The second doctrine of Theosophy which Mr. Oxley notices in his article is that “occult powers and esoteric wisdom can only be attained by the severest asceticism and total abstention from the use of the sensual degrees in nature in their physical aspect.” If this doctrine is universally admitted, he says, physical embodiment would be impossible. I can safely assure him that this contingency is not likely to happen under the present conditions of our planet; and I am unable to understand how physical embodiment is desirable in itself. It yet remains to be proved that “occult powers and esoteric wisdom” can be acquired from the teachings of Hierosophy without the restrictions imposed by esoteric Theosophy.
The learned author further adds that under the conditions above-mentioned “the powers of adept life cannot be perpetuated by hereditary descent.” He evidently thinks that this fact discloses a very great defect in the theosophical system. But why should adept life be perpetuated necessarily by hereditary descent? Occult wisdom has been transmitted from Guru to disciple without any serious break of continuity during thousands of years in the East. And there is no danger of adept life ceasing to exist from want of transmission by hereditary descent. Nor is it possible to bring into existence a race of hierophants in whom occult knowledge will be acquired by birth without the necessity of special study or initiation. The experiment was tried, I believe, long ago in the East, but without success.
The author will be in a position to understand the nature of some of the difficulties which are to be encountered in making any such experiment from a perusal of Bulwer Lytton’s “Zanoni.”
The world has yet to see whether “under the sway of Solar Angels,” the adepts trained under the system of Hierosophy, can retain their powers and knowledge after having renounced “asceticism, abstinence and celibacy,” and transmit the so-called “adept life” to their descendants.
Speaking of the attitude of Theosophists towards spiritualism, Mr. Oxley observes that they hold that the so-called spiritualistic phenomena are due to the “intervention of enlightened living men, but not disembodied spirits.” I shall be very glad if the learned author can point out any foundation for this statement in the utterances of Theosophists. Strangely enough, he says further on that, in the opinion of the Theosophists, such phenomena are due to “wandering shells and decaying reliquiæ of what was once a human being.” This is no doubt true in the case of some of the phemomena at least: and the author should not presume to say that any one of these phenomena has its real origin in the action of disembodied living conscious beings,” unless he is fully prepared to state exactly who these mysterious beings are, and demonstrate, by something weightier than mere assumption, the fact of their real existence. He is entirely mistaken in supposing that the modus operandi in the case of the socalled spiritualistic phenomena are precisely the same as in the phenomena produced by Eastern adepts. However I do not mean to say anything further about this subject here as it has been already fully discussed in the columns of the Theosophist.
Mr. Oxley objects to my statement that “the human spirit (7th principle) has a dignity, power, and sacredness which cannot be claimed by any other God, Deva or Angel of the Hindu Pantheon.” Although I had taken care to inform my readers that by human spirit, I meant the immortal and unborn 7th principle or Atma in man, he construed the expression to mean the spirit or life principle in the human degree of his peculiar classification. It would have been better if he had taken the pains to understand my language before venturing to assert that my statement was against the doctrine taught by Krishna. So far as I can see, his notions about the seven principles in man so often mentioned in this journal are utterly confused and incorrect. As the English language is deficient in the technical phraseology required for expressing the truths of Aryan philosophy and science, I am obliged to use such English words as can be got to convey my meaning more or less approximately. But to preclude the possibility of any misunderstanding on the part of my readers I clearly intimated in the passage in question that by human spirit I meant the 7th principle in man. This principle, I beg to submit, is not derived from any angel (not even from Busiris) in the universe. It is unborn and eternal according to the Buddhist and Hindu philosophers. The knowledge of its own Sicarupam is the highest knowledge of self: and according to the doctrines of the Adwaita school of Aryan philosophy, to which I have the honor to belong, there is in reality no difference between this principle and Paramatma.
Mr. Oxley believes that the claims of the Spiritualists have virtually been admitted by the Theosophists, inasmuch as in the opinion of the latter “communications may be established with other spirits.” But the learned author fails to perceive that by the word “Spirit” Theosophists mean something quite different from the so-called “disembodied spirits” of the Spiritualists. The belief in question does not therefore amount to any concession to the claim of the Spiritualists as is supposed by him.
The esteemed author then proceeds to explain some of the important doctrines of Hierosophy, which, he takes particular care to add, are not to be considered “by his readers as mere” fancies and speculations. Hierosophists seem to believe that the influx of life flows from the “Infinite monad” mentioned by me in the first part of my review on “The Philosophy of Spirit.” Mr. Oxley’s conceptian of this monad is not, then, quite consistent with the views of Eastern occultists. Properly speaking, this monad or centre is not the source of cosmic energy in any one of its form, but it is the embodiment of the great Law which nature follows in her operations.
The learned author then asserts that “Esoteric Theosophists” and their great leaders have admitted that there is an “influx” of energy from the planetary spirits to the monad above-mentioned. Here, again, I am sorry to say, Mr. Oxley is misrepresenting the views of Theosophists according to his own imagination. And the statement itself is thoroughly unphilosophical. This transmission of energy from the planetary spirits to the Great Law that governs the Universe, is inconcievable to every ordinary mortal. It does not appear that the monad referred to by Mr. Oxley is a different entity from the monad alluded to in my article. He himself says that it is not so. Then the only conclusion to which I can come under the circumstances of the case is, that Mr. Oxley has put forward these strange and groundless statements about the action and reaction of cosmic energy between the Infinite Monad and the planetary spirits without having any clear and definite ideas about these entities. The truth of this statement will be confirmed on examining his views about the nature of the work done by the planetary spirits. These spirits, it would appear, “detain myriads of elementals in the spheres of interior Nature, i. e., the next plane of life immediately contiguous to this; and compel them in the most tyrannical manner to obey their commands and produce effects which are calculated to perpetuate their own peculiar qualities in the plane of material existence. I confess I do not know anything about the beings who exercise such despotical functions. They are not the planetary spirits of the Theosophists; and if they have any existence outside the region of Mr. Oxley’s fancy, I beg to request he will be kind enough to enlighten the public about the nature of these mysterious and dreadful tyrants. I can assure him that the orthodox Brahmins, whom he is so very unwilling to patronize, have nothing to do with such planetary spirits; nor do they know anything of them. I am really delighted to hear from my learned opponent that the Solar Angels are fully prepared to fight for the liberty of our unfortunate elementals and put an end to this abominable tyranny within a very short time; and if, among other beautiful and useful occupations, arts, and sciences that exist in the world inhabited by these angels, (since we are told that, the artist, musician, mechanic, minister, scientist, philosopher will “still continue their occupations” in this world of spirit)—a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will have its place along with other associations, than the Solar Angels would surely deserve to be nominated as its most honorary and honoured members.
The learned author concludes his interesting exposition of the principles of Hierosophy by proclaiming to the world at large that “under the sway of Solar Angels, neither asceticism, abstinence, nor celibacy, as such, will find place, but the perfection of life’s enjoyment will be found in the well regulated use of all the faculties to which humanity is heir.”
Whether this novel system of philosophy and ethics is really “rhapsodical and utopian,” or not, the public—especially the Indian—will have to decide. But I can affirm without any fear of contradiction that this system has not the slightest foundation in anything that is contained in the Bhagavatgita or in any other religious or philosophical book of the Hindus. It is simply the result of the author’s independent speculations and must rest upon its own strength. In my humble opinion it is clearly erroneous and unphilosophical.
I shall now take leave of Mr. Oxley and request him to kindly excuse me for the adverse criticism contained in my articles. I shall be very glad if my strictures can induce him to re-examine carefully the philosophy of spirit contained in Bhagavatgita and scrutinize the reasons for the conclusions arrived at by him in his book on the fundamental questions of occult philosophy and ethics. With his intuition and intelligence, he will no doubt be in a position to open out for himself a way to understand the mysteries of the Eastern arcane sciences,—if he only avoids the temptation to leap to general conclusions from insufficient data, and draw inferences prematurely before the whole range of our ancient science and philosophy is carefully explored by him.
I am very happy to hear that my learned antagonist has joined our Theosophical association, and I hope he will henceforth work in fraternal concord with his Eastern brothers for recovering the grand truths taught by the ancient Hierophants and promoting the cause of Universal Brotherhood.
1. The period of Regeneration, or the active life of the universe between two Pralayas or universal Destructions: the former being called the “day” and the latter the “night” of Brahmâ.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
2. Yaksha, the earth-spirit or Gnome; the Gandharva, akin to the Christian cherub or singing seraph. There are, says Atharva Veda (XI., 5, 2,) 6,333 Gandharvas in their Loka.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
3. Theosophist, October, 1881.
5. An initiate of the preliminary degrees.
6. The “I am, That I am” of the Biblical Jehovah, the “I am who I am,” or “Mazdao” of Ahuramazda in the Zend Avesta, etc. All these are names for the 7th principle in man.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
7. Hence, the great veneration of the Buddhists for Bhagavadgita.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
8. “Adi-Buddha” creates the four celestial Buddhas or “Dhyans,” in our esoteric philosophy. It is but the gross misinterpretation of European Orientalists, entirely ignorant of the Arhat-doctrine, that gave birth to the absurd idea that the Lord Gautama Buddha is alleged to have created the five Dhyan or celestial Buddhas. Adi-Buddha, or, in one sense, Nirvana, “creating” the four Buddhas or degrees of perfection—is pregnant with meaning to him who has studied even the fundamental principles of the Brahmanical and Arhat esoteric doctrines.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
9. In view of this, Gautama Buddha, after his initiation into the mysteries by the old Brahman, His Guru, renouncing gods, Devas and personal deity, feeling that the path to salvation lay not in vainglorious dogmas, and the recognition of a deity outside of oneself, renounced every form of theism and—became Buddha, the one enlightened. “Aham eva param Brahma,” I am myself a Brahma (a god), is the motto of every Initiate.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
10. In no case can the term be translated as “Recorder,” we should say. Rather a “Revealer,” who explains the mysteries to the neophyte or candidate for initiation by expanding and amplifying to him the meaning.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
11. To one, who has even a vague notion how the mysteries of old were conducted, and of the present Arhat system in Tibet vaguely termed the “Reincarnation System” of the Dalai-Lamas, the meaning will be clear. The chief Hierophant who imparted the “word” to his successor had to die bodily. Even Moses dies after having laid his hands upon Joshua, who thus became “full of the spirit of wisdom of Moses,” and—it is the “Lord” who is said to have buried him. The reason why “no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day,” is plain to an Occultist who knows anything of the supreme initiation. There cannot be two “Highest” Gurus or Hierophants on earth, living at the same time.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
12. “Grand Souls” in literal translation; a name given to the great adepts.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
13. Had Mr. Oxley said instead—“every human monad” which changes its personalities and is in every new birth a new “human being,” then would his statement have been unanswerable.