Searchable Theosophical Texts
A Modern Panarion
A Collection of Fugitive Fragments
From the Pen of
H P Blavatsky
First Published 1895
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Eddy Manifestations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Dr. Beard Criticized . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Lack of Unity among Spiritualists . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
The Holmes Controversy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
The Holmes Controversy (continued) . . . . . . . . . . . .28
Notice to Mediums. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
A Rebuke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
Occultism or Magic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Spiritualistic Tricksters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
The Search after Occultism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
The Science of Magic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
An Unsolved Mystery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Spiritualism and Spiritualists. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72
What is Occultism? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78
A Warning to Mediums. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Huxley and Shade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88
Can the Double Murder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Fakirs and Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103
A Protest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
The Fate of the Occultist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Russian Atrocities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Washing the Disciples’ Feet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Trickery or Magic ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .121
The Jews in
H. P. Blavatsky’s Masonic Patent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128
Views of the Theosophists . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
A Society without a Dogma. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Elementaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Kabalistic Views of ‘‘Spirits” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
The Knout. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist. Mr. Coleman’s
First Appearance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Indian Metaphysics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
“H. M.’’ and the Todas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
The Todas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
The Ahkoond of Swat. The Founder of Many Mystical Societies . . . . . 179
The Ærya Samàj . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .184
Parting Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .188
‘Not a Christian”! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
The Retort Courteous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
‘‘Scrutator Again’’ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
Magic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
A Republican Citizen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
The Theosophists and their Opponents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
Missionaries Militant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
The History of a “Book” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
A French View of Women’s Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Occult Phenomena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Hindu Widow-Marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
“Oppressed Widowhood” in
‘‘Esoteric Buddhism’’ and its Critic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .249
Mr. A. Lillie’s Delusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
What is Theosophy? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
What are the Theosophists? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Antiquity of the Vedas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism. . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
Cross and Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
Which First—the Egg or the Bird?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333
The Pralaya of Modern Science. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 335
The Yoga Philosophy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338
A Year of Theosophy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .348
“A Word with Our Friends”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .353
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidyâ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .357
The Missing Link . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 361
Hypnotism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
The Leaven of Theosophy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367
Count St. Germain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371
Lamas and Druses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .375
A Reply to Our Critics. Our Final Answer to Several Objections. . . . . . . . 387
‘‘The Claims of Occultism’’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 392
A Note on Eliphas Levi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .398
The Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .401
The Grand Inquisitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410
The Bright Spot of Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 432
“Is it Idle to Argue Further?”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 434
Fragments of Occult Truth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 438
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 475
The Thoughts of the Dead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 481
Dreamland and Somnambulism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 482
Are Dreams but Idle Visions? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 485
Spiritualism and Occult Truth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .490
THE title A Modern Panarion has been taken from the controversial Panarion of the Church Father Epiphanius in which he attacked the various sects and heresies of the first four centuries of the Christian era. The Panarion was so called as being a “basket” of scraps and fragments. We are told that this Panarion was “a kind of medicine chest, in which he had collected means of healing against the poisonous bite of the heretical serpent.”
A Modern Panarion is of a like
nature with the intent of the Christian Father; only in the nineteenth century,
heresy has in many instances become orthodoxy, and orthodoxy heresy, and the
Panarion of H. P. Blavatsky is intended as a means of healing against the
errors of ecclesiasticism, dogma and bigotry, and the blind negation of
materialism and pseudo-science.
THE H. P. B. MEMORIAL FUND
In 1891 the following resolutions were passed by all the Sections of the Theosophical Society :—
1. That the most fitting and permanent memorial of H. P. B.’s life and work would be the production and publication of such papers, books and translations as will tend to promote that intimate union between the life and thought of the Orient and the Occident to the bringing about of which her life was devoted.
2. That an “H. P. B. Memorial Fund” be instituted for this purpose, to which all those who feel gratitude or admiration towards H. P. B. for her work, both within and without the T. S., are earnestly invited to contribute as their means may allow.
3. That the President of the Theosophical Society, together with the General Secretaries of all Sections of the same, constitute the Committee of Management of this Fund.
4. That the Presidents of Lodges in each Section be a Committee to collect and forward to the General Secretary of their respective Sections the necessary funds for this purpose.
THE EDDY MANIFESTATIONS
[ The following letter was addressed to a contemporary journal by Mine. Blavatsky, and was handed to us for publication in The Daily Graphic, as we have been taking the lead in the discussion of the curious subject of Spiritualism.—EDIT0R “DAILY GRAPHIC.”]
AWARE in the past of your love
of justice and fair play, I most earnestly solicit the use of your columns to
reply to an article by Dr. G. M. Beard in relation to the Eddy family in
I do not know Dr. Beard personally, nor do I care to know how far he is entitled to wear the laurels of his profession as an M.D., but what I do know is that he may never hope to equal, much less to surpass, such men and savants as Crookes, Wallace, or even Flammarion, the French astronomer, all of whom have devoted years to the investigation of Spiritualism. All of them came to the conclusion that, supposing even the well-known phenomenon of the materialization of spirits did not prove the identity of the persons whom they purported to represent, it was not, at all events, the work of mortal hands; still less was it a fraud.
Now to the Eddys. Dozens of visitors have remained there for weeks and even for months; not a single séance has taken place with out some of them realizing the personal presence of a friend, a relative, a mother, father, or dear departed child. But lo! here comes Dr. Beard, stops less than two days, applies his powerful electrical battery, under which the spirit does not even wink or flinch, closely examines the
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cabinet (in which he finds
nothing), and then turns his back and declares most emphatically “that he
wishes it to be perfectly under-stood that if his scientific name ever appears
in connection with the Eddy family, it must be only to expose them as the
greatest frauds who cannot do even good trickery.” Consummatum est!
Spiritualism is defunct. Requiescat in Pace! Dr. Beard has killed it with one
word. Scatter ashes over your venerable but silly heads, 0 Crookes, Wallace and
Varley! Henceforth you must be considered as demented, psychologized lunatics,
and so must it be with the many thousands of Spiritualists who have seen and
talked with their friends and relatives departed, recognizing them at Moravia,
at the Eddys’, and elsewhere throughout the length and breadth of this continent.
But is there no escape from the horns of this dilemma? Yea verily, Dr. Beard
writes thus: “When your correspondent returns to
To this I reply, backed as I am by the testimony of hundreds of reliable witnesses, that all the wardrobe of Niblo’s Theatre would not suffice to attire the numbers of “spirits” that emerge night after night from an empty little closet.
Let Dr. Beard rise and explain the following fact if he can: I remained fourteen days at the Eddys’. In that short period of time I saw and recognized fully, out of 119 apparitions, seven “spirits.” I admit that I was the only one to recognize them, the rest of the audience not having been with me in my numerous travels throughout the East, but their various dresses and costumes were plainly seen and closely examined by all.
The first was a Georgian boy, dressed in the historical Caucasian attire, the picture of whom will shortly appear in The Daily Graphic. I recognized and questioned him in Georgian upon circumstances known only to myself. I was understood and answered. Requested by me in
3 ———————————————————THE EDDY MANIFESTATIONS.
his mother tongue (upon the whispered suggestion of Colonel Olcott) to play the Lezguinka, a Circassian dance, he did so immediately upon the guitar.
Second—A little old man appears. He is dressed as Persian merchants generally are. His dress is perfect as a national costume. Everything is in its right place, down to the “babouches” that are off his feet, he stepping out in his stockings. He speaks his name in a loud whisper. It is “Hassan Aga,” an old man whom I and my family have known for twenty years at Tiflis. He says, half in Georgian and half in Persian, that he has got a “big secret to tell me,” and comes at three different times, vainly seeking to finish his sentence.
Third—A man of gigantic
stature comes forth, dressed in the picturesque attire of the warriors of
Fourth—A Circassian comes out.
I can imagine myself at
Fifth—Au old woman appears with Russian headgear. She comes out and addresses me in Russian, calling me by an endearing term that she used in my childhood. I recognize an old servant of my family, a nurse of my sister.
Sixth—A large powerful negro
next appears on the platform. His head is ornamented with a wonderful coiffure
something like horns wound about with white and gold. His looks are familiar to
me, but I do not at first recollect where I have seen him. Very soon he begins
to make some vivacious gestures, and his mimicry helps me to recognize him at a
glance. It is a conjurer from
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A MODERN PANARION.
Seventh and last—A large,
grey-haired gentleman comes out attired in the conventional suit of black. The
Russian decoration of
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
DR. BEARD CRITICIZED
As Dr. Beard has scorned (in his scientific grandeur) to answer the challenge sent to him by your humble servant in the number of The Daily Graphic for the 13th* of October last, and has preferred instructing the public in general rather than one “credulous fool” in particular, let her come from Circassia or Africa, I fully trust you will permit me to use your paper once more in order that by pointing out some very spicy peculiarities of this amazingly scientific exposure, the public might better judge at whose door the aforesaid elegant epithet could be most appropriately laid.
For a week or so an immense excitement, a thrill of sacrilegious fear, if I may be allowed this expression, ran through the psychologized frames of the Spiritualists of New York. It was rumoured in ominous whispers that G. Beard, M.D., the Tyndall of America, was coming out with his peremptory exposure of the Eddys’ ghosts and—the Spiritualists trembled for their gods!
The dreaded day has come, the
number of The Daily Graphic for November the 9th is before us. We have read it
carefully, with respectful awe, for true science has always been an authority
for us (weak- minded fool though we may be), and so we handled the dangerous
exposure with a feeling somewhat akin to that of a fanatic Christian opening a
volume of Büchner. We perused it to the last: we turned the page over and over
again, vainly straining our eyes and brains to detect therein one word of
scientific proof or a solitary atom of over whelming evidence that would thrust
into our Spiritualistic bosom the venomous fangs of doubt. But no, not a
particle of reasonable explanation or of scientific evidence that what we have
all seen, heard and felt at the Eddys’ was but delusion. In our feminine
modesty, still allowing the said article the benefit of the doubt, we
* This appears to be a misprint, unless the challenge had been made on the 13th, and was Only repeated in the letter of Oct. 2 —Eds.
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own senses, and so devoted a whole day to the picking up of sundry bits of criticism from judges that we believe more competent than ourselves, and at last came collectively to the following conclusion:
The Daily Graphic has allowed Dr. Beard in its magnanimity nine columns of its precious pages to prove—what? Why, the following:
First, that he, Dr. Beard, according to his own modest assertions (see columns second and third) is more entitled to occupy the position of an actor intrusted with characters of simpletons (Molière’s “Tartuffe” might fit him perhaps as naturally) than to undertake the difficult part of a Prof. Faraday vis-à-vis the Chittenden D. D. Home.
Secondly, that although the learned doctor was “overwhelmed already with professional labours” (a nice and cheap reclame, by the way) and scientific researches, he gave the latter another direction, and so went to the Eddys. That, arrived there, he played with Horatio Eddy, for the glory of science and the benefit of humanity, the difficult character of a “dishevelled simpleton,” and was rewarded in his scientific research by finding on the said suspicious premises a professor of bumps “a poor harmless fool”! Galileo, of famous memory, when he detected the sun in its involuntary imposture chuckled certainly less over his triumph than does Dr. Beard over the discovery of this “poor fool” No. 1. Here we modestly suggest that perhaps the learned doctor had no need to go as far as Chittenden for that.
Further, the doctor, forgetting entirely the wise motto, Non bis in idem, discovers and asserts throughout the length of his article that all the past, present and future generations of pilgrims to the “Eddy homestead” are collectively fools, and that every solitary member of this numerous body of Spiritualistic pilgrims is likewise “a weak- minded, credulous fool”! Query—the proof of it, if you please, Dr. Beard? Answer—Dr. Beard has said so, and Echo responds, Fool!
Truly miraculous are thy doings, indeed, 0 Mother Nature! The cow is black and its milk is white! But then, you see, those ill-bred, ignorant Eddy brothers have allowed their credulous guests to eat up all the “trout” caught by Dr. Beard and paid for by him seventy-five cents per pound as a penalty; and that fact alone might have turned him a little—how shall we say—sour, prejudiced? No, erroneous in his statement, will answer better.
For erroneous he is, not to say more. When, assuming an air of scientific authority, he affirms that the séance-room is generally so dark
7 ————————————————————DR. BEARD CRITICIZED.
that one cannot recognize at three feet distance his own mother, he says what is not true. When he tells us further that he saw through a hole in one of the shawls and the space between them all the manœuvres of Horatio’s arm, he risks finding himself contradicted by thousands who, weak-minded though they may be, are not blind for all that, neither are they confederates of the Eddys, but far more reliable wit nesses in their simple-minded honesty than Dr. Beard is in his would-be scientific and unscrupulous testimony. The same when he says that no one is allowed to approach the spirits nearer than twelve feet dis tance, still less to touch them, except the “two simple-minded ignorant idiots” who generally sit on both ends of the platform. To my knowledge many other persons have sat there besides those two.
Dr. Beard ought to know this
better than anyone else, as he has sat there himself. A sad story is in
circulation, by the way, at the Eddys’. The records of the spiritual séances at
Chittenden have devoted a whole page to the account of a terrible danger that
threatened for a moment to deprive
It becomes evident that the said neglected logic was keeping company at the time with old mother Truth at the bottom of her well, neither of them being wanted by Dr. Beard. I myself have sat upon the upper step of the platform for fourteen nights by the side of Mrs. Cleveland. I got up every time “Honto” approached me to within an inch of my face in order to see her the better. I have touched her
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A MODERN PANARION.
hands repeatedly as other spirits have been touched, and even embraced her nearly every night.
Therefore, when I read Dr. Beard’s preposterous and cool assertion that “a very low order of genius is required to obtain command of a few words in different languages and so to mutter them to credulous Spiritualists,” I feel every right in the world to say in my turn that such a scientific exposure as Dr. Beard has come out with in his article does not require any genius at all; per contra, it requires a ridiculous faith on the part of the writer in his own infallibility, as well as a positive confidence in finding in all his readers what he elegantly terms “weak- minded fools.” Every word of his statement, when it is not a most evident untruth, is a wicked and malicious insinuation built on the very equivocal authority of one witness against the evidence of thousands.
Says Dr Beard, “I have proved that the life of the Eddys is one long lie, the details need no further discussion.” The writer of the above lines forgets, by saying these imprudent words, that some people might think that “like attracts like.” He went to Chittenden with deceit in his heart and falsehood on his lips, and so judging his neighbour by the character he assumed himself, he takes everyone for a knave when he does not put him down as a fool. Declaring so positively that he has proved it, the doctor forgets one trifling circumstance, namely, that he has proved nothing whatever.
Where are his boasted proofs? When we contradict him by saying that the séance-room is far from being as dark as he pretends it to be, and that the spirits themselves have repeatedly called out through Mrs. Eaton’s voice for more light, we only say what we can prove before any jury. When Dr. Beard says that all the spirits are personated by W. Eddy, he advances what would prove to be a greater conundrum for solution than the apparition of spirits themselves. There he falls right away into the domain of Cagliostro: for if Dr. B. has seen five or six spirits in all, other persons, myself included, have seen one hundred and nineteen in less than a fortnight, nearly all of whom were differently dressed. Besides, the accusation of Dr. Beard implies the idea to the public that the artist of The Daily Graphic who made the sketches of so many of those apparitions, and who is not a “credulous Spiritualist” himself, is likewise a humbug, propagating to the world what he did not see, and so spreading at large the most preposterous and outrageous lie.
When the learned doctor will have explained to us how any man in
9 ————————————————————DR. BEARD CRITICIZED.
his shirt-sleeves and a pair of tight pants for an attire can possibly conceal on his person (the cabinet having been previously found empty) a whole bundle of clothes, women’s robes, hats, caps, head-gears, and entire stilts of evening dress, white waistcoats and neckties included, then he will be entitled to more belief than he is at present. That would be a proof indeed, for, with all due respect to his scientific mind, Dr. Beard is not the first Œdipus that has thought of catching the Sphinx by its tail and so unriddling the mystery. We have known more than one “weak-minded fool,” ourselves included, that has lahoured under a similar delusion for more than one night, but all of us were finally obliged to repeat the words of the great Galileo, “E pur, se muove!” and give it up.
But Dr. Beard does not give it
up. Preferring to keep a scornful silence as to any reasonable explanation, he
hides the secret of the above mystery in the depths of his profoundly
scientific mind. “His life is given to scientific researches,” you see; “his
physiological knowledge and neuro-physiological learning are immense,” for he
says so, and skilled as he is in combating fraud by still greater fraud (see
column the eighth), spiritualistic humbug has no more mysteries for him. In
five minutes the scientist had done more towards science than all the rest of
the scientists put together have done in years of labour, and “would feel
ashamed if he had not.” (See same column.) In the overpowering modesty of his
learning he takes no credit to himself for having done so, though he has
discovered the astounding, novel fact of the “cold benumbing sensation.” How
Wallace, Crookes and Varley, the naturalist-anthropologist, the chemist and
electrician, will blush with envy in their old country!
A far wiser mind than Dr. Beard (will he dispute the fact?) has suggested, centuries ago, that the tree was to be judged according to its fruits. Spiritualism, notwithstanding the desperate efforts of more scientific men than himself, has stood its ground without flinching for more than a quarter of a century. Where are the fruits of the tree of science that blossoms on the soil of Dr. Beard’s mind? If we are to
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A MODERN PANARION.
judge of them by his article, then verily the said tree needs more than usual care. As for the fruits, it would appear that they are as yet in the realms of “sweet delusive hope.” But then, perhaps the doctor was afraid to crush his readers under the weight’ of his learning (true merit has been in all times modest and unassuming), and that accounts for the learned doctor withholding from us any scientific proof of the fraud that he pretends to be exposing, except the above-mentioned fact of the “cold benumbing sensation.” But how Horatio can keep his hand and arm ice cold under a warm shawl for half an hour at a time, in summer as well as in any other season, and that without having some ice concealed about his person, or how he can prevent it from thawing—all the above is a mystery that Dr. Beard doesn’t reveal for the sent. Maybe he will tell us something of it in his book that he advertises in the article. Well, we only hope that the former will be more satisfactory than the latter.
I will add but a few words before ending my debate with Dr. Beard for ever. All that he says about the lamp concealed in a bandbox, the strong confederates, etc., exists only in his imagination, for the mere sake of argument, we suppose. “False in one, false in all,” says Dr. Beard in column the sixth. These words are a just verdict on his own article.
Here I will briefly state what I reluctantly withheld up to the present moment from the knowledge of all such as Dr. Beard. The fact was too sacred in my eyes to allow it to be trifled with in newspaper gossiping. But now, in order to settle the question at once, I deem it my duty as a Spiritualist to surrender it to the opinion of the public.
On the last night that I spent
with the Eddys I was presented by Georgo Dix and Mayflower with a silver
decoration, the upper part of a medal with which I was but too familiar. I
quote the precise words of the spirit: “We bring you this decoration, for we
think you will value it more highly than anything else. You will recognize it,
for it is the badge of honour that was presented to your father by his
Government for the campaign of 1828, between
These words were spoken in the presence of forty witnesses. Col. Olcott will describe the fact and give the design of the decoration.
I have the said decoration in my possession. I know it as having
11 ————————————————————DR. BEARD CRITICIZED.
belonged to my father. More, I have identified it by a portion that, through carelessness, I broke myself many years ago, and, to settle all doubt in relation to it, I possess the photograph of my father (a picture that has never been at the Eddys’, and could never possibly have been seen by any of them) on which this medal is plainly visible.
Query for Dr. Beard: How could the Eddys know that my father was buried at Stavropol; that he was ever presented with such a medal, or that he had been present and in actual service at the time of the war of 1828?
Willing as we are to give every one his due, we feel compelled to say on behalf of Dr. Beard that he has not boasted of more than he can do, in advising the Eddys' to take a few private lessons of him in the trickery of mediumship. The learned doctor must be expert in such trickeries. We are likewise ready to admit that in saying as he did that “his article would only confirm the more the Spiritualists in their belief” (and he ought to have added, “convince no one else”), Dr. Beard has proved himself to be a greater “prophetic medium” than any other in this country!
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
23, Irving Place, New York City,
November 10th, 1874
THE LACK OF UNITY AMONG
[ From a letter received from Mme. Blavatsky last week we make the following extracts, want of space alone preventing us from publishing it entire. It was written in her usual lively and entertaining style, and her opinions expressed are worthy of careful study, many of them being fully consistent with the true state of affairs.—EDIT0R “SPIRITUAL SCIENTIST” (Dec. 3rd, 1874).]
As it is, I have only done my duty; first, towards Spiritualism, that I have defended as well as I could from the attacks of imposture under its too transparent mask of science; then towards two helpless slandered “mediums”—the last word becoming fast in our days the synonym of “martyr”; secondly, I have contributed my mite towards opening the eyes of an indifferent public to the real, intrinsic value of such a man as Dr. Beard. But I am obliged to confess that I really do not believe that I have done any good—at least, any practical good—to Spiritualism itself; and I never hope to perform such a feat as that were I to keep on for an eternity bombarding all the newspapers of America with my challenges and refutations of the lies told by the so-called “scientific exposers.”
It is with a profound sadness in my heart that I acknowledge this fact, for I begin to think there is no help for it. For over fifteen years have I fought my battle for the blessed truth; I have travelled and preached it—though I never was born for a lecturer—from the snow- covered tops of the Caucasian Mountains, as well as from the sandy valleys of the Nile. I have proved the truth of it practically and by persuasion. For the sake of Spiritualism I have left my home, an easy life amongst a civilized society, and have become a wanderer upon the face of this earth. I had already seen my hopes realized, beyond the most sanguine expectations, when, in my restless desire for more knowledge, my unlucky star brought me to America.
Knowing this country to be the cradle of modern Spiritualism, I
13 ———————————————THE LACK OF UNITY AMONG SPIRITUALISTS.
came over here from France with feelings not unlike those of a Mohammedan approaching the birthplace of his prophet. I had for gotten that “no prophet is without honour save in his own country.” In the less than fourteen months that I am here, sad experience has but too well sustain the never-dying evidence of this immortal truth.
What little I have done towards defending phenomena I am ever ready to do over and over again, as long as I have a breath of life left in me. But what good will it ever do? We have a popular and wise Russian saying that “one Cossack on the battle-field is no warrior.” Such is my case, together with that of many other poor, struggling wretches, everyone of whom, like a solitary scout, sent far ahead in advance of the army, has to fight his own battle, and defend the post entrusted to him, unaided by anyone but himself. There is no union between Spiritualists, no entante cordiale, as the French say. Judge Edmonds said, some years ago, that they numbered in their ranks over eleven millions in this country alone; and I believe it to be true; in which case, it is but to be the more deplored. When one man—as Dr. Beard did and will do yet—dares to defy such a formidable body as that, there must be some cause for it. His insults, gross and vulgar as they are, are too fearless to leave one particle of doubt that if he does it, it is but because he knows too well that he can do so with impunity and perfect ease. Year after year the American Spiritualists have allowed themselves to be ridiculed and slighted by everyone who had a mind to do so, protesting so feebly as to give their opponents the most erroneous idea of their weakness. Am I wrong, then, in saying that our Spiritualists are more to be blamed than Dr. Beard himself in all this ridiculous polemic? Moral cowardice breeds more contempt than the “familiarity” of the old motto. How can we expect such a scientific sleight-of-hand as he is to respect a body that does not respect itself?
My humble opinion is, that the majority of our Spiritualists are too much afraid for their “respectability” when called upon to confess and acknowledge their “belief.” Will you agree with me, if I say that the dread of the social Areopagus is so deeply rooted in the hearts of your American people, that to endeavour to tear it out of them would be undertaking to shake the whole system of society from top to bottom? “Respectability” and “fashion” have brought more than one utter materialist to select (for mere show) the Episcopalian and other wealthy churches. But Spiritualism is not “fashionable,” as yet, and that’s
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where the trouble is. Notwithstanding its immense and daily increasing numbers, it has not won, till now, the right of citizenship. Its chief leaders are not clothed in gold and purple and fine raiment; for, not unlike Christianity in the beginning of its era, Spiritualism numbers in its ranks more of the humble and afflicted ones, than of the powerful and wealthy of this earth. Spiritualists belonging to the latter class will seldom dare to step out in the arena of publicity and boldly proclaim their belief in the face of the whole world; that hybrid monster, called “public opinion,” is too much for them; and what does a Dr. Beard care for the opinion of the poor and the humble ones? He knows but too well that his insulting terms of “fools” and “weak minded idiots,” as his accusations of credulousness, will never be applied to themselves by any of the proud castes of modern “Pharisees”; Spiritualists as they know themselves to be, and have perhaps been for years, if they deign to notice the insult at all, it will be but to answer him as the cowardly apostle did before them, “Man, I tell thee, I know him not!”
St. Peter was the only one of the remaining eleven that denied his Christ thrice before the Pharisees; that is just the reason why, of all the apostles, he is the most revered by the Catholics, and has been selected to rule over the most wealthy as the most proud, greedy and hypocritical of all the churches in Christendom. And so, half Christians and half believers in the new dispensation, the majority of those eleven millions of Spiritualists stand with one foot on the threshold of Spiritualism, pressing firmly with the other one the steps leading to the altars of their “fashionable” places of worship, ever ready to leap over under the protection of the latter in hours of danger. They know that under the cover of such immense “respectability” they are perfectly safe. Who would presume or dare to accuse of “credulous stupidity’’ a member belonging to certain ‘‘fashionable congregations’’? Under the powerful and holy shade of any of those “pillars of truth” every heinous crime is liable to become immediately transformed into but a slight and petty deviation from strict Christian virtue. Jupiter, for all his numberless “Don Juan” like frolics, was not the less on that account considered by his worshippers as the “Father of Gods”!
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A FEW weeks ago, in a letter, extracts from which have appeared in The Spiritual Scientist of December 3rd, I alluded to the deplorable lack of accord between American Spiritualists, and the consequences of the same. At that time I had just fought out my useless battle with a foe who, though beneath my own personal notice, had insulted all the Spiritualists of this country, as a body, in a caricature of a so-called scientific exposé. In dealing with him I dealt with but one of the numerous “bravos” enlisted in the army of the bitter opponents of belief; and my task was, comparatively speaking, an easy one, if we take it for granted that falsehood can hardly withstand truth, as the latter will ever speak for itself. Since that day the scales have turned; prompted now, as then, by the same love of justice and fair play, I feel compelled to throw down my glove once more in our defence, seeing that so few of the adherents to the cause are bold enough to accept that duty, and so many of them show the white feather of pusillanimity.
I indicated in my letter that such a state of things, such a complete lack of harmony, and such cowardice, I may add, among their ranks, subjected the Spiritualists and the cause to constant attacks from a compact, aggressive public opinion, based upon ignorance and wicked prejudice, intolerant, remorseless and thoroughly dishonest in the employment of its methods. As a vast army, amply equipped, may be cut to pieces by an inferior force well trained and handled, so Spiritualism, numbering its hosts by millions, and able to vanquish every reactionary theology by a little well-directed effort, is constantly harassed, weakened, impeded, by the convergent attacks of pulpit and press, and by the treachery and cowardice of its trusted leaders. It is one of these professed leaders that I propose to question to-day, as closely as my rights, not only as a widely known Kabalist but also as a resident of the United States, will allow me. When I see the numbers of believers in this country, the broad basis of their belief, the im-
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pregnability of their position, and the talent that is embraced within their ranks, I am disgusted at the spectacle that they manifest at this very moment, after the Katie King—how shall we say—fraud? By no means, since the last word of this sensational comedy is far from being spoken.
There is not a country on the face of our planet, with a jury attached to its courts of justice, but gives the benefit of the doubt to every criminal brought within the law, and affords him a chance to be heard and tell his story.
Is such the case between the pretended “spirit performer,” the alleged bogus Katie King, and the Holmes mediums? I answer most decidedly no, and mean to prove it, if no one else does.
I deny the right of any man or woman to wrench from our hands all possible means of finding out the truth. I deny the right of any editor of a daily newspaper to accuse and publish accusations, refusing at the same time to hear one word of justification from the defendants, and so, instead of helping people to clear up the matter, leaving them more than ever to grope their way in the dark.
The biography of “Katie King” has come out at last; a sworn certificate, if you please, endorsed (under oath?) by Dr. Child, who throughout the whole of this “burlesque” epilogue has ever appeared in it, like some inevitable deus-ex-machinâ. The whole of this made- up elegy (by whom? evidently not by Mrs. White) is redolent with the perfume of erring innocence, of Magdalene-like tales of woe and sorrow, tardy repentance and the like, giving us the abnormal idea of a pickpocket in the act of robbing our soul of its most precious, thrilling sensations. The carefully-prepared explanations on some points that appear now and then as so many stumbling-blocks in the way of a seemingly fair exposé do not preclude, nevertheless, through the whole of it, the possibility of doubt; for many awkward semblances of truth, partly taken from the confessions of that fallen angel, Mrs. White, and partly—most of them we should say—copied from the private note-book of her “amanuensis,” give you a fair idea of the veracity of this sworn certificate. For instance, according to her own statement and the evidence furnished by the habitue’s of the Holmeses, Mrs. White having never been present at any of the dark circles (her alleged acting as Katie King excluding all possibility, on her part, of such a public exhibition of flesh and bones), how comes she to know so well, in every particular, about the tricks of the mediums, the pro-
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gramme of their performances, etc.? Then, again, Mrs. White who remembers so well—by rote we may say—every word exchanged between Katie King and Mr. Owen, the spirit and Dr. Child, has evidently forgotten all that was ever said by her in her bogus personation to Dr. Felger; she does not even remember a very important secret communicated by her to the latter gentleman! What an extraordinary combination of, memory and absence of mind at the same time. May not a certain memorandum-book, with its carefully-noted contents, account for it, perhaps? The document is signed, under oath, with the name of a non-existing spirit, Katie King. . . . Very clever!
All protestations of innocence or explanations sent in by Mr. or Mrs. Holmes, written or verbal, are peremptorily refused publication by the press. No respectable paper dares takes upon itself the responsibility of such an unpopular cause.
The public feel triumphant; the clergy, forgetting in the excitement of their victory the Brooklyn scandal, rub their hands and chuckle; a certain exposer of materialized spirits and mind-reading, like some monstrous anti-spiritual mitrailleuse shoots forth a volley of missiles, and sends a condoling letter to Mr. Owen; Spiritualists, crestfallen, ridiculed and defeated, feel crushed for ever under the pretended exposure and that overwhelming, pseudonymous evidence. . . . The day of Waterloo has come for us, and sweeping away the last remnants of the defeated army, it remains for us to ring our own death-knell.
Spirits, beware! henceforth, if you lack prudence, your materialized forms will have to stop at the cabinet doors, and in a perfect tremble melt away from sight, singing in chorus Edgar Poe’s “Never more.” One would really suppose that the whole belief of the Spiritualists hung at the girdles of the Holmeses, and that in case they should be unmasked as tricksters, we might as well vote our phenomena an old woman’s delusion.
Is the scraping off of a barnacle the destruction of a ship? But, moreover, we are not sufficiently furnished with any plausible proofs at all.
Colonel Olcott is here and has begun investigations. His first tests with Mrs. Holmes alone, for Mr. Holmes is lying sick at Vineland, have proved satisfactory enough, in his eyes, to induce Mr. Owen to return to the spot of his first love, namely, the Holmeses’ cabinet. He began by tying Mrs. Holmes up in a bag, the string drawn tightly round her neck, knotted and sealed in the presence of Mr. Owen, Col.
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Olcott and a third gentleman. After that the medium was placed in the empty cabinet, which was rolled away into the middle of the room, and it was made a perfect impossibility for her to use her hands. The door being closed, hands appeared in the aperture, then the outlines of a face came, which gradually formed into the classical head of John King, turban, beard and all. He kindly allowed the investigators to stroke his beard, touch his warm face, and patted their hands with his. After the séance was over, Mrs. Holmes, with many tears of gratitude in the presence of the three gentlemen, assured Mr. Owen most solemnly that she had spoken many a time to Dr. Child about “Katie” leaving her presents in the house and dropping them about the place, and that she—Mrs. Holmes—wanted Mr. Owen to know it; but that the doctor had given her most peremptory orders to the contrary, forbidding her to let the former know it, his precise words being, “Don’t do it, it’s useless; he must not know it I leave the question of Mrs. Holmes’ veracity as to this fact for Dr. Child to settle with her.
On the other hand, we have tile woman, Eliza White, exposer and accuser of the Holmeses, who remains up to the present day a riddle and an Egyptian mystery to every man and woman of this city, except to the clever and equally invisible party—a sort of protecting deity— who took the team in hand, and drove the whole concern of “Katie’s” materialization to destruction, in what he considered such a first-rate way. She is not to be met, or seen, or interviewed, or even spoken to by anyone, least of all by the ex-admirers of “Katie King” herself, so anxious to get a peep at the modest, blushing beauty who deemed her self worthy of personating the fair spirit. Maybe it’s rather dangerous to allow them the chance of comparing for themselves the features of both? But the most perplexing fact of this most perplexing imbroglio is that Mr. R. D. Owen, by his Own confession to me, has never, not even on the day of the exposure, seen Mrs. White, or talked to her, or had other wise the least chance to scan her features close enough for him to identify her. He caught a glimpse of her general outline but once, viz., at the mock séance of Dec. 5th referred to in her biography, when she appeared to half a dozen of witnesses (invited to testify and identify the fraud) emerging de nova from the cabinet, with her face closely covered with a double veil (!) after which the sweet vision vanished and appeared no more. Mr. Owen adds that he is not prepared to swear to the identity of Mrs. White and Katie King.
May I he allowed to enquire as to the necessity of such a profound
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mystery, after the promise of a public exposure of all the fraud? It seems to me that the said exposure would have been far more satisfactory if conducted otherwise. Why not give the fairest chance to R. D. Owen, the party who has suffered the most on account of this disgusting swindle—if swindle there is—to compare Mrs. White with his Katie? May I suggest again that it is perhaps because the spirit’s features are but too well impressed on his memory, poor, noble, confiding gentleman. Gauze dresses and moonshine, coronets and stars can possibly be counterfeited in a half-darkened room, while features, answering line for line to the “spirit Katie’s” face, are not so easily made up; the latter require very clever preparations. A lie may be easy enough for a smooth tongue, but no pug nose can lie itself into a classical one.
A very honourable gentleman of my acquaintance, a fervent admirer of the “spirit Katie’s” beauty, who has seen and addressed her at two feet distance about fifty times, tells me that on a certain evening, when Dr. Child begged the spirit to let him see her tongue (did the honour-able doctor want to compare it with Mrs. White’s tongue—the lady having been his patient?), she did so, and upon her opening her mouth, the gentleman in question assures me that he plainly saw, what in his admiring phraseology he terms “the most beautiful set of teeth—two rows of pearls.” He remarked most particularly those teeth. Now there are some wicked, slandering gossips, who happen to have cultivated most intimately Mrs. White’s acquaintance in the happy days of her innocence, before her fall and subsequent exposé and they tell us very bluntly (we beg the penitent angel’s pardon, we repeat but a hear say) that this lady can hardly number among her other natural charms the rare beauty of pearly teeth, or a perfect, most beautiful formed hand and arm. Why not show her teeth at once to the said admirer, and so shame the slanderers? Why shun “Katie’s” best friends? If we were so anxious as she seems to be to prove “who is who,” we would surely submit with pleasure to the operation of showing our teeth, yea, even in a court of justice. The above fact, trifling as it may seem at first sight, would be considered as a very important one by any intelligent juryman in a question of personal identification.
Mr. Owen's statement to us, corroborated by “Katie King” herself in her biography, a sworn document, remember, is in the following words:
“She consented to have an interview with some gentlemen who had seen her personating the spirit, on condition that she would be allowed to
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keep a veil over her face all
the time she was conversing with them.” (
Now pray why should these “too credulous weak-minded gentle men,” as the immortal Dr. Beard would say, he subjected again to such an extra strain on their blind faith? We should say that that was just the proper time to come out and prove to them what was the nature of the mental aberration they were labouring under for so many months. Well, if they do swallow this new veiled proof they are welcome to it.
Vulgus vult decipi decipiatur! But I expect something more substantial before submitting in guilty silence to be laughed at. As it is, the case stands thus:
According to the same
biography (same column) the mock séance was prepared and carried out to
everyone’s heart’s content, through the endeavours of an amateur detective,
who, by the way, if any one wants to know, is a Mr. W. 0. Leslie. a contractor
or agent for the
On the evenings of Dec. 2nd and 3rd at two séances held at the Holmeses’, I, myself, in the presence of Robert Dale Owen and Dr. Child (chief manager of those performances, from whom I got on the same morning an admission card), together with twenty more witnesses, saw the spirit of Katie step out of the cabinet twice, in full form and beauty, and I can swear in any court of justice that she did not bear the least resemblance to Mrs. White’s portrait.
As I am unwilling to base my argument upon any other testimony than my own, I will not dwell upon the alleged apparition of Katie King at the Holmeses’ on Dec. 5th to Mr. Roberts and fifteen others, among whom was Mr. W. H. Clarke, a reporter for The Daily Graphic, for I happened to be out of town, though, if this fact is demonstrated, it will go far against Mrs. White, for on that precise evening, and at the same hour, she was exhibiting herself as the bogus Katie at the mock séance. Something still more worthy of consideration is found in the
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most positive assertion of a gentleman, a Mr. Wescott, who on that evening of the 5th on his way home from the real séance, met in the car Mr. Owen, Dr. Child and his wife, all three returning from the mock séance. Now it so happened that this gentleman mentioned to them about having just seen the spirit Katie come out of the cabinet, adding ‘‘he thought she never looked better” ; upon hearing which Mr. Robert Dale Owen stared at him in amazement, and all the three looked greatly perplexed.
And so I have but insisted on the apparition of the spirit at the mediums’ house on the evenings Dec. 2nd and 3rd, when I witnessed the phenomenon, together with Robert Dale Owen and other parties.
It would be worse than useless to offer or accept the poor excuse that the confession of the woman White, her exposure of the fraud, the delivery to Mr. Leslie of all her dresses and presents received by her in the name of Katie King, the disclosure of the sad news by this devoted gentleman to Mr. Owen, and the preparation of the mock séance cabinet and other important matters, had all of them taken place on the 4th the more so, as we are furnished with most positive proofs that Dr. Child at least, if not Mr. Owen. knew all about Mr. Leslie’s success with Mrs. White several days beforehand. Knowing then of the fraud, how could Mr. Leslie allow it to be still carried on, as the fact of Katie’s apparition at the Holmeses’ on Dec. 2nd and 3rd prove to have been the case? Any gentleman, even with a very moderate degree of honour about him, would never allow the public to be fooled and defrauded any longer, unless he had time firm resolution of catching the bogus spirit on the spot and proving the imposition. But no such thing occurred. Quite the contrary; for Dr. Child, who had constituted himself from the first not only chief superintendent of the séances, cabinet and materialization business, but also cashier and ticket-holder (paying the mediums at first ten dollars per séance, as he did, and subsequently fifteen dollars, and pocketing the rest of the proceeds), on that same evening of the 3rd took the admission money from every visitor as quietly as he ever did. I will add, furthermore, that I, in propriâ personâ, handed him on that very night a five—dollar bill, and that he (Dr. Child) kept the whole of it, remarking that the balance could he made good to us by future séance.
Will Dr. Child presume to say that getting ready, as he then was, in company with Mr. Leslie, to produce the bogus Katie King on the 5th of December, he knew nothing, as yet, of the fraud on the 3rd?
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Further; in the same biography
(chap. viii, column the 1st), it is stated that, immediately upon Mrs. White’s
return from Blissfield, Mich., she called on Dr. Child, and offered to expose
the whole humbug she had been engaged in, but that he would not listen to her.
Upon that occasion she was not veiled, as indeed there was no necessity for her
to be, since by Dr. Child’s own admission she had been a patient of his, and
under his medical treatment. In a letter from Holmes to Dr. Child, dated
Mrs. White says you and the friends were very rude, wanted to look into all our boxes and trunks and break open locks. What were you looking for, or expecting to find?
All these several circumstances show in the clearest possible manner that Dr. Child and Mrs. White were on terms much more intimate then than that of casual acquaintance, and it is the height of absurdity to assert that if Mrs. White and Katie King were identical, the fraud was not perfectly well known to the “Father Confessor” (see narrative of John and Katie King, p. 45). But a side light is thrown upon this comedy from the pretended biography of John King and his daughter Katie, written at their dictation in his own office by Dr. Child himself. This book was given out to the world as an authentic revelation from these two spirits. It tells us that they stepped in and stepped out of his office, day after day, as any mortal being might, and after holding brief conversations, followed by long narratives, they fully endorsed the genuineness of their own apparition in the Holmeses’ cabinet. Moreover, the spirits appearing at the public séances corroborated the statements which they made to their amanuensis in his office; the two dovetailing together and making a consistent story. Now, if the Holmeses’ Kings were Mrs. White, who were the spirits visiting the doctor’s office? and if the spirits visiting him were genuine, who were those that appeared at the public séances? In which particular has the “Father Confessor” defrauded the public? In selling a book containing false biographies or exposing bogus spirits at the Holmeses’? Which or both? Let the doctor choose.
If his conscience is so tender as to force him into print with his certificate and affidavits why does it not sink deep enough to reach his pocket, and compel him to refund to us the money obtained by him under false pretences? According to his own confession, the Holmeses received from him, up to the time they left town, about $1,2OO, for four months of daily séances. That he admitted every night as many visitors
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as he could possibly find room for—sometimes as many as thirty-five— is a fact that will be corroborated by every person who has seen the phenomena more than once. Furthermore, some six or seven reliable witnesses have told us that the modest fee of $1 was only for the habitués, too curious or over-anxious visitors having to pay sometimes as much as $5, and in one instance $10. This last fact I give under all reserve, not having had to pay so much as that myself.
Now let an impartial
investigator of this
Ladies and gentlemen of the spiritual belief, methinks we are all of us between the horns of a very wonderful dilemma. If you happen to find your position comfortable, I do not, and so will try to extricate myself.
Let it be perfectly understood, though, that I do not intend in the least to undertake at present the defence of the Holmeses. They may be the greatest frauds for what I know or care. My only purpose is to know for a certainty to whom I am indebted for my share of ridicule— small as it may be, luckily for me. If we Spiritualists are to be laughed and scoffed at and ridiculed and sneered at, we ought to know at least the reason why. Either there was a fraud or there was none. If the fraud is a sad reality, and Dr. Child by some mysterious combination of his personal cruel fate has fallen the first victim to it, after having proved himself so anxious for the sake of his honour and character to stop at once the further progress of such a deceit on a public that had hitherto looked on him alone as the party responsible for the perfect integrity and genuineness of a phenomenon so fully endorsed by him in all particulars, why does not the doctor come out the first and help us to the clue of all this mystery? Well aware of the fact that the swindled and defrauded parties can at any day assert their rights to the restitution of moneys laid out by them solely on the ground of their entire faith in him they had trusted, why does he not sue the Holmeses and so prove his own innocence? He cannot but admit that in the eyes of some initiated parties, his cause looks far more ugly as it now stands than the accusation under which the Holmeses vainly struggle. Or, if there was no fraud, or if it is not fully proved, as it cannot well be on the shallow testimony of a nameless woman signing documents
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with pseudonyms, why then all this comedy on the part of the principal partner in the “Katie materialization” business? Was not Dr. Child the institutor, the promulgator, and we may say the creator of what proves to have been but a bogus phenomenon, after all? Was not lie the advertising agent of this incarnated humbug—the Barnum of this spiritual show? And now that he has helped to fool not only Spiritualists but the world at large, whether as a confederate himself or one of the weak-minded fools—no matter, so long as it is demonstrated that it was he that helped us to this scrape—he imagines that by helping to accuse the mediums, and expose the fraud, by fortifying with his endorsement all manner of bogus affidavits and illegal certificates from non-existing parties, he hopes to find himself henceforth perfectly clear of responsibility to the persons he has dragged after him into this infamous swamp!
We must demand a legal
investigation. We have the right to insist upon it, for we Spiritualists have
bought this right at a dear price:
with the life-long reputation of Mr. Owen as an able and reliable writer and trustworthy witness of the phenomena, who may henceforth be regarded as a doubted and ever-ridiculed visionary by sceptical wise-acres. We have bought this right with the prospect that all of us, whom Dr. Child has unwittingly or otherwise (time will prove it) fooled into belief in his Katie King, will become for a time the butts for end-less raillery, satires and jokes from the press and ignorant masses. We regret to feel obliged to contradict on this point such an authority in all matters as The Daily Graphic, but if orthodox laymen rather decline to see this fraud thoroughly investigated in a court of justice for fear of the Holmeses becoming entitled to the crown of martyrs, we have no such fear as that, and repeat with Mr. Hudson Tuttle that “better perish the cause with the impostors than live such a life of eternal ostracism, with no chance for justice or redress.”
Why in the name of all that is wonderful should Dr. Child have all the laurels of this unfought battle, in which the attacked army seems for ever doomed to be defeated without so much as a struggle? Why should he have all the material benefit of this materialized humbug, and R. D. Owen, an honest Spiritualist, whose name is universally respected, have all the kicks and thumps of the sceptical press? Is this fair and just? How long shall we Spiritualists be turned over like so many scapegoats to the unbelievers by cheating mediums and speculating prophets? Like some modern shepherd Paris, Mr. Owen fell a
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victim to the snares of this pernicious, newly materialized Helen; and on him falls heaviest the present reaction that threatens to produce a new Trojan war. But the Homer of the Philadelphia Iliad, the one who has appeared in the past as the elegiac poet and biographer of that same Helen, and who appears in the present kindling up the spark of doubt against the Holmeses, till, if not speedily quenched, it might become a roaring ocean of flames—he that plays at this present hour the unparalleled part of a chief justice presiding at his own trial and deciding in his own case-—Dr. Child, we say, turning back on the spirit daughter of his own creation, and backing the mortal, illegitimate off spring furnished by somebody, is left unmolested! Only fancy, while R. D. Owen is fairly crushed under the ridicule of the exposure, Dr. Child, who has endorsed false spirits, now turns state’s evidence and endorses as fervently spirit certificates, swearing to the same in a court of justice
If ever I may hope to get a chance of having my advice accepted by some one anxious to clear up all this sickening story, I would insist that the whole matter be forced into a real court of justice and unriddled before a jury. If Dr. Child is, after all, an honest man whose trusting nature was imposed upon, lie must be the first to offer us all the chances that he in his power of getting at the bottom of all these endless “whys” and “bows.” If he does not, in such a case we will try for ourselves to solve the following mysteries:
1st, Judge Allen, of Vineland, now in Philadelphia, testifies to the fact that when the cabinet, made up under the direct supervision and instructions of Dr. Child, was brought home to the Holmeses, the doctor worked at it himself, unaided, one whole day, and with his tools, Judge Allen being at the time at the mediums’, whom he was visiting. If there was a trap-door or “two cut boards” connected with it, who did the work? Who can doubt that such clever machinery, fitted in such a way as to baffle frequent and close examinations on the part of the sceptics, requires an experienced mechanic of more than ordinary ability? Further, unless well paid, he could hardly be bound to secrecy. Who paid him? Is it Holmes out of his ten-dollar nightly fee? We ought to ascertain it.
2nd, If it is true, as two persons are ready to swear, that the party, calling herself Eliza White, alias “Frank,” alias Katie King, and so forth, is no widow at all, having a well materialized husband, who is living, and who keeps a drinking saloon in a Connecticut town—then
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in such case the fair widow has perjured herself and Dr. Child has endorsed the perjury. We regret that he should endorse the statements of the former as rashly as he accepted the fact of her materialization.
3rd, Affidavits and witnesses (five in all) are ready to prove that on a certain night, when Mrs. White was visibly in her living body, refreshing her penitent stomach in company with impenitent associates in a lager beer saloon, having no claims to patrician “patronage,” Katie King, in her spirit form, was as visibly seen at the door of her cabinet.
4th On one occasion, when Dr. Child (in consequence of some prophetic vision, maybe) invited Mrs. White to his own house, where he locked her up with the inmates, who entertained her the whole of the evening, for the sole purpose of convincing (he always seems anxious to convince somebody of something) some doubting sceptics of the reality of the spirit-form, the latter appeared in the séance-room and talked with R. D. Owen in the presence of all the company. The Spiritualists were jubilant that night, and the doctor the most triumphant of them all. Many are the witnesses ready to testify to the fact, but Dr. Child, when questioned, seems to have entirely forgotten this important occurrence.
5th Who is the party whom she claims to have engaged to personate General Rawlings? Let him come out and swear to it, so that we will all see his great resemblance to the defunct warrior.
6th, Let her name the friends from whom she borrowed the costumes to personate “Sauntee” and “Richard.” They must prove it under oath. Let them produce the dresses. Can she tell us where she got the shining robes of the second and third spheres?
7th Only some portions of
Holmes’ letters to “Frank” are published in the biography: some of them for the
purpose of proving their co- partnership in the fraud at Blissfield. Can she
name the house and parties with whom she lodged and boarded at
When all the above questions are answered and demonstrated to our satisfaction, then, and only then, shall we believe that the Holmeses are the only guilty parties to a fraud, which, for its consummate rascality and brazenness, is unprecedented in the annals of Spiritualism.
I have read some of Mr. Holmes’ letters, whether original or forged, no matter, and blessed as I am with a good memory, I well remember certain sentences that have been, very luckily for the poetic creature,
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suppressed by the blushing editor as being too vile for publication. One of the most modest of the paragraphs runs thus:
Now, my advice to you, Frank, don’t crook your elbow too often; no use doubling up and squaring your fists again.
Oh, Katie King!
Remember, the above is addressed to the woman who pretends to have personated the spirit of whom R. D. Owen wrote thus:
I particularly noticed this
evening the ease and harmony of her motions. In
A well-known artist of
Compare for one moment this admiring description with the quotation from Holmes’ letter. Fancy an ideal of classic beauty and grace crooking her elbow in a lager beer saloon, and—judge for yourselves !
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
A MODERN PANARION
IN the last Religio-Philosophical Journal (for February 2 in the Philadelphia department, edited by Dr. Child, under the most poetical heading of “After the Storm comes the Sunshine,” we read the following:
I have been waiting patiently for the excitement in reference to the Holmes fraud to subside a little. I will now make some further statements and answer some questions.
The stories of my acquaintance with Mrs. White are all fabrications.
I shall not notice the various reports put forth about my pecuniary relations farther than to say there is a balance due to me for money loaned to the Holmeses.
I claim the right to answer the above three quotations, the more so that the second one consigns me most unceremoniously to the ranks of the liars. Now if there is, in my humble judgment, anything more contemptible than a cheat, it is certainly a liar.
The rest of this letter, editorial, or whatever it may be, is unanswerable, for reasons that will be easily understood by whoever reads it. ‘When petulant Mr. Pancks (in Littie Dorrit) spanked the benevolent Christopher Casby, this venerable patriarch only mildly lifted up his blue eyes heavenward, and smiled more benignly than ever. Dr. Child, tossed about and as badly spanked by public opinion, smiles as sweetly as Mr. Casby, talks of “sunshine,” and quiets his urgent accusers by assuring them that ‘‘it is all fabrications.”
I don’t know whence Dr. Child takes his “sunshine,” unless he draws it from the very bottom of his innocent heart.
For my part, since I came to
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I would strongly advise Dr. Child not to accuse me of “fabrication,” whatever else he may be inclined to ornament me with. What I say I can prove, and am ever willing to do so at any day. If he is innocent of all participation in this criminal fraud, let him “rise and explain.”
If he succeeds in clearing his record, I will be the first to rejoice, and promise to offer him publicly my most sincere apology for the “erroneous suspicions” I labour under respecting his part in the affair; but he must first prove that he is thoroughly innocent. Hard words prove nothing, and he cannot hope to achieve such a victory by simply accusing people of “fabrications.” If he does not abstain from applying epithets unsupported by substantial proofs, he risks, as in the game of shuttlecock and battledore, the chance of receiving the missile back, and maybe that it will hurt him worse than he expects.
In the article in question he says:
The stories of my acquaintance with Mrs. White are all fabrications. I did let her in two or three times, but the entry and hall were so dark that it was impossible to recognize her or any one. I have seen her several times, and knew that she looked more like Katie King than Mr. [?] or Mrs. Holmes.
Mirabile dietu! This beats our
learned friend, Dr. Beard. The latter denies, point-blank, not only
“materialization,” which is not yet actually proved to the world, but also
every spiritual phenomenon. But Dr. Child denies being acquainted with a woman
whom he confesses him self to have seen “several times,” received in his
office, where she was seen repeatedly by others, and yet at the same time
admits that he “knew she looked like Katie King,” etc. By the way, we have all
laboured under the impression that Dr. Child admitted in The Inquirer that he
saw Mrs. White for the first time and recognized her as Katie King only on that
morning when she made her affidavit at the office of the justice of the peace.
A “fabrication” most likely. In the R.-P. Journal for
Your report does not for a moment shake my confidence in our Katie King, as she comes to me every day and talks to me. On several occasions Katie had come to me and requested Mr. Owen and myself to go there [ to the Holmeses’] and she would come and repeat what she had told me above.
Did Dr. Child ascertain where Mrs. White was at the time of the spirit’s visits to him?
As to Mrs. White, I know her
well. I have on many occasions let her into the house. I saw her at the time
the manifestations were going on in Blissfield. She has since gone to
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And still the doctor assures us he was not acquainted with Mrs. White. What signification does he give to the word “acquaintance” in such a case? Did he not go, in the absence of the Holmeses, to their house, and talk with her and even quarrel with the woman? Another fabricated story, no doubt. I defy Dr. Child to print again, if he dare, such a word as fabrication in relation to myself, after he has read a certain statement that I reserve for the last.
In all this pitiful, humbugging romance of an “exposure” by a too material she-spirit, there has not been given us a single reasonable explanation of even so much as one solitary fact. It began with a bogus biography, and threatens to end in a bogus fight, since every single duel requires at least two participants, and Dr. Child prefers extracting sunshine from the cucumbers of his soul and letting the storm subside, to fighting like a man for his own fair name. He says that “he shall not notice” what people say about his little speculative transactions with the Holmeses. He assures us that they owe him money. Very likely, but it does not alter the alleged fact of his having paid $10 for every séance and pocketing the balance. Dare he say that he did not do it? The Holmeses' say otherwise, and the statements in writing of various witnesses corroborate them.
The Holmeses may be scamps in the eyes of certain persons, and the only ones in the eyes of the more prejudiced; but as long as their statements have not been proven false, their word is as good as the word of Dr. Child; aye, in a court of justice even, the “Mediums Holmes” would stand just on the same level as any spiritual prophet or clairvoyant who might have been visited by the same identical spirits that visited the former. So long as Dr. Child does not legally prove them to be cheats and himself innocent, why should not they be as well entitled to belief as himself?
From the first hour of the Katie King mystery, if people have accused them, no one so far as I know—not even Dr. Child himself—has proved, or even undertaken to prove, the innocence of their ex-cashier and recorder. The fact that every word of the ex-leader and president of the Philadelphian Spiritualists would be published by every spiritual paper (and here we must confess to our wonder that he does not hasten much to avail himself of this opportunity) while any statement coming from the Holmeses' would be pretty sure of rejection, would not necessarily imply the fact that they alone are guilty; it would only go towards showing that, notwithstanding the divine truth of our faith and the
A MODERN PANARION.
teachings of our invisible guardians, some Spiritualists have not profited by them to learn impartiality and justice.
These “mediums” are persecuted; so far it is but justice, since they themselves admitted their guilt about the photography fraud, and unless it can be shown that they were thereunto controlled by lying spirits their own mouths condemn them; but what is less just, is that they are slandered and abused on all points and made to bear alone all the weight of a crime, where confederacy peeps out from every page of the story. No one seems willing to befriend them—these two helpless uninfluential creatures, who, if they sinned at all, perhaps sinned through weakness and ignorance—to take their case in hand, and by doing justice to them, do justice at the same time to the cause of truth. If their guilt should be as evident as the daylight at , is it not ridiculous that their partner, Dr. Child, should show surprise at being so much as suspected! History records but one person—the legitimate spouse of the great Cæsar—whose name has to remain enforced by law as above suspicion. Methinks that if Dr. Child possesses some natural claims to his self-assumed title of Katie King’s “Father Confessor,” he can have none whatever to share the infallibility of Madame Cæsar's virtue. Being pretty sure as to this myself, and feeling, moreover, somewhat anxious to swell the list of pertinent questions, which are called by our disingenuous friend “fabrications,” with at least one fact, I will now proceed to furnish your readers with the following:
“Katie’s” picture has been, let us say, proved a fraud, an imposition on the credulous world, and is Mrs. White’s portrait. This counterfeit has been proved by the beauty of the “crooking elbow,” in her bogus autobiography (the proof sheets of which Dr. Child was seen correcting), by the written confession of the Holmeses', and, lastly, by Dr. Child himself.
Out of the several bogus portraits of the supposed spirit, the most spurious one has been declared—mostly on the testimony endorsed by Dr. Child and “over his signature”—to be the one where the pernicious and false Katie King is standing behind the medium.
The operation of this delicate piece of imposture proved so difficult as to oblige the Holmeses' to take into the secret of the conspiracy the photographer.
Now Dr. Child denies having had anything whatever to do with the sittings for those pictures. He denies it most emphatically, and goes so far as to say (we have many witnesses and proofs of this) that he
A MODERN PANARION.
was out of town, four hundred
miles away, when the said pictures were taken. And so he was, bless his dear
prophetic soul! Meditating and chatting with the nymphs and goblins of
Unfortunately for the veracious Dr. Child—”whose character and reputation for truthfulness and moral integrity no one doubts,” here we quote the words of “Honesty” and “Truth,” transparent pseudonyms of an “amateur” for detecting, exposing and writing under the cover of secrecy, who tried to give a friendly push to the doctor in two articles, but failed in both—unfortunately for H. T. Child, we say, he got inspired in some evil hour to write a certain article, and for getting the wise motto, Verba volant, scripta manent, to publish it in The Daily Graphic on Nov. 6th, together with the portraits of John and Katie King.
Now for tins bouquet of the endorsement of a fact by a truthful man, ‘‘whose moral integrity no one can doubt.’’
To The Editor of “The Daily Graphic.”
On the evening of July 20th, after a large and successful séance, in which Katie had walked out into the room in the presence of thirty persons and had disappeared and reappeared in full view, she remarked to Mr. Leslie and myself that if we, with four others whom she named, would remain after the séance, she would like to try for her photograph. We did so, and there were present six persons besides the photographer. I had procured two dozen magnesian spirals, and, when all was ready, she opened the door of the cabinet and stood in it, while Mr. Holmes on one side, and I upon the other, burned these, making a brilliant light. We tried two plates, but neither of them was satisfactory.
Another effort was made on July 23rd, which was successful. We asked her if she would try to have it taken by daylight. She said she would. We sat with shutters often at . In a few moments Katie appeared at the aperture and said she was ready. She asked to have one of the windows closed, and that we should hold a shawl to screen her. As soon as the camera was ready she came out and walked behind the shawl to the middle of the room, a distance of six or eight feet, where she stood in front of the camera. She remained in that position until the first picture was taken, when she retired to the cabinet.
Mr. Holmes proposed that she should permit him to sit in front of the camera, and should come out and place her hand upon his shoulder. To this she assented, and desired all present to avoid looking into her eyes, as this disturbed the conditions very much.
The second picture was then taken in which she stands behind Mr. Holmes. When the camera was closed she showed great signs of weakness, and it was necessary to assist her back to the cabinet, and when she got to the door she appeared ready to sink to the floor and disappeared [?]. The cabinet door was opened, but she was not to be
A MODERN PANARION.
seen. In a few minutes she appeared again and remarked that she had not been sufficiently materialized, and said she would like to try again, if we could wait a little while. We waited about fifteen minutes, when she rapped on the cabinet, signifying that she was ready to come out. She did so, and we obtained the Third negative.
(Signed) DR. H. T. CHILD.
And so, Dr. Child, we have obtained this, we did that, and we did many other things. Did you? Now, besides Dr. Child’s truthful assertions about his being out of town, especially at the time this third negative was obtained, we have the testimony of the photographer, Dr. Selger, and other witnesses to corroborate the fact. At the same time, I suppose that Dr. Child will not risk a denial of his own article. I have it in my possession and keep it, together with many others as curious, printed like it, and written in black and white. Who fabricates stories? Can the doctor answer?
How will he creep out of this dilemma? What rays of his spiritual “sunshine” will be able to de-materialize such a contradictory fact as this one? Here we have an article taking up two spacious columns of The Daily Graphic, in which he asserts as plainly as possible, that he was present himself at the sittings of Katie King for her portrait, that the spirit come out boldly, in full daylight, that she disappeared on the threshold of the cabinet, and that he, Dr. Child, helping her back to it on account of her great weakness, saw that there was no one in the said cabinet, for the door remained opened. Who did he help? Whose fluttering heart beat against his paternal arm and waistcoat? Was it the bonny Eliza? Of course, backed by such reliable testimony of such a truly trustworthy witness, the pictures sold like wild-fire. Who got the proceeds? Who kept them? If Dr. Child was not in town when the pictures were taken, then this article is an “evident fabrication.” On the other hand, if what he says in it is truth, and he was present at all at the attempt of this bogus picture-taking, then he certainly must have known “who was who, in 1874,” as the photographer knew it, and as surely it did not require Argus-eyes to recognize in full daylight with only one shutter partially closed, a materialized, ethereal spirit, from a common, “elbow-crooking” mortal woman, whom, though not acquainted with her, the doctor still “knew well.”
If our self-constituted leaders, our prominent recorders of the phenomena, will humbug and delude the public with such reliable statements as this one, how can we Spiritualists wonder at the masses of incredulous scoffers that keep on politely taking us for “lunatics” when they do
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not very rudely call us “liars and charlatans” to our faces? It is not the occasionally cheating “mediums” that have or can impede the progress of our cause; it’s the exalted exaggerations of some fanatics on one hand, and the deliberate, unscrupulous statements of those who delight in dealing in “wholesale fabrications” and “pious frauds” that have arrested the unusually rapid spreading of Spiritualism in 1874 and brought it to a dead stop in 1875. For how many years to come yet, who can tell?
In his “After the Storm comes the Sunshine,” the Doctor makes the following melancholy reflection:
It has been suggested that going into an atmosphere of fraud, such as surrounds these mediums [ Holmeses] and being sensitive [ poor Yorick!] I was more liable to be deceived than others.
We shudder indeed at the thought of the exposure of so much sensitiveness to so much pollution. Alas! soiled dove! how very sensitive must a person be who picks up such evil influences that they actually force him into the grossest of fabrications and make him invent stories and endorse facts that he has not and could not have seen. If Dr. Child, victim to his too sensitive nature, is liable to fall so easily as that under the control of wicked “Diakka,” our friendly advice to him is to give up Spiritualism as soon as possible, and join a Young Men’s Christian Association; for then, under the protecting wing of the true orthodox Church, he can begin a regular fight, like a second St. Anthony, with the orthodox devil. Such Diakka as he fell in with at the Holmeses’ must beat Old Nick by long odds, and if he could not withstand them by the unaided strength of his own pure soul, he may with “bell, book and candle” and the use of holy water be more fortunate in a tug with Satan, crying as other “Father Confessors” have heretofore, “Exorciso vos in nomine Lucis!” and signify ing his triumph with a robust Laus Deo.
H. P. BLAVATSKY
NOTICE TO MEDIUMS
IN compliance with the request
of the Honourable Alexander Aksakoff, Counsellor of State in the Imperial
To avoid disappointment, it may be well to state that the undersigned will recommend no mediums whose personal good character is not satisfactorily shown; nor any who will not submit themselves to a thorough scientific test of their mediumistic powers, in the city of New York, prior to sailing; nor any who cannot exhibit most of their phenomena in a lighted room, to be designated by the undersigned, and with such ordinary furniture as may be found therein.
Approved applications will be
immediately forwarded to
Address the undersigned, in
care of E. Gerry Brown, Editor of The Spiritual Scientist, 18,
HENRY S. OLCOTT.
HELEN P. BLAVATSKY.
I AM truly sorry that a Spiritualist paper like The Religio-Philosophical Journal, which claims to instruct and enlighten its readers, should suffer such trash as Mr. Jesse Sheppard is contributing to its columns to appear without review. I will not dwell upon the previous letter of this very gifted personage, although everything he has said concerning Russia and life at St. Petersburg might be picked to pieces by anyone having merely a superficial acquaintance with the place and the people; nor will I stop to sniff at his nosegays of high-sounding names—his Princess Boulkoffs and Princes This and That, which are as preposterously fictitious as though, in speaking of Americans, some Russian singing-medium were to mention his friends Prince Jones or Duke Smith, or Earl Brown—for if he chooses to manufacture noble patrons from the oversloppings of his poetic imagination, and it amuses him or his readers, no great harm is done. But when it comes to his saying the things he does in the letter of July 3rd in that paper, it puts quite a different face upon the matter. Here he pretends to give historical facts—which never existed. He tells of things he saw clairvoyantly, and his story is such a tissue of ridiculous, gross anachronisms that they not only show his utter ignorance of Russian history, but are calculated to injure the cause of Spiritualism by throwing doubt upon all clairvoyant descriptions. Secondarily in importance they destroy his own reputation for veracity, stamp him as a trickster and a false writer, and bring the gravest suspicion upon his claim to possess any mediumship whatever.
What faith can anyone, acquainted with the rudiments of history, have in a medium who sees another (Catherine II) giving orders to strangle her son (Paul I), when we all know that the Emperor Paul ascended the throne upon the decease of the very mother whom the inventive genius of this musical prodigy makes guilty of infanticide?
Permit me, 0 young seer and Spiritualist, as a Russian somewhat
37 ———————————————————————A REBUKE.
read in the history of her country, to refresh your memory. Spiritualism has been laughed at quite enough recently in consequence of such pious frauds as yours, and as Russian savants are about to investigate the subject, we may as well go to them with clean hands. The journal which gives you its hospitality goes to my country, and its interests will certainly suffer if you are allowed to go on with your embroidery and spangle-work without rebuke. Remember, young poetico-historian, that the Emperor Paul was the paternal grandfather of the present Czar, and everyone who has been at St. Petersburg knows that the “old palace,” which to your spiritual eye wears such “an appearance of dilapidation and decay, worthy of a castle of the Middle Ages,” and the one where your Paul was strangled, is an every-day, modern-looking, respectable building, the successor of one which was pulled down early in the reign of the late Emperor Nicholas, and known from the beginning until now as the Pawlowsky Military College for the “Cadets.” And the two assassins, begotten in your clairvoyant loins—Petreski and Kofski! Really now, Mr. Sheppard, gentlemanly assassins ought to be very much obliged to you for these pretty aliases!
It is fortunate for you, dear
sir, that it did not occur to you to discuss these questions in St. Petersburg,
and that you evolved your history from the depths of your own consciousness,
for in our autocratical country one is not permitted to discuss the little
unpleasantnesses of the imperial family history, and the rule would not be
relaxed for a Spanish grandee, or even that more considerable personage, an
American singing-medium. An attempt on your part to do so would assuredly have
interfered with your grand concert, under imperial patronage, and might have
led to your journeying to the borders of
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
OCCULTISM OR MAGIC
AMONG the numerous sciences pursued by the well-disciplined army of earnest students of the present century, none has had less honours or more scoffing than the oldest of them—the science of sciences, the venerable mother-parent of all our modern pigmies. Anxious in their petty vanity to throw the veil of oblivion over their undoubted origin, the self-styled positive scientists, ever on the alert, present to the courageous scholar who tries to deviate from the beaten highway traced out for him by his dogmatic predecessors, a formidable range of serious obstacles.
As a rule, Occultism is a dangerous, double-edged weapon for one to handle who is unprepared to devote his whole life to it. The theory of it, unaided by serious practice, will ever remain in the eyes of those prejudiced against such an unpopular cause an idle, crazy speculation, fit only to charm the ears of ignorant old women. When we cast a look behind us and see how for the last thirty years modern Spiritualism has been dealt with, notwithstanding the occurrence of daily, hourly proofs which speak to all our senses, stare us in the eyes, and utter their voices from “beyond the great gulf,” how can we hope, I say, that Occultism or Magic—which stands in relation to Spiritualism as the infinite to the finite, as the cause to the effect, or as unity to multifariousness—will easily gain ground where Spiritualism is scoffed at? One who rejects priori or even doubts the immortality of man’s soul can never believe in its Creator; and, blind to what is heterogeneous in his eyes, will remain still more blind to the proceeding of the latter from homogeneity. In relation to the Kabalah, or the compound mystic text-book of the great secrets of Nature, we do not know of anyone in the present century who could have commanded a sufficient dose of that moral courage which fires the heart of the true Adept with the sacred flame of propagandism, to force him into defying public opinion by displaying familiarity with that sublime work. Ridicule is the dead-
39————————————————————OCCULTISM OR MAGIC.
liest weapon of the age, and while we read in the records of history of thousands of martyrs who joyfully braved flames and faggots in support of their mystic doctrines in the past centuries, we would scarcely be likely to find one individual in the present times who would be brave enough even to defy ridicule by seriously undertaking to prove the great truths embraced in the traditions of the Past.
As an instance of the above, I
will mention the article on Rosicrucianism, signed “Hiraf.” This ably-written
essay—notwithstanding some fundamental errors, which, though they are such,
would be hardly noticed except by those who had devoted their lives to the
study of Occultism in its various branches of practical teaching—indicates with
certainty to the practical reader that, for theoretical knowledge, at least,
the author need fear few rivals, still less superiors. His modesty, which I
cannot too much appreciate in his case—though he is safe enough behind the mask
of his fancy pseudonym—need not give him any apprehensions. There are few
critics in this country of Positivism who would willingly risk themselves in an
encounter with such a powerful disputant, on his own ground. The weapons he
seems to hold in reserve, in the arsenal of his wonderful memory, his learning,
and his readiness to give any further information that enquirers may wish for,
will undoubtedly scare off every theorist, unless he is perfectly sure of
himself, which few are. But book-learning—and here I refer only to the subject
of Occultism—vast as it may be, will always
prove insufficient even to the analytical mind—the most accustomed to extract the quintessence of truth, disseminated throughout thousands of
contradictory statements—unless supported by personal experience and practice. Hence “Hiraf” can only expect an encounter with some one who may hope to find a chance to refute some of his bold assertions on the plea of having just such a slight practical experience. Still, it must not be understood that these present lines are intended to criticize our too modest essayist. Far from poor, ignorant me be such a presumptuous thought. My desire is simple: to help him in his scientific, but, as I said before, rather hypothetical researches, by telling a little of the little I picked up in my long travels throughout the length and breadth of the East—that cradle of Occultism—in the hope of correcting certain erroneous notions he seems to be labouring under, and which are calculated to confuse uninitiated sincere enquirers, who might desire to drink at his own source of knowledge.
In the first place, “Hiraf” doubts whether there are in existence, in
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“Hiraf” ought to add to the word Rosicrucianism “that particular sect” at least, for it was but a sect after all, one of many branches of the same tree.
By forgetting to specify that particular denomination and by including under the name of Rosicrucians all those who, devoting their lives to Occultism congregated together in Brotherhoods, “Hiraf” commits an error by which he may unwittingly lead people to believe that the Rosicrucians having disappeared, there are no more Kabalists practising Occultism on the face of the earth. He also becomes thereby guilty of an anachronism, attributing to the Rosicrucians the building of the pyramids and other majestic monuments, which indelibly exhibit in their architecture the symbols of the grand religions of the past. For it is not so. If the main object in view was, and still is, alike, with all the great family of the ancient and modern Kabalists, the dogmas and formulas of certain sects differ greatly. Springing one after the other from the great Oriental mother-root, they scattered broadcast all over the world, and each of them desiring to out-rival the other by plunging deeper and deeper into the secrets jealously guarded by Nature, some of them became guilty of the greatest heresies against the primitive Oriental Kabalah.
While the first followers of the secret sciences, taught to the Chaldæans by nations whose very name was never breathed in history, remained stationary in their studies, having arrived at the maximum, the Omega of the knowledge permitted to man, many of the subse-
41 ————————————————————OCCULTISM OR MAGIC.
quent sects separated from them, and, in their uncontrollable thirst for more knowledge, trespassed beyond the boundaries of truth and fell into fictions. In consequence of Pythagoras—so says Jamblichus— having by sheer force of energy and daring penetrated into the mysteries of the Temple of Thebes, obtained therein his initiation and afterwards studied the sacred sciences in Egypt for twenty-two years, many foreigners were subsequently admitted to share the knowledge of the wise men of the East, who, as a consequence, had many of their secrets divulged. Later still, unable to preserve them in their purity, these mysteries were so mixed up with fictions and fables of the Grecian mythology that truth was wholly distorted.
As the primitive Christian religion divided, in course of time, into numerous sects, so the science of Occultism gave birth to a variety of doctrines and various brotherhoods. So the Egyptian Ophites became the Christian Gnostics, shooting forth the Basilideans of the second century, and the original Rosicrucians created subsequently the Paracelsists, or Fire Philosophers, the European Alchemists, and other physical branches of their sect. (See Hargrave Jennings’ Rosicrucians.) To call indifferently every Kabalist a Rosicrucian, is to commit the same error as if we were to call every Christian a Baptist on the ground that the latter are also Christians.
The Brotherhood of the Rosy
Cross was not founded until the middle of the thirteenth century. and
notwithstanding the assertions of the learned Mosheim, it derives its name
neither from the Latin word Ros (dew), nor from a cross, the symbol of Lux. The
origin of the Brotherhood can he ascertained by any earnest, genuine student of
Occultism, who happens to travel in Asia Minor, if he chooses to fall in with
some of the Brotherhood, and if he is willing to devote himself to the
head-tiring work of deciphering a Rosicrucian manuscript—the hardest thing in
the world-—for it is carefully preserved in the archives of the very Lodge
which was founded by the first Kabalist of that name, but which now goes by
another name. The founder of it, a German Ritter, of the name of Rosencranz,
was a man who, after acquiring a very suspicious reputation through the
practice of the Black Art in his native place, reformed in consequence of a
vision. Giving up his evil practices, he made a solemn vow, and went on foot to
A MODERN PANARION.
virtuous descendants of the botanical as well as astrological and magical Chald to Rosencranz, a Christian would say, in a vision, but I would suggest, in the shape of a materialized spirit. The purport of this visitation, as well as the subject of their conversation, remained for ever a mystery to many of the Brethren; but immediately after that, the ex-sorcerer and Ritter disappeared, and was heard of no more till the mysterious sect of Rosicrucians was added to the family of Kabalists, and their powers aroused popular attention, even among the Eastern populations, indolent and accustomed as they are to live among wonders. The Rosicrucians strove to combine together the most various branches of Occultism, and they soon became renowned for the extreme purity of their lives and their extraordinary powers, as well as for their thorough knowledge of the secret of secrets.
As alchemists and conjurers
they became proverbial. Later (I need not inform “Hiraf” precisely when, as we
drink at two different sources of knowledge), they gave birth to the more
modern Theosophists, at whose head was Paracelsus, and to the Alchemists, one
of the most celebrated of whom was Thomas Vaughan (seventeenth century), who
wrote the most practical things on Occultism under the name of Eugenius
Philalethes. I know and can prove that
The Rosicrucian Kabalah is but an epitome of the Jewish and the Oriental ones, combined, the latter being the most secret of all. The Oriental Kabalah, the practical, full, and only existing copy, is carefully preserved at the headquarters of this Brotherhood in the East, and, I may safely vouch, will never come out of its possession. Its very existence has been doubted by many of the European Rosicrucians. One who wants “to become” has to hunt for his knowledge through thousands of scattered volumes, and pick up facts and lessons, bit by bit. Unless he takes the nearest way and consents “to be made,” he will never become a practical Kabalist, and with all his learning will remain at the threshold of the “mysterious gate.” The Kabalah may be used and its truths imparted on a smaller scale now than it was in antiquity, and the existence of the mysterious Lodge, on account of its secrecy, doubted, but it does exist and has lost none of the primitive secret powers of the ancient Chaldæans The lodges, few in number, are divided into sections and known but to the Adepts; no one would be likely to find them out, unless the Sages themselves found the neophyte worthy of initiation. Unlike the European Rosicrucians—who,
43 ————————————————————OCCULTISM OR MAGIC.
in order “to become and not to be made,” have constantly put into practice the word of St. John, who says, “Heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force,” and who have struggled alone, violently robbing Nature of her secrets—the Oriental Rosicrucians (for such we will call them, being denied the right to pronounce their true name), in the serene beatitude of their divine knowledge, are ever ready to help the earnest student struggling “to become” with practical knowledge, which dissipates, like a heavenly breeze, the blackest clouds of sceptical doubt.
“Hiraf” is right again when he says that
Knowing that their mysteries,
if divulged, in the present chaotic state of society, would produce mere
confusion and death,
they shut up that knowledge within themselves. Heirs to the early heavenly wisdom of their first forefathers, they keep the keys which unlock the most guarded of Nature’s secrets, and impart them only gradually and with the greatest caution. But still they do impart sometimes.
Once all such a cercle vicieux, “Hiraf” sins likewise in a certain comparison he makes between Christ, Buddha, and Khoung-foo-tsee, or Confucius. A comparison can hardly be made between the two former wise and spiritual Illuminati, and the Chinese philosopher. The higher aspirations and views of the two Christs can have nothing to do with the cold, practical philosophy of the latter, brilliant anomaly as he was among a naturally dull and materialistic people, peaceful and devoted to agriculture from the earliest ages of their history. Confucius can never bear the slightest comparison with the two great Reformers. Whereas the principles and doctrines of Christ and Buddha were calculated to embrace the whole of humanity, Confucius confined his attention solely to his own country, trying to apply his profound wisdom and philosophy to the wants of his countrymen, and little troubling his head about the rest of mankind. Intensely Chinese in patriotism and views, his philosophical doctrines are as much devoid of the purely poetic element, which characterizes the teachings of Christ and Buddha, the two divine types, as the religious tendencies of his people lack in that spiritual exaltation which we find, for instance, in India. Khoung-foo-tsee has not even the depth of feeling and the slight spiritual striving of his contemporary, Lao-tsee. Says the learned Ennemoser:
A MODERN PANARION.
The spirits of Christ and Buddha have left indelible, eternal traces all over the face of the world. The doctrines of Confucius can he mentioned only as the most brilliant proceedings of cold human reasoning.
Their heavy, childish, cold, sensual nature explains the peculiarities of their history.
Hence any comparison between the first two Reformers and Confucius, in an essay on Rosicrucianism, in which “Hiraf” treats of the Science of Sciences and invites the thirsty for knowledge to drink at her inexhaustible source, seems inadmissible.
Further, when our learned author asserts so dogmatically that the Rosicrucian learns, though he never uses, the secret of immortality in earthly life, he asserts only what he himself, in his practical inexperience, thinks impossible. The words “never” and “impossible” ought to be erased from the dictionary of humanity, until the time at least when the great Kabalah shall all be solved, and so rejected or accepted. The Count St. Germain is, until this very time, a living mystery, and the Rosicrucian Thomas Vaughan another one. The countless authorities we have in literature, as well as in oral tradition (which sometimes is the more trustworthy), about this wonderful Count’s having been met and recognized in different centuries, is no myth. Anyone who admits one of the practical truths of the occult sciences taught by the Kabalah tacitly admits them all. It must be Hamlet’s “to be or not to be,” and if the Kabalah is true, then St. Germain need be no myth.
But I am digressing from my object, which is, firstly, to show the slight differences between the two Kabalahs, that of the Rosicrucians and time Oriental one; and, secondly, to say that the hope expressed by “Hiraf” to see the subject better appreciated at some future day than it has been till now, may perhaps become more than a hope. Time will show man things; till then, let us heartily thank “Hiraf” for this first well-aimed shot at those stubborn scientific runaways, who, once before the Truth, avoid looking her in the face, and dare not even throw a glance behind them, lest they should be forced to see that which would greatly lessen their self-sufficiency. As a practical follower of Eastern Spiritualism, I can confidently wait for the time, when, with the timely help of those ‘‘who know,’’ American Spiritualism, which even in its present shape has proved such a sore in the side of the materialists, will become a science and a thing of mathematical certi-
45 ———————————————————OCCULTISM OR MAGIC.
tude, instead of being regarded only as the crazy delusion of epileptic monomaniacs.
The first Kabalah in which a mortal man ever dared to explain the greatest mysteries of the universe, and show the keys to
Those masked doors in the ramparts of Nature through which no mortal can ever pass without rousing dread sentries never seen upon this side her wall,
was compiled by a certain
Simeon Ben Iochai, who lived at the time of the second
In consequence of the personal ambition of this great prophet medium, he succeeded in passing off his familiar spirit, the wrathful “Jehovah,” for the spirit of God himself, and so won undeserved laurels and honours. The same influence prompted him to alter some of the principles of the great oral Kabalah in order to make them the more secret. These principles were laid out in symbols by him in the first four books of the Pentateuch, but for some mysterious reasons he with held them from Deuteronomy. Having initiated his seventy Elders in his own way, the latter could give but what they had received them selves, and so was prepared the first opportunity for heresy, and the erroneous interpretation of the symbols. While the Oriental Kabalah remained in its pure primitive shape, the Mosaic or Jewish one was full of drawbacks, and the keys to many of the secrets—forbidden by the Mosaic law—purposely misinterpreted. The powers conferred by it on the Initiates were formidable still, and of all the most renowned
A MODERN PANARION.
Kabalists, King Solomon and
his bigoted parent, David, not withstanding his penitential psalms, were the
most powerful. But still the doctrine remained secret and purely oral, until,
as I have said before, the days of the second
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
A MOST outrageous swindle was
perpetrated upon the public last Sunday evening at the Boston Theatre. Some
persons with no higher aspirations in the world than a lust for a few dollars
to fill their pockets, depleted by unsuccessful cheap shows, advertised a
“séance,” and engaged as “mediums” some of the most impudent impostors with
which the world is cursed. They furthermore abused public confidence by causing
it to be understood that these people were to appear before the scientific
Is it not about time that some
The press of
As a proof of the sincerity of
SIR,—The undersigned desire to
say that the persons who advertised a so-called spiritualistic exhibition at
the Boston Theatre last evening were guilty of false representations to the
public. We are alone empowered by the
A MODERN PANARION.
who shall be invited by that body to display their powers during the forthcoming scientific investigation of Spiritualism, and Mr. H. Gerry Brown, editor . Scientist, of this city, is our only authorized deputy.
Neither “F. Warren,” “Prof. J. T. Bates,” “Miss I “Mrs. S. Gould,” nor “Miss Lillie Darling” has been selected, or is at all likely to be selected for that honour.
As this swindle may be again
attempted, we desire to say, once for all, that no medium accepted by us will
be obliged to exhibit his powers to earn money to de fray his expenses, nor
will any such exhibition be tolerated. The Imperial University of St.
Petersburg makes its investigation in the interest of science—not to assist
charlatans to give juggling performances in theatres, upon the strength of our
HENRY S. OLC0YT.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
THE SEARCH AFTER OCCULTISM
[ The Spiritual Scientist.]
BEING daily in receipt of numerous letters, written with the view of obtaining advice as to the best method of receiving information respecting Occultism, and the direct relation it bears to modern Spiritualism, and not having sufficient time at my disposal to answer these requests, I now propose to facilitate the mutual labour of myself and correspondents by naming herein a few of the principal works treating upon Magism, and the mysteries of such modern Hermetists.
To this I feel bound to add, respecting what I have stated before, to wit: that would-be aspirants must not lure themselves with the idea of any possibility of their becoming practical Occultists by mere book-knowledge. The works of the Hermetic philosophers were never intended for the masses, as Mr. Charles Sotheran, a learned member of the Society Rosæ Crucis, in a late essay observes;
Gabriel Rossetti in his disquisitions on the anti-papal spirit which produced the Reformation shows that the art of speaking and writing in a language which bears a double interpretation is of very great antiquity, that it was in practice among the priests of Egypt, brought thence by the Manichees, whence it passed to the Ternplars and Albigenses, spread over Europe, and brought about the Reformation.
The ablest book that was ever written on Symbols and Mystic Orders, is most certainly Hargrave Jennings’ The Rosicrucians, and yet it has been repeatedly called “obscure trash” in my presence, and that too, by individuals who were most decidedly well-versed in the rites and mysteries of modern Freemasonry. Persons who lack even the latter knowledge, can easily infer from this what would be the amount of information they might derive from still more obscure and mystical works; for if we compare Hargrave Jennings’ book with some of the mediæval treatises and ancient works of the most noted Alchemists and Magi, we might find the latter as much more obscure than the former—as regards language—as a pupil in celestial philosophy would
50 ————————————————————A M0DERN PANARION.
find the Book of the Heavens, if he should examine a far distant star with the naked eye, rather than with the help of a powerful telescope. Far from me, though, the idea of disparaging in anyone the laudable impulse to search ardently after Truth, however arid and ungrateful the task may appear at first sight; for my own principle has ever been to make the Light of Truth the beacon of my life. The words uttered by Christ eighteen centuries ago: “Believe and you will understand,” can be applied in the present case, and repeating them with but a slight modification, I may well say: “Study and you will believe.”
But to particularize one or another book on Occultism, to those who are anxious to begin their studies in the hidden mysteries of nature, is something the responsibility of which I am not prepared to assume. What may be clear to one who is intuitional, if read in the same book by another person might prove meaningless. Unless one is prepared to devote to it his whole life, the superficial knowledge of Occult Sciences will lead him surely to become the target for millions of ignorant scoffers to aim their blunderbusses loaded with ridicule and chaff against. Besides this, it is in more than one way dangerous to select this science as a mere pastime. One must bear for ever in mind the impressive fable of Œdipus, and beware of the same consequences. Œdipus unriddled but one-half of the enigma offered him by the Sphinx and caused its death; the other half of the mystery avenged the death of the symbolic monster, and forced the King of Thebes to prefer blindness and exile in his despair rather than face what he did not feel him self pure enough to encounter. He unriddled the man, the form, and had forgotten God, the idea.
If a man would follow in the steps of Hermetic philosophers he must prepare himself beforehand for martyrdom. He must give up personal pride and all selfish purposes, and be ready for everlasting encounters with friends and foes. He must part, once for all, with every remembrance of his earlier ideas, on all and on everything. Existing religions, knowledge, science, must rebecome a blank book for him, as in the days of his babyhood, for if he wants to succeed he must learn a new alphabet on the lap of Mother Nature, every letter of which will afford a new insight to him, every syllable and word an Unexpected revelation. The two hitherto irreconcilable foes, science and theology—the Montecchi and Capuletti of the nineteenth century—will ally themselves with the ignorant masses against the modern Occultist. If we have outgrown the age of stakes, we are in the heyday, per
51 ——————————————————THE SEARCH AFTER OCCULTISM.
contra, of slander, the venom of the press, and all these mephitic venticelli of calumny so vividly expressed by the immortal Don Basilio. To science it will be the duty—arid and sterile as a matter of course—of the Kabbalist to prove that from the beginning of time there was but one positive science—Occultism; that it was the mysterious lever of all intellectual forces, the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil of the allegorical paradise, from whose gigantic trunk sprang in every direction boughs, branches and twigs, the former shooting forth straight enough at first, the latter deviating with every inch of growth, assuming more and more fantastical appearances, till at last one after the other lost its vital juice, got deformed, and, drying up, finally broke off, scattering the ground afar with heaps of rubbish. To theology the Occultist of the future will have to demonstrate that the Gods of the mythologies, the Elohims of Israel as well as the religious and theological mysteries of Christianity, to begin with the Trinity, sprang from the sanctuaries of Memphis and Thebes; that their mother Eve is but the spiritualized Psyche of old, both of them paying a like penalty for their curiosity, descending to Hades or hell, the latter to bring back to earth the famous Pandora’s box, the former to search out and crush the head of the serpent—symbol of time and evil, the crime of both expiated by the pagan Prometheus and the Christian Lucifer; the first delivered by Hercules, the second conquered by the Saviour.
Furthermore, the Occultist will have to prove to Christian theology, publicly, what many of its priesthood are well aware of in secret, namely, that their God on earth was a Kabbalist, the meek representative of a tremendous Power, which, if misapplied, might shake the world to its foundations; and that of all their evangelical symbols, there is not one but can be traced up to its parent fount. For instance, their incarnated Verbum or Logos was worshipped at his birth by the three Magi led on by the star, and received from them the gold, the frankincense and myrrh—the whole of which is simply an excerpt from the Kabalah our modern theologians despise, and the representation of another and still more mysterious “Ternary” embodying allegorically in its emblems the highest secrets of the Kabalah.
A clergy whose main object has ever been to make of their Divine Cross the gallows of Truth and Freedom, could not do otherwise than try and bury in oblivion the origin of that same cross, which, in the most primitive symbols of the Egyptians’ magic, represents the key to heaven. Their anathemas are powerless in our days—the multitude is
A MODERN PANARION.
wiser; but the greatest danger awaits us just in that latter direction, if we do not succeed in making the masses remain at least neutral—till they come to know better—in this forthcoming conflict between Truth, Superstition and Presumption, or to express it in other terms, Occult Spiritualism, Theology and Science. We have to fear neither the miniature thunderbolts of the clergy, nor the unwarranted negations of science. But Public Opinion, this invisible, intangible, omnipresent, despotic tyrant—this thousand-headed Hydra, the more dangerous for being composed of individual mediocrities—is not an enemy to be scorned by any would-be Occultist, courageous as he may be. Many of the far more innocent Spiritualists have left their sheepskins in the clutches of this ever-hungry, roaring lion, for he is the most dangerous of our three classes of enemies. What will be the fate in such a case of an unfortunate Occultist, if he once succeeds in demonstrating the close relationship existing between the two? The masses of people, though they do not generally appreciate the science of truth or have real knowledge, on the other hand are unerringly directed by mere instinct; they have intuitionally—if I may be allowed to so express myself—an idea of what is formidable in its genuine strength. People will never conspire except against real Power. In their blind ignorance, the Mysteries and the Unknown have been, and ever will be, objects of terror for them. Civilization may progress; human nature will remain the same throughout all ages. Occultists, beware!
Let it be understood then that
I address myself but to the truly courageous and persevering. Besides the
danger expressed above, the difficulties in becoming a practical Occultist in
this country are next to insurmountable. Barrier upon barrier, obstacles in
every form and shape, will present themselves to the student; for the keys of
53 ——————————————————THE SEARCH AFTER OCCULTISM.
the elements of the Kabalah from whose mysterious bosom sprang all the religions of the past and present; which endowed all the Free-masonic associations with their symbols and secrets, which alone can reconcile human reason with God and Faith, Power with Freedom, Science with Mystery, and which has alone the keys of present, past and future.
The first difficulty for the aspirant lies in the utter impossibility of his comprehending, as I said before, the meaning of the best books written by Hermetic philosophers. These, who mainly lived in the mediæval ages, prompted on the one hand by their duty towards their brethren, and by their desire to impart only to them and their successors the glorious truths, and on the other very naturally desirous to avoid the clutches of the bloodthirsty Christian Inquisition, enveloped themselves more than ever in mystery. They invented new signs and hieroglyphs, renovated the ancient symbolical language of the high priests of antiquity, who had used it as a sacred barrier between their holy rites and the ignorance of the profane, and created a veritable Kabalistic slang. This latter, which continually blinded the false neophyte, attracted towards the science only by his greediness for wealth and power which he would have surely misused were he to succeed, is a living, eloquent, clear language, but it is and can become such only to the true disciple of Hermes.
But were it even otherwise, and could books on Occultism, written in a plain and precise language be obtained in order to get initiated in the Kabalah, it would not be sufficient to understand and meditate on certain authors. Galatinus and Pic de la Mirandola, Paracelsus and Robertus de Fluctibus do not furnish one with the key to the practical mysteries. They simply state what can be done and why it is done; but they do not tell one how to do it. More than one philosopher who has by heart the whole of the Hermetic literature, and who has devoted to the study of it upwards of thirty or forty years of his life, fails when he believes he is about reaching the final great result. One must understand the Hebrew authors, such as Sepher Yelzirah, for instance, learn by heart the great book of the Zohar in its original tongue, master the Kabalah Denudata from the Collection of 1684 (Paris); follow up the Kabalistic pneumatics at first, and then throw oneself headlong into the turbid waters of that mysterious * . . . never tried to explain:
the Prophecy of Ezekiel and
the Apocalypse, two Kabalistic treatises,
* The cutting is here imperfect—some paragraph or so wanting.
54 ————————————————————A M0DERN PANARION.
reserved without doubt for the commentaries of the Magi kings, books closed with the seven seals to the faithful Christian, but perfectly clear to the Infidel initiated in the Occult Sciences.
Thus the works on Occultism, were not, I repeat, written for the masses, but for those of the Brethren who make the solution of the mysteries of the Kabalah the principal object of their lives, and who are supposed to have conquered the first abstruse difficulties of the Alpha of Hermetic philosophy.
To fervent and persevering candidates for the above science, I have to offer but one word of advice, “try and become.” One single journey to the Orient, made in the proper spirit, and the possible emergencies arising from the meeting of what may seem no more than the chance acquaintances and adventures of any traveller, may quite as likely as not throw wide open to the zealous student the heretofore closed doors of the final mysteries. I will go farther and say that such a journey, performed with the omnipresent idea of the one object, and with the help of a fervent will, is sure to produce more rapid, better, and far more practical results, than the most diligent study of Occultism in books—even though one were to devote to it dozens of years.
In the name of Truth, yours,
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
THE SCIENCE OF MAGIC
HAPPENING to be on a visit to Ithaca, where spiritual papers in general, and The Banner of Light in particular, are very little read, but where, luckily, The Scientist has found hospitality in several houses, I learned through your paper of the intensely interesting and very erudite attack in an editorial of The Banner, on “Magic,” or rather on those who had the absurdity to believe in Magic. As hints concerning myself—at least in the fragment I see—are very decently veiled, and, as it appears, Col. Olcott alone, just now, is offered by way of a pious holocaust on the altar erected to the angel-world by some Spiritualists, who seem to be terribly in earnest, I will—leaving the said gentleman to take care of himself, provided he thinks it worth his trouble—proceed to say a few words only, in reference to the alleged non-existence of Magic.
Were I to give anything on my own authority and base my defence of Magic only on what I have seen myself and know to he true in relation to that science, as a resident of many years’ standing in India and Africa, I might, perhaps, risk to be called by Mr. Colby—with that unprejudiced, spiritualized politeness, which so distinguishes the venerable editor of The Banner of Light—”an irresponsible woman”; and that would not be for the first time either. Therefore, to his astonishing assertion that no Magic whatever either exists or has existed in this world, I will try to find as good authorities as himself, and maybe better ones, and thus politely proceed to contradict him on that particular point.
Heterodox Spiritualists, like myself, must be cautious in our days and proceed with prudence, if they do not wish to be persecuted with all the untiring vengeance of that mighty army of” Indian controls” and miscellaneous “guides” of our bright Summer-Land.
When the writer of the
editorial says that he—
Does not think it at all improbable that there are humbugging spirits who try to fool certain aspirants to occult knowledge with the notion that there is such a thing as magic, (?)
A MODERN PANARION.
then, on the other hand, I can answer him that I, for one, not only think it probable but I am perfectly sure and can take my oath to the certainty, that more than once spirits who were either very elementary or very unprogressed ones, calling themselves Theodore Parker, have been most decidedly fooling and disrespectfully humbugging our most esteemed editor of The Banner of Light into the notion that the Apennines were in Spain, for instance.
Furthermore, supported in my assertions by thousands of intelligent Spiritualists, generally known for their integrity and truthfulness I could furnish numberless proofs and instances where the Elementary Diakka, Esrito malims etfarfadeto and other such-like unreliable and ignorant denizens of the spirit-world, arraying themselves in pompous, world-known and famous names, suddenly gave the bewildered witnesses such deplorable, unheard-of, slipslop trash, and betirnes some thing worse, that more than one person who, previous to that, was an earnest believer in the spiritual philosophy, has either silently taken to his heels, or if he happened to have been formerly a Roman Catholic, has devoutly tried to recall to memory with which hand he used to cross himself, and then cleared out with the most fervent exclamation of “ Vade reyro, Satanas!” Such is the opinion of every educated Spiritualist.
If that indomitable Attila. the persecutor of modern Spiritualism and mediums, Dr. G. Beard, had offered such a remark against Magic, I would not wonder, as a too profound devotion to blue pill and black draught is generally considered the best antidote against mystic and spiritual speculations; but for a firm Spiritualist—a believer in invisible, mysterious worlds swarming with beings, the true nature of which is still an unriddled mystery to everyone—to step in and then sarcastically reject that which has been proved to exist and believed in for countless ages by millions of persons, wiser than himself, is too audacious! And that sceptic is the editor of a leading Spiritual paper!—a man whose first duty should be to help his readers to seek, untiringly and perseveringly, for the truth in whatever form it might present itself; but who takes the risk of dragging thousands of people into error, by pinning them to his personal rose-water faith and credulity. Every serious, earnest-minded Spiritualist must agree with me in saying, that if modern Spiritualism remains, for a few years only, in its present condition of chaotic anarchy, or still worse, if it is allowed to run its mad course, shooting forth on all sides idle hypotheses based on
57 ———————————————————THE SCIENCE OP MAGIC.
superstitious, groundless ideas, then will the Dr. Beards, Dr. Marvins and others, known as scientific (?) sceptics, triumph indeed.
Really, it seems to be a waste of time to answer such ridiculous, ignorant assertions as the one which forced me to take up my pen. Any well-read Spiritualist who finds the statement “that there ever was such a science as magic, has never been proved, nor ever will be,” will need no answer from myself, nor anyone else, to cause him to shrug his shoulders and smile, as he probably has smiled, at the wonderful attempt of Mr. Colby’s spirits to reorganize geography by placing the Apennines in Spain.
Why, man alive, did you never open a book in your life besides your own records of Tom, Dick and Harry descending from upper spheres to remind their Uncle Sam that he had torn his gaiters or broken his pipe in the far West?
Did you suppose that Magic is confined to witches riding astride broomsticks and then turning themselves into black cats? Even the latter superstitious trash, though it was never called Magic but Sorcery, does not appear so great an absurdity for one to accept who firmly believes in the transfiguration of Mrs. Compton into Katie Brinks. The laws of nature are unchangeable. The conditions under which a medium can be transformed, entirely absorbed in the process by the spirit, into the semblance of another person, will hold good whenever that spirit, or rather force, should have a fancy to take the form of a cat.
The exercise of magical power is the exercise of powers natural but superior to the ordinary functions of Nature. A miracle is not a violation of the laws of Nature, except for ignorant people. Magic is but a science, a profound knowledge of the Occult forces in Nature, and of the laws governing the visible or the invisible world. Spiritualism in the hands of an Adept becomes Magic, for he is learned in the art of blending together the laws of the universe, without breaking any of them and thereby violating Nature. In the hands of an experienced medium, Spiritualism becomes unconscious sorcery; for, by allowing himself to become the helpless tool of a variety of spirits, of whom he knows nothing save what the latter permit him to know, he opens, unknown to himself, a door of communication between the two worlds, through which emerge the blind forces of Nature lurking in the astral light, as well as good and bad spirits.
A powerful mesmerizer, profoundly learned in his science, such as
A MODERN PANARION.
Baron Dupotet, and Regazzoni
Pietro d’Amicis of
But to return to Magic. Such men as Albertus Magnus, Raymond Lulli, Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, Robert Fludd, Eugenius Philalethes, Kunrath, Roger Bacon and others of similar character, in our sceptical century, are generally taken for visionaries; but so, too, are modern Spiritualists and mediums—nay worse, for charlatans and poltroons; but never were the Hermetic philosophers taken by anyone for fools and idiots, as, unfortunately for ourselves and the cause, every unbeliever takes all of us believers in Spiritualism to be. Those Hermetics and philosophers may be disbelieved and doubted now, as everything else is doubted, but very few doubted their knowledge and power during their lifetime, for they could always prove what they claimed, having command over those forces which now command helpless mediums. They had their science and demonstrated philosophy to help them to throw down ridiculous negations, while we sentimental Spiritualists, rocking ourselves to sleep with our “Sweet Bye-and-Bye,” are now unable to recognize a spurious phenomenon from a genuine one, and are daily deceived by vile charlatans. Even though doubted then, as Spiritualism is in our day, still these philosophers were held in awe and reverence, even by those who did not implicitly believe in their Occult potency, for they were giants of intellect. Profound knowledge, as well as cultured intellectual powers, will always be respected and revered; but our mediums and their adherents are laughed at and scorned, and we are all made to suffer, because the phenomena are left to the whims and pranks of self-willed and other mischievous spirits, and we are utterly powerless in controlling them.
To doubt Magic is to reject History itself, as well as the testimony of ocular witnesses thereof, during a period embracing over 4,000 years. Beginning with Homer, Moses, Hermes, Herodotus, Cicero, Plutarch,
59 ————————————————————THE SCIENCE OF MAGIC.
Pythagoras, Apollonius of Tyana, Simon the Magician, Plato, Pausanias, Iamblichus, and following this endless string of great men— historians and philosophers, who all of them either believed in Magic or were magicians themselves—and ending with our modern authors, such as W. Howitt, Ennemoser, G. des Mousseaux, Marquis de Mirville and the late Eliphas Lévi who was a magician himself—among all of these great names and authors, we find but the solitary Mr. Colby, editor of The Banner of Light, who ignores that there ever was such a science as Magic. He innocently believes the whole of the sacred army of Bible prophets, commencing with Father Abraham, including Christ, to be merely mediums; in the eyes of Mr. Colby they were all of them acting under control! Fancy Christ, Moses, or an Apollonius of Tyana, controlled by an Indian guide! The venerable editor ignores, perhaps, that spiritual mediums were better known in those days to the ancients, than they are now to us, and he seems to be equally unaware of the fact that the inspired sibyls, pythonesses, and other mediums were entirely guided by their high priest and those who were initiated into the esoteric theurgy and mysteries of the temples. Theurgy was Magic; as in modern times, the sibyls and pythonesses were mediums; but their high priests were magicians. All the secrets of their theology, which included Magic, or the art of invoking ministering spirits, were in their hands. They possessed the science of discerning spirits; a science which Mr. Colby does not possess at all—to his great regret, no doubt. By this power they controlled the spirits at will, allowing but the good ones to absorb their mediums. Such is the explanation of Magic—the real, existing, While or Sacred Magic, which ought to be in the hands of science now, and would be, if science had profited by the lessons which Spiritualism has inductively taught for these last twenty-seven years.
That is the reason why no
trash was allowed to be given by unprogressed spirits in the days of old. The
oracles of the sibyls and inspired priestesses could never have affirmed
If the sceptical writer of the editorial had, moreover, devoted less time to little prattling Indian spirits and more to profitable lectures, he might have learned perhaps at the same time that the ancients had their illegal mediums—I mean those who belonged to no special temple—and thus the spirits controlling them, unchecked by the expert hand of the magician, were left to themselves, and had all the opportunity
A MODERN PANARION.
possible to perform their capers on their helpless tools. Such mediums were generally considered obsessed and possessed, which they were in fact, in other words, according to the Bible phraseology, “they had seven devils in them.” Furthermore, these mediums were ordered to be put to death, for the intolerant Moses the magician, who was learned in the wisdom of Egypt, had said, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Alone the Egyptians and Greeks, even more humane and just than Moses, took such into their temples, and, when found unfit for the sacred duties of prophecy cured them in the same way as Jesus Christ cured Mary of Magdala and many others, by “casting out the seven devils.” Either Mr. Colby and Co. must completely deny the miracles of Christ, the Apostles, Prophets, Thaumaturgists and Magicians, and so deny point-blank every bit of the sacred and profane histories, or he must confess that there is a Power in this world which can command spirits—at least the bad and unprogressed ones, the elementary and Diakka. The pure ones, the disembodied, will never descend to our sphere unless attracted by a current of powerful sympathy and love, or on some useful mission.
Far from me the thought of
casting odium and ridicule on all mediums. I am myself a Spiritualist, if, as
says Colonel Olcott, a firm belief in our spirit’s immortality and the
knowledge of a constant possibility for us to communicate with the spirits of
our departed and loved ones, either through honest, pure mediums, or by means
of the Secret Science, constitutes a Spiritualist. And I am not of those
fanatical Spiritualists, to be found in every country, who blindly accept the
claims of every “spirit,” for I have seen too much of various phenomena,
undreamed of in
61 ————————————————————THE SCIENCE OP MAGIC.
generally I am quick enough to detect whenever a medium is cheating under control, or cheating consciously.
Thus Magic exists, and has existed, ever since prehistoric ages. Beginning in history with the Samothracian Mysteries, it followed its course uninterruptedly, and ended for a time with the expiring theurgic rites and ceremonies of Christianized Greece; then reappeared for a time again with the Neo-Platonic, Alexandrian school, and, passing by initiation to sundry solitary students and philosophers, safely crossed the mediæval ages, and notwithstanding the furious persecutions of the Church, resumed its fame in the hands of such Adepts as Paracelsus and several others, and finally died out in Europe with the Count St. Germain and Cagliostro, to seek refuge from frozen-hearted scepticism in its native country of the East.
Some time since a Mr. Mendenhall devoted several columns, in The Religio-Philosophical Journal, to questioning, cross-examining, and criticizing the mysterious Brotherhood of Luxor. He made a fruitless attempt at forcing the said Brotherhood to answer him, and thus unveil the sphinx.
I can satisfy Mr. Mendenhall.
The Brotherhood of Luxor is one of the sections of the Grand Lodge of which I
am a member. If this gentleman entertains any doubt as to my statement—which I
have no doubt he will—he can, if he chooses, write to
A MODERN PANARION.
to be, the matter is more than easy; they have but to enquire of other spirits, look into my thoughts, and so on; for a disembodied entity, an immortal spirit, it is the easiest thing in the world to do. Then, if the gentleman I challenge, though I am deprived of the pleasure of his acquaintance, tells me the true name of the section—which name three gentlemen in New York, who are accepted neophytes of our Lodge, know well—I pledge myself to give to Mr. Mendenhall the true statement concerning the Brotherhood, which is not composed of spirits, as he may think, but of living mortals, and I will, moreover, if he desires it, put him in direct communication with the Lodge as I have done for others. Methinks, Mr. Mendenhall will answer that no such name can be given correctly by the spirits, for no such Lodge or Section either, exists at all, and thus close the discussion.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
(From The Spiritual Scientist.)
AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY
THE circumstances attending the sudden death of M. Delessert, inspector of the Police de Surete seem to have made such an impression upon the Parisian authorities that they were recorded in unusual detail. Omitting all particulars except what are necessary to explain matters, we produce here the undoubtedly strange history.
In the fall of 1861 there came
to Paris a man who called himself Vic de Lassa, and was so inscribed upon his
passports. He came from
They lodged in luxurious apartments on the Rue Richelieu, frequented the best places, received good company, entertained handsomely, and acted in every way as if possessed of considerable wealth. Lassa had always a good balance chez Schneider, Rater et Cie, the Austrian bankers in Rue Rivoli, and wore diamonds of conspicuous lustre.
How did it happen then, that the Prefect of Police saw fit to suspect Monsieur and Madame de Lassa, and detailed Paul Delessert, one of the most ruse inspectors of the force, to “pipe” him? The fact is, the insignificant man with the splendid wife was a very mysterious personage, and it is the habit of the police to imagine that mystery always hides either the conspirator, the adventurer, or the charlatan. The conclusion to which the Prefect had come in regard to M. de Lassa was
A MODERN PANARION.
that he was an adventurer and charlatan too. Certainly a successful one, then, for he was singularly unobtrusive and had in no way trumpeted the wonders which it was his mission to perform, yet in a few weeks after he had established himself in Paris the salon of M. de Lassa was the rage, and the number of persons who paid the fee of 100 francs for a single peep into his magic crystal, and a single message by his spiritual telegraph, was really astonishing. The secret of this was that M. de Lassa was a conjurer and deceiver, whose pretensions were omniscient and whose predictions always came true.
Delessert did not find it very difficult to get an introduction and admission to De Lassa’s salon. The receptions occurred every other day— two hours in the forenoon, three hours in the evening. It was evening when Inspector Delessert called in his assumed character of M. Flabry, virtuoso in jewels and a convert to Spiritualism. He found the handsome parlours brilliantly lighted, and a charming assemblage gathered of well-pleased guests, who did not at all seem to have come to learn their fortunes or fates, while contributing to the income of their host, but rather to be there out of complaisance to his virtues and gifts.
Mme. de Lassa performed upon the piano or conversed from group to group in a way that seemed to be delightful, while M. de Lassa walked about or sat in his insignificant, unconcerned way, saying a word now and then, but seeming to shun everything that was conspicuous. Servants handed about refreshments, ices, cordials, wines, etc. and Delessert could have fancied himself to have dropped in upon a quite modest evening entertainment, altogether en regle, but for one or two noticeable circumstances which his observant eyes quickly took in.
Except when their host or hostess was within hearing the guests conversed together in low tones, rather mysteriously, and with not quite so much laughter as is usual on such occasions. At intervals a very tall and dignified footman would come to a guest, and, with a profound bow, present him a card on a silver salver. The guest would then go out, preceded by the solemn servant, but when he or she returned to the salon—some did not return at all—they invariably wore a dazed or puzzled look, were confused, astonished, frightened, or amused. All this was so unmistakably genuine, and De Lassa and his wife seemed so unconcerned amidst it all, not to say distinct from it all, that Delessert could not avoid being forcibly struck and considerably puzzled.
Two or three little incidents, which came under Delessert’s own
65 ————————————————————AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY.
immediate observation, will suffice to make plain the character of the impressions made upon those present. A couple of gentlemen, both young, both of good social condition, and evidently very intimate friends, were conversing together and tutoying one another at a great rate, when the dignified footman summoned Alphonse. He laughed gaily, “Tarry a moment, cher Auguste,” said he, “and thou shalt know all the particulars of this wonderful fortune!” “En bien!” A minute had scarcely elapsed when Alphonse returned to the salon. His face was white and bore an appearance of concentrated rage that was frightful to witness. He came straight to Auguste, his eyes flashing, and bending his face toward his friend, who changed colour and recoiled, he hissed out: “Monsieur Lefèbure, vous êles Un láche ! ” Very well, Monsieur Meuner,” responded Auguste, in the same low tone, “tomorrow morning at !” “It is settled, false friend, execrable traitor! A la mort!” rejoined Alphonse, walking off. “Cela va sans dire!” muttered Auguste, going towards the hat-room.
A diplomatist of distinction,
“I am exceedingly sorry,” said General Von , “to have to absent myself so soon from your interesting salon, M. de Lassa, but the result of my séance convinces me that my dispatches have been tampered with.” “I am sorry,” responded M. de Lassa, with an air of languid but courteous interest; “I hope you may be able to discover which of your servants has been unfaithful.” “I am going to do that now,” said the General, adding, in significant tones, “I shall see that both he and his accomplices do not escape severe punishment.” “That is the only course to pursue, Monsieur le Comte.” The ambassador stared, bowed, and took his leave with a bewilderment in his face that was beyond the power of his tact to control.
In the course of the evening M. de Lassa went carelessly to the piano, and, after some indifferent vague preluding, played a remarkably effective piece of music, in which the turbulent life and buoyancy of bacchanalian strains melted gently, almost imperceptibly away, into a
A MODERN PANARION.
sobbing wail of regret, and languor, and weariness, and despair. It was beautifully rendered, and made a great impression upon the guests, one of whom, a lady, cried, “How lovely, how sad! Did you compose that yourself, M. de Lassa?” He looked towards her absently for an instant, Then replied: “I? Oh, no! That is merely a reminiscence, madame.” “Do you know who did compose it, M. de Lassa?” enquired a virtuoso present. “I believe it was originally written by Ptolemy Auletes, the father of Cleopatra,” said M. de Lassa, in his indifferent musing way; “but not in its present form. It has been twice re-written to my knowledge; still, the air is substantially the same.” “From whom did you get it, M. de Lassa, if I may ask?” persisted the gentleman. “Certainly, certainly! The last time I heard it played was by Sebastian Bach; but that was Palestrina’s—the present—version. I think I prefer that of Guido of Arezzo—it is ruder, but has more force. I got the air from Guido himself.” “You—from— Guido!” cried the astonished gentleman. “Yes, monsieur,” answered De Lassa, rising from the piano with his usual indifferent air. “Mon Dieu!” cried the virtuoso, putting his hand to his head after the manner of Mr. Twemlow, “Mon Dieu! that was in Anno Domni 1022.” “A little later than that—July, 1031. if I remember rightly,” courteously corrected M. de Lassa.
At this moment the tall footman bowed before M. Delessert, and presented the salver containing the card. Delessert took it and read:
“On vous accorde trente-cinq secondes, M. Flabry, tout au plus I” Delessert followed; the footman opened the door of another room and bowed again, signifying that Delessert was to enter. “Ask no questions,” he said briefly; “Sidi is mute.” Delessert entered the room and the door closed behind him. It was a small room, with a strong smell of frankincense pervading it; the walls were covered completely with red hangings that concealed the windows, and the floor was felted with a thick carpet. Opposite the door, at the upper end of the room near the ceiling was the face of a large clock, under it, each lighted by tall wax candles, were two small tables, containing, the one an apparatus very like the common registering telegraph instrument, the other a crystal globe about twenty inches in diameter, set upon an exquisitely wrought tripod of gold and bronze intermingled. By the side of the door stood a man jet black in colour, wearing a white turban and burnous, and having a sort of wand of silver in one hand. With the other he took Delessert by the right arm above the elbow, and led him quickly up the
67 ————————————————————AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY.
room. He pointed to the clock, and it struck an alarum; he pointed to the crystal. Delessert bent over, looked into it, and saw—a facsimile of his own sleeping-room, everything photographed exactly. Sidi did not give him time to exclaim, but still holding him by the arm, took him to the other table. The telegraph-like instrument began to click click. Sidi opened the drawer, drew out a slip of paper, crammed it into Delessert’s hand, and pointed to the clock, which struck again. The thirty-five seconds were expired. Sidi, still retaining hold of Delessert’s arm, pointed to the door and led him towards it. The door opened, Sidi pushed him out, the door closed, the tall footman stood there bowing—the interview with the oracle is over. Delessert glanced at the piece of paper in his hand. It was a printed scrap, capital letters, and read simply: “To M. Paul Delessert: The policeman is always welcome, the spy is always in danger!”
Delessert was dumbfounded a moment to find his disguise detected, but the words of the tall footman, “This way if you please, M. Flabry,” brought him to his senses. Setting his lips, he returned to the salon, and without delay sought M. de Lassa. “Do you know the contents of this?” asked he, showing the message. “I know everything, M. Delessert,” answered De Lassa, in his careless way. “Then perhaps you are aware that I mean to expose a charlatan, and unmask a hypocrite, or perish in the attempt?” said Delessert. “Cela rn’est egal, monsieur,” replied De Lassa. “You accept my challenge then?” “Oh! it is a defiance, then?” replied De Lassa, letting his eye rest a moment upon Delessert, “mais oui, je l’accepte!” And thereupon Delessert departed.
Delessert now set to work,
aided by all the forces the Prefect of Police could bring to bear, to detect
and expose this consummate sorcerer, whom the ruder processes of our ancestors
would easily have disposed of—by combustion. Persistent enquiry satisfied
Delessert that the man was neither a Hungarian nor was named De Lassa; that no
matter how far back his power of “reminiscence” might extend, in his present
and immediate form he had been born in this unregenerate world in the
toy-making city of Nuremburg; that he was noted in boyhood for his great turn
for ingenious manufactures, but was very wild, and a mauvais sujet. In his
sixteenth year he escaped to
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his own workshops, as well as for an assistant in the public performances of his amusing and curious diablerie. After staying with Houdin some years, Pflock Haslich (which was De Lassa’s right name) had gone East in the suite of a Turkish Pasha, and after many years’ roving, in lands where he could not be traced under a cloud of pseudonyms, had finally turned up in Venice, and come thence to Paris.
Delessert next turned his
attention to Mme. de Lassa. It was more difficult to get a clue by means of
which to know her past life; but it was necessary in order to understand enough
about Haslich. At last, through an accident, it became probable that Mme. Aimee
was identical with a certain Mme. Schlaff, who had been rather conspicuous
among the demi-monde of Buda. Delessert posted off to that ancient city, and
thence went into the wilds of
It happened that on the day of
Delessert’s return to
“What you have seen will be, Delessert, in three days. Prepare!” The detective, unspeakably shocked, retired from the house at once and sought his own lodgings.
In the morning he came to the office in a state of extreme dejection. He was completely unnerved. In relating to a brother inspector what had occurred, he said: “That man can do what he promises, I am doomed!”
He said that he thought he
could make a complete case out against Haslich alias De Lassa, but could not do
so without seeing the Prefect and getting instructions. He would tell nothing
in regard to his discoveries in Buda and in
69 ————————————————————AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY.
He was told to go to the
On the morning of the third day, Delessert, who had been staying chiefly indoors, avowed his determination to go at once and telegraph to M. le Prefet to return immediately. With this intention he and his brother officer started out. Just as they got to the corner of the Rue de Lanery and the Boulevard, Delessert stopped suddenly and put his hand to his forehead.
“My God!” he cried, “the crystal! the picture!” and fell prone upon his face, insensible. He was taken at once to a hospital, but only lingered a few hours, never regaining his consciousness. Under express instruction from the authorities, a most careful, minute, and thorough autopsy was made of Delessert’s body by several distinguished surgeons, whose unanimous opinion was, that the cause of his death was apoplexy, due to fatigue and nervous excitement.
As soon as Delessert was sent to the hospital, his brother inspector hurried to the Central Office, and De Lassa, together with his wife and everyone connected with the establishment, were at once arrested. D Lassa smiled contemptuously as they took him away. “I knew you were coming; I prepared for it; you will be glad to release me again.”
It was quite true that De Lassa had prepared for them. When the house was searched it was found that every paper had been burned, the crystal globe was destroyed, and in the room of the seances was a great heap of delicate machinery broken into indistinguishable bits. “That cost me 200,000 francs,” said De Lassa, pointing to the pile, “but it has been a good investment.” The walls and floors were ripped out in several places, and the damage to the property was considerable. In prison neither De Lassa nor his associates made any revelations. The notion that they had something to do with Delessert’s death was quickly dispelled, in a legal point of view, and all the party but De Lassa were released. He was still detained in prison, upon one pretext
A MODERN PANARION.
or another, when one morning he was found hanging by a silk sash to the cornice of the room where he was confined—dead. The night before, it was afterwards discovered, Madame de Lassa had eloped with a tall footman, taking the Nubian Sidi with them. De Lassa’s secrets died with him.
“It is an interesting story, that article of yours in to-day’s Scientist. But is it a record of facts, or a tissue of the imagination? If true, why not state the source of it, in other words, specify your authority for it.”
The above is not signed, but we would take the opportunity to say that the story, “An Unsolved Mystery,” was published because we considered the main points of the narrative—the prophecies, and the singular death of the officer—to be psychic phenomena, that have been, and can be, again produced. Why quote “authorities”? The Scriptures tell us of the death of Ananias, under the stern rebuke from Peter; here we have a phenomenon of a similar nature. Ananias is supposed to have suffered instant death from fear. Few can realize this power governed by spiritual laws, but those who have trod the boundary line and know some few of the things that can he done, will see no great mystery in this, nor in the story published last week. We are not speaking in mystical tones. Ask the powerful mesmerist if there is danger that the subject may pass out of his control?—if he could will the spirit out, never to return? It is capable of demonstration that the mesmerist can act on a subject at a distance of many miles; and it is no less certain that the majority of mesmerists know little or nothing of the laws that govern their powers.
It may be a pleasant dream to attempt to conceive of the beauties of the spirit-world; but the time can be spent more profitably in a study of the spirit itself, and it is not necessary that the subject for study should be in the spirit-world.
To the Editor of “ The Spiritual Scientist.”
DEAR SIR,—In advices just
received from St. Petersburg I am requested to translate and forward to The
Scientist for publication the protest of the Hon. Alexander Aksakoff, Imperial
Counsellor of State, against the course of the professors of the University
respecting the Spiritualistic investigation. The document appears, in Russian,
in the Vedomostji, the official journal of
This generous, high-minded, courageous gentleman has done the possible, and even the impossible, in order to open the spiritual eyes of those incurable moles who fear the daylight of truth as the burglar fears the policeman’s bull’s-eye.
The heartfelt thanks and gratitude of every Spiritualist ought to be forwarded to this noble defender of the cause, who regretted neither his time, trouble nor money to help the propagation of the truth.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
* See Appendix, “A. Aksakoff’s Protest.”
A MODERN PANARION
[From The Spiritual Scientist,
DEAR SIR,—For the last three months one has hardly been able to open a number of The Banner or the other papers, without finding one or more proofs of the fecundity of the human imagination in the condition of hallucination. The Spiritualist camp is in an uproar, and the clans are gathering to fight imaginary foes. The tocsin is sounded; danger signals shoot, like flaming rockets, across the hitherto serene sky, and warning cries are uttered by vigilant sentries posted at the four corners of the “angel-girt world.” The reverberations of this din resound even in the daily press. One would think that the Day of Judgment had come for American Spiritualism.
Why all this disturbance? Simply because two humble individuals have spoken a few wholesome truths. If the grand beast of the Apocalypse with its seven heads and the word “Blasphemy” written upon each, had appeared in heaven, there would hardly have been seen so much commotion there, as this; and there seems to be a concerted effort to cast out Col. Olcott and myself (coupled like a pair of Hermetic Siamese twins) as ominous to the superstitious as a comet with a fiery tail, and the precursor of war, plagues and other calamities. They seem to think that if they do not crush us, we will destroy Spiritualism.
I have no time to waste, and what I now write is not intended for the benefit of such persons as these—whose soap-bubbles, however pretty, are sure to burst of themselves—but to set myself right with many most estimable Spiritualists for whom I feel a sincere regard.
If the spiritual press of America were conducted upon a principle of doing even justice to all, I would send your contemporaries copies of this letter, but their course in the past has made me—whether rightly or not—feel as if no redress could be had outside of your columns. I shall be only too glad if their treatment, in this case, gives me cause to change my opinion that they, and their slandering theorists, are inspired
A MODERN PANARION.
by the biblical devils who left Mary Magdalene and returned to the land of the “Sweet Bye-and-Bye.”
To begin, I wish to unhook my
name from that of Col. Olcott, if you please, and declare that, as he is not
responsible for my views or actions, neither am I for his. He is bold enough
and strong enough to defend himself under all circumstances, and has never
allowed his adversaries to strike without knocking out two teeth to their one.
If our views on Spiritualism are in some degree identical, and our work in the
Theosophical Society pursued in common, we are, notwithstanding, two very
distinct entities and mean to remain such. I highly esteem Col. Olcott, as
everyone does who knows him. He is a gentle man; but what is more in my eyes,
he is an honest and true man, and an unselfish Spiritualist, in the proper
sense of that word. If he now sees Spiritualism in another light than orthodox
Spiritualists would prefer, they themselves are only to blame. He strikes at
the rotten places of their philosophy, and they do all they can to cover up the
ulcers instead of trying to cure them. He is one of the truest and most
unselfish friends that the cause has to-day in
This is not Spiritualism; it is, as I say, a New Lutheran Church, and really, though the late oracle of The Banner of Light was evidently a pure and true woman—for the breath of calumny, this raging demon of America, has never been able to soil her reputation—and though certainly she was a wonderful medium, still I don’t see why a Spiritualist should be ostracized, only because after having given up St. Paul, he or she does not strictly adhere to the doctrines of St. Conant.
A MODERN PANARION.
The last number of The Banner
contained a letter from a Mr. Saxon, criticizing some expressions in a recent
letter of Col. Olcott to the New,
Surely some magician, with his or her Kabalistic “Presto! Change!” has worked sudden and singular revolutions in the mind of this disciple of Occultism, this gentleman who “is” and “is not” a Spiritualist.
As I am the only Kabalist in
My experience shows that the worst enemies of mediums are mediums. Not content with slandering each other, they assail and. traduce their warmest and most unselfish friends.
A MODERN PANARION.
Whatever objection anyone may have to me on account of country, religion, occult study, rudeness of speech, cigarette-smoking, or any other peculiarity, my record in connection with Spiritualism for long years does not show me as making money by it, or gaining any other advantage, direct or indirect. On the contrary, those who have met me in all parts of the world (which I have circumnavigated three times), will testify that I have given thousands of dollars, imperilled my life, defied the Catholic Church—where it required more courage to do so than the Spiritualists seem to show about encountering elementaries—and in camp and court, on the sea, in the desert, in civilized and savage countries, I have been from first to last the friend and champion of mediums. I have done more. I have often taken the last dollar out of my pocket, and even necessary clothes off my back, to relieve their necessities.
And how do you think I have been rewarded? By honours, emoluments, and social position? Have I charged a fee for imparting to the public or individuals what little knowledge I have gathered in my travels and studies? Let those who have patronized our principal mediums answer.
I have been slandered in the
most shameful way, and the most unblushing lies circulated about my character
and antecedents by the very mediums whom I have been defending at the risk of
being taken for their confederate, when their tricks have been detected. What
has happened in American cities is no worse nor different from what has
befallen me in
Now, what do you suppose has sustained me throughout? Do you imagine that I could not see the disgusting frauds mixed up with the most divine genuine manifestations? Could I, having nothing to gain in money, power or any other consideration, have been content to pass through all these dangers, suffer all this abuse, and receive all these injurious insults, if I saw nothing in Spiritualism but what these critics
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of Col. Olcott and myself can see? Would the prospect of an eternity, passed in the angel-girt world, in company with unwashed Indian guides and military controls, with Aunt Sallies and Prof. Websters, have been inducement enough? No; I would prefer annihilation to such a prospect. It was because I knew that through the same golden gates which swung open to admit the elementary and those unprogressed human spirits who are worse, if anything, than they, have often passed the real and purified forms of the departed and blessed ones. Because, knowing the nature of these spirits and the laws of mediumistic control, I have never been willing to hold my calumniators responsible for the great evil they did, when they were often simply the unfortunate victims of obsession by unprogressed spirits. Who can blame me for not wishing to associate with or receive instruction from spirits who, if not far worse, were no better nor wiser than I? Is a man entitled to respect and veneration simply because his body is rotting under ground, like that of a dog? To me the grand object of my life was attained and the immortality of our spirit demonstrated. Why should I turn necromancer and evoke the dead, who could neither teach me nor make me better than I was? It is a more dangerous thing to play with the mysteries of life and death than most Spiritualists imagine.
Let them thank God for the great proof of immortality afforded them in this century of unbelief and materialism; and, if divine Providence has put them on the right path, let them pursue it by all means, but not stop to pass their time in dangerous talk indiscriminately with every one from the other side. The land of spirits, the Summer Land, as they call it here, is a terra incognita; no believer will deny it; it is vastly more unknown to every Spiritualist, as regards its various inhabitants, than a trackless virgin forest of Central Africa. And who can blame the pioneer settler if he hesitates to open his door to a knock, before assuring himself whether the visitor be man or beast?
Thus, just because of all that I have said above I proclaim myself a true Spiritualist, because my belief is built upon a firm ground, and that no exposure of mediums, no social scandal affecting them or others, no materialistic deductions of exact science, or sneers and denunciations of scientists, can shake it. The truth is coming slowly to light and I shall do my best to hasten its advent. I will breast the current of popular prejudice and ignorance. I am prepared to endure
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slander, foul insinuations and insult in the future as I have in the past. Already one spiritual editor, to most effectually demonstrate his spirituality, has called me a witch. I have survived, and hope to do so if two or two-score more should do the same; but whether I ride the air to attend my Sabbath or not, one thing is certain: I will not ruin myself to buy broomsticks upon which to chase after every lie set afloat by editors or mediums.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
A MODERN PANARION
[From The Spiritual Scientist.]
I BELIEVE Occultism to be essentially a reincarnation of ancient paganism, a revivification of the Pythagorean philosophy; not the senseless ceremonies and spiritless forms of those ancient religions, but the Spirit of the Truth which animated those grand old systems which held the world spell-bound in awe and reverence long after the spirit had departed, and nothing was left but the dead, decaying body.
Occultism asserts the eternal
individuality of the soul, the imperishable force which is the cause and
sustaining power of all organization, that death is only the casting off of a
worn-out garment in order to procure a new and better one.
So death, so-called, can but the form deface,
The immortal soul flies out in empty space,
To seek her fortune in another place.
Occultism, in its efforts to penetrate the arcana of dynamic forces and primordial power, sees in all things a unity, an unbroken chain extending from the lowest organic form to the highest, and concludes that this unity is based upon a uniformly ascending scale of organic forms of being, the Jacob’s ladder of spiritual organic experience, up which every soul must travel before it can again sing praises before the face of its Father. It perceives a duality in all things, a physical and spiritual nature, closely interwoven in each other’s embrace, interdependent upon each other, and yet independent of each other. And as there is in spirit-life a central individuality, the soul, so there is in the physical, the atom, each eternal, unchangeable and self-existent. These centres, physical and spiritual, are surrounded by their own respective atmospheres, the intersphering of which results in aggregation and organization. This idea is not limited to terrestrial life, but is extended to worlds and systems of worlds.
Physical existence is subservient to the spiritual, and all physical
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improvement and progress are only the auxiliaries of spiritual progress, without which there could be no physical progress. Physical organic progress is effected through hereditary transmission; spiritual organic progress by transmigration.
Occultism has divided spiritual progress into three divisions—the elementary, which corresponds with the lower organizations; the astral, which relates to the human; and the celestial, which is divine. “Elementary spirits,” whether they belong to “earth, water, air or fire,” are spirits not yet human, but attracted to the human by certain congenialities. As many physical diseases are due to the presence of parasites, attracted or produced by uncleanness and other causes, so parasitic spirits are attracted by immorality or spiritual uncleanness, thereby inducing spiritual diseases and consequent physical ailments. They who live on the animal plane must attract spirits of that plane, who seek for borrowed embodiments where the most congeniality exists in the highest form.
Thus the ancient doctrine of obsession challenges recognition, and the exorcism of devils is as legitimate as the expelling of a tape-worm, or the curing of the itch. It was also believed that these spiritual beings sustained their spiritual existence by certain emanations from physical bodies, especially when newly slain; thus in sacrificial offerings the priests received the physical part, and the Gods the spiritual, they being content with a “sweet-smelling savour.” It was further thought that wars were instigated by these demons, so that they might feast on the slain.
But vegetable food also held a place in spiritual estimation, for incense and fumigations were powerful instruments in the hands of the expert magician.
Above the elementary spheres were the seven planetary spheres, and as the elementary spheres were the means of progress for the lower animals, so were the planetary spheres the means of progress for spirits advanced from the elementary—for human spirits. The human spirit at death went to its associative star, till ready for a new incarnation, and its birth partook of the nature of the planet whence it came, and whose rays illumined the ascendant—the central idea of astrology. When the lessons of a planetary sphere were fully mastered, the spirit rose to the next sphere to proceed as before. The character of these spheres corresponded to the “seven ages of man.” But not always did the spirit return to the astral spheres. Suicides; those from whom life had been
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suddenly taken before fully ripe; those whose affections were inordinately attached to earthly things, etc., were held to the earth till certain conditions were fulfilled, and some whose lives had fitted them for such disposal were remanded to the elementary spheres, to be incarnated as lower animals, corresponding to the nature of their lives. Such were the perturbed spirits who sometimes disturbed the peace of sensitive mortals in the days gone by—perhaps now.
Transcending the planetary spheres were the three divine spheres where the process of apotheosis took place, where the spirit progressed till it reached the fulness of the Godhead bodily. From these spheres were appointed the Guardians of the inferior spheres, the Messengers of God, ministering spirits, sent to minister to them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation.
Such is a brief outline of spiritual Occult philosophy; it may seem to be inconsistent with the ideas of modern Spiritualism, yet even Spiritualism has not altogether lost sight of the seven spheres and other peculiarities of the ancient astro-spiritual faith; and as knowledge is acquired and experience gained, a better understanding of both ancient and modern mysticism will bring them nearer together and show a consistency and mutual agreement which has never been disturbed—only obscured—by human ignorance and presumption.
But Occultism has a physical aspect which I cannot afford to pass by. Man is a fourfold being.
Four things of man there are:
spirit, soul, ghost, flesh;
Four places these four keep and do possess.
The earth covers flesh, the ghost hovers o’er the grave,
Orcus hath the soul, the stars the spirit crave.
When the spirit leaves the body, and is properly prepared for the stellar spheres, these are retained in the mortal remains; and the shade, which is no part of the spirit or the true man or woman, may still counterfeit them, make revelations of the past, in fact reveal more of its sensual history, and prove sensual identity better than the spirit itself could do, seeing it knows only spiritual things. The sciomancy of the past bears the same relation to modern psychometry that ancient Magic does to modern Spiritualism. Thus in haunted houses, in graveyards and places where deeds of violence have occurred, sensitives see the drama reacted which transpired long ago, the spirit being no accessory thereto.
The spirit cannot even communicate unless through the interblend-
A MODERN PANARION
ing of physical and spiritual auræ and only by coming en rapport with physical things can it know anything of them; and thus mediums are as necessary on the other side as on this; through which mediums, Guardian Spirits, we may gain a nearer apprehension of spiritual truths, if we live for them.
* We cannot say positively that this is H. P. B. ‘s, but it is either written by her, or under her inspiration.
A WARNING TO MEDIUMS
[From The Banner of Light, May 13th1876.]
DEAR SIR,—I take the earliest
opportunity to warn mediums generally—but particularly American mediums—that a
plot against the cause has been hatched in
It is now commonly known that
Prof. Wagner, the geologist, has boldly come out as a champion for mediumistic
phenomena. Since he witnessed the wonderful manifestations of Bredif, the
French medium, he has issued several pamphlets, reviewed at great length in
Col. Olcott’s People from the Other World, and excited and defied the anger of
all the scientific pyschophobists of the
Chief among them is the
chairman of the scientific Commission which has just exploded with a report of
what they did not see at séances never held! Goaded to fury by the defence of
Spiritualism, which they had intended to quietly butcher, this individual
suddenly took the determination to come to
Let me give mediums a bit of
friendly caution. If this Russian Professor should turn up at a séance, keep a
sharp eye upon him, and let everyone do the same; give him no private séances
at which there is not present at least one truthful and impartial Spiritualist.
Some scientists are not to be trusted. My correspondent writes that the
83 ————————————————————A WARNING TO MEDIUMS.
The plot is very ingeniously contrived: he is coming here under the pretext of the Centennial, and will attract as little attention as possible among the mediums.
But, Mr. Editor, what if he should meet the fate of Hare and become a Spiritualist! What wailing would there not be in the Society of Physical Sciences! I shudder at the mortification which would await my poor countrymen.
But another distinguished
Russian scientist is also coming, for whom I bespeak a very different
reception. Prof. Kittara, the greatest technologist of
The unfairness of the University Commission has, it seems, produced a reaction. I translate the following from a paper which Mr. Aksakoff has sent me, the St. Petersburg Berjeveya viedomostji (Exchange Reports):
We hear that the Commission for the investigation of mediumism, which was formed by the Society of Physical Sciences attached to the University, is preparing to issue a report of its labours [? !]. It will appear as an appendix to the monthly periodical of the Chemical and Physical Societies. Meanwhile another Commission is being formed, but this time its members will not be supplied from the Physical Science Society, but from the Medical Society. Nevertheless, several members of the former will be invited to join, as well as the friends of mediumism, and others who would be able to offer important suggestions pro or con. We hear that the formation of this new Commission is warmly advocated, its necessity having been shown in the breach of faith by the Physical Science Society, its failure to hold the promised forty seances, its premature adoption of unfair conclusions, and the strong prejudices of the members.
Let us hope that this new organization may prove more honourable than its predecessor (peace to its ashes!).
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
A NEW WAR OF THE ROSES.
[From The Banner of Light,
DESPITE the constant recurrence of new discoveries by modern men of science, an exaggerated respect for authority and an established routine among the educated class retard the progress of true knowledge. Facts which, if observed, tested, classified and appreciated, would be of inestimable importance to science, are summarily cast into the despised limbo of supernaturalism. To these conservatives the experience of the past serves neither as an example nor a warning. The overturning of a thousand cherished theories finds our modern philosopher as unprepared for each new scientific revelation as though his predecessor had been infallible from time immemorial.
The protoplasmist should, at least, in modesty remember that his past is one vast cemetery of dead theories; a desolate potter’s field wherein exploded hypotheses lie, in ignoble oblivion, like so many executed malefactors, whose names cannot be pronounced by the next of kin without a blush.
The nineteenth century is essentially the age of demolition. True, science takes just pride in many revolutionary discoveries and claims to have immortalized the epoch by forcing from Dame Nature some of her most important secrets. But for every inch she illumines of the narrow and circular path within whose limits she has hitherto trodden, what unexplored boundless stretches have been left behind? The worst is that science has not simply withheld her light from these regions that seem dark (but are not), but her votaries try their best to quench the lights of other people under the pretext that they are not authorities, and their friendly beacons are but “will-o’-the-wisps.” Prejudice and preconceived ideas have entered the public brain, and, cancer-like, are eating it to the core. Spiritualism—or, if some for whom the word has become so unpopular prefer it, the universe of
spirit—is left to fight out its battle with the world of matter, and the crisis is at hand.
Half-thinkers, and aping,
would-be philosophers—in short, that class which is unable to penetrate events
any deeper than their crust, and which measures every clay’s occurrences by its
present aspect, unmindful of the past and careless of the future—heartily
rejoice over the latest rebuff given to phenomenalism in the Lankester-Donkin
offensive and defensive alliance, and the pretended exposure of Slade. In this
hour of would—be Lancastrian triumph, a change should be made in English
heraldic crests. The
Such persons as these bound all spiritual phenomena in Nature by the fortunes and mishaps of mediums; each new favourite, they think, must of necessity pull down in his fall an unscientific hypothetical “Unseen Universe,” as the tumbling red dragon of the Apocalypse drew with his tail the third part of the stars of heaven. Poor blind moles! They perceive not that by inveighing against the “craze” of such phenomenalists as Wallace, Crookes, Wagner and Thury, they only help the spread of true Spiritualism. We millions of lunatics really ought to address a vote of thanks to the “dishevelled” Beards who make supererogatory efforts to appear as stupid clodpoles to deceive the Eddys, and to Lankesters simulating “astonishment and intense interest,” the better to cheat Dr. Shade. More than any advocates of phenomenalism, they bring its marvels into public notice by their pyrotechnic exposures.
A MODERN PANARION.
As one entrusted by the Russian Committee with the delicate task of selecting a medium for the coming St. Petersburg experiments, and as an officer of the Theosophical Society, which put Dr. Slade’s powers to the test in a long series of seances, I pronounce him not only a genuine medium, but one of the best and least fraudulent mediums ever developed. From personal experience I can not only testify to the genuineness of his slate-writing, but also to that of the materializations which occur in his presence. A shawl thrown over a chair (which I was invited to place wherever I chose) is all the cabinet he exacts, and his apparitions immediately appear, and that in gas—light.
No one will charge me with a
superfluous confidence in the personality of material apparitions, or a
superabundance of love for them ; but honour and truth compel me to affirm that
those who appeared to me in Slade’s presence were real phantoms, and not “made
up” confederates or dolls. They were evanescent and filmy, and the only ones I
have seen in
Everyone knows that Dr. Slade
is not acquainted with foreign languages, and yet at our first séance, three
years ago, on the day after my arrival in
In reading the accounts in the
brace of scientific detectives. Fraud, that neither the “psychic” Sergeant Cox, nor the “unconsciously cerebrating” Carpenter, nor the wise Wallace, nor the experienced M.A. (Oxon.), nor the cautious Lord Rayleigh—who, mistrusting his own acuteness, employed a professional juggler to attend the séance with him—nor Dr. Carter Blake, nor a host of other competent observers could detect, was seen by the eagle eyes of the Lankester-Donkin Gemini at a single glance. There has been nothing like it since Beard, of electro-hay fever and Eddy fame, denounced the faculty of Yale for a set of asses, because they would not accept his divinely-inspired revelation of the secret of mind-reading, and pitied the imbecility of that “amiable idiot,” Col. Olcott, for trusting his own two—months’ observation of the Eddy phenomena in preference to the electric doctor’s single séance of an hour.
I am an American citizen in
embryo, Mr. Editor, and I cannot hope that the English magistrates of
H. P. BLAVATSKY,
Corresponding Secretary of the
HUXLEY AND SLADE
[ From The banner of Light,
As I see the issue that has been raised by Dr. Hallock with Mr. Huxley, it suggests to me the comparison of two men looking at the same distant object through a telescope. The Doctor, having taken the usual precautions, brings the object within close range where it can he studied at one’s leisure; but the naturalist, having forgotten to remove the cap, sees only the reflection of his own image.
Though the materialists may
find it hard to answer even the brief criticisms of the Doctor, yet it appears
that Mr. Huxley’s
Of him it may be said, as it has been of other teachers before, that what he said that was new was not true; and that which was true was not new.
Without going into details, for the moment, it suffices to say that the materialistic theory of evolution is far from being demonstrated, while the thought that Mr. Huxley does not grasp—i.e., the double evolution of spirit and matter—is imparted under the form of various legends in the oldest parts of the Rig Veda (the Aitareya Brâhmana). Only these benighted Hindus, it seems, made the trifling improvement over Modern
89 ————————————————————HUXLEY AND SLADE.
Science, of hooking a First Cause on to the further end of the chain of evolution.
In the Chaturhotri Mantra (Book V of the Aitareya Brâhmana) the Goddess Eath (lyam), who is termed the Queen of the Serpents (Sârpa), for she is the mother of everything that moves (Sârpat), was in the beginning of time completely bald. She was nothing but one round head, which was soft to the touch, i.e., “a gelatinous mass.” Being disstressed at her baldness, she called for help to the great Vâyu, the Lord of the airy regions; she prayed him to teach her the Mantra (invocation or sacrificial prayer—a certain part of the Veda), which would confer on her the magical power of creating things (generation). He complied, and then as soon as the Mantra was pronounced by her “in the proper metre” she found herself covered with hair (vegetation). She was now hard to the touch, for the Lord of the air had breathed upon her—the globe had cooled. She had become of a variegated or motley appearance, and suddenly acquired the power to produce out of herself every animate and inanimate form, and to chance one form to another.
Therefore in like manner [ the sacred book] the man who has such a knowledge [ the Mantras] obtains the faculty of assuming any shape or form he likes.
It will scarcely be said that this allegory is capable of more than one interpretation, viz., that the ancient Hindus, many centuries before the Christian era, taught the doctrine of evolution. Martin Haug, the Sanskrit scholar, asserts that the Vedas were already in existence from 2,000 to 2,200 B.C.
Thus, while the theory of evolution is nothing new, and may be considered a proven fact, the new ideas forced upon the public by Mr. Huxley are only undemonstrated hypotheses, and as such liable to be exploded the first fine day upon the discovery of some new fact. We find no admission of his, however, in Mr. Huxley’s communications to the public; but the unproved theories are enunciated with as much boldness as though the were established scientific facts, corroborated by unerring laws of Nature. Notwithstanding this the world is asked to revere the great evolutionist, only because he stands under the shadow of a great name.
What is this but one of the many false pretences of the sciolists? And yet Huxley and his admirers charge the believers in the evolution of spirit with the same crime of false pretences, because, forsooth, our theories are as yet undemonstrated. Those who believe in Slade’s
A MODERN PANARION.
spirits-are “lost.to reason,” while those who can see embryonic man in Huxley’s “gelatinous mass” are accepted as the progressive minds of the age. Slade is arraigned before the magistrate for taking $5 from Lankester, while Huxley triumphantly walks away with $5,0OO of American gold in his pockets, which was paid him for imparting to us the mirific fact that man evolved from the hind toe of a pedactyl horse!
Now, arguing from the standpoint of strict justice, in what respect is a materialistic theorist any better than a spiritualistic one? And in what degree is the evolution of man—independent of divine and spiritual interference—better proven by the toe-bone of an extinct horse, than the evolution and survival of the human spirit by the writing upon a screwed-up slate by some unseen power or powers? And yet again, the soulless Huxley sails away laden with flowers like a fashionable corpse, conquering and to conquer in fresh fields of glory, while the poor medium is hauled before a police magistrate as a “vagrant and a swindler,” without proof enough to sustain the charge before an unprejudiced tribunal.
There is good authority for
the statement that psychological science is a debatable land upon which the
modern physiologist hardly dares to venture. I deeply sympathize with the
embarrassed student of the physical side of Nature. We all can readily
understand how disagreeable it must be to a learned theorist, ever aspiring for
the elevation of his hobby to the dignity of an accepted scientific truth,
constantly to receive the lie direct from his remorseless and untiring
antagonist— psychology. To see his cherished materialistic theories become
every day more untenable, until they are reduced to the condition of mummies
swathed in shrouds, self-woven and inscribed with a farrago of pet sophistries,
is indeed hard. And in their self-satisfying logic, these sons of matter reject
every testimony but their own: the divine entity of the Socratic daimonion, the
ghost of Cæsar, and
And now, supposing the great protoplasmist to have proved to the general satisfaction that the present horse is an effect of a gradual development from the Orophippus, or four-toed horse of the Eocene formation, which, passing further through Miocene and Pliocene periods, has become the modern honest Equus, does Huxley thereby prove that man has also developed from a one-toed human being? For nothing short of that could demonstrate his theory. To be consistent he must
91 ————————————————————HUXLEY AND SLADE.
show that while the horse was losing at each successive period a toe, man has in reversed order acquired an additional one at each new formation; and unless we are shown the fossilized remains of man in a series of one-, two-, three- and four-toed anthropoid ape-like beings antecedent to the present perfected Homo, what does Huxley’s theory amount to? Nobody doubts that everything has evolved out of some thing prior to itself. But, as it is, he leaves us hopelessly in doubt whether it is man who is a hipparionic or equine evolution, or the antediluvian Equus that evolved from the primitive genus Homo!
Thus to apply the argument to Slade’s case we may say that, whether the messages on his slate indicate an authorship among the returning spirits of antediluvian monkeys, or the bravos and Lankestrian ancestors of our day, he is no more guilty of false pretences than the $5,000 evolutionist. Hypothesis, whether of scientist or medium, is no false pretence; but unsupported assertion is, when people are charged money for it.
If, satisfied with the osseous fragments of a Hellenized or Latinized skeleton, we admit that there is a physical evolution, by what logic can we refuse to credit the possibility of an evolution of spirit? That there are two sides to the question, no one but an utter psychophobist will deny. It may be argued that even if the Spiritualists have demonstrated their bare facts, their philosophy is not complete, since it has missing links. But no more have the evolutionists. They have fossil remains which prove that once upon a time the ancestors of the modern horse were blessed with three and even four toes and fingers, the fourth ‘‘answering to the little finger of the human hand,” and that the Protohippus rejoiced in ‘‘a fore-arm’’ ; Spiritualists in their turn exhibit entire hands, arms, and even bodies in support of their theory that the dead still live and revisit us. For my part I cannot see that the osteologists have the better of them. Both follow the inductive or purely scientific method, proceeding from particulars to universals; thus Cuvier, upon finding a small bone, traced around it imaginary lines until he had built up from his prolific fancy a whole mammoth. The data of scientists are no more certain than those of Spiritualists; and while the former have but their modern discoveries upon which to build their theories, Spiritualists may cite the evidence of a succession of ages, which began long prior to the advent of Modern Science.
An inductive hypothesis, we are told, is demonstrated when the facts are shown to be in entire accordance with it. Thus, if Huxley possesses
A MODERN PANARION.
conclusive evidence of the evolution of man in the genealogy of the horse, Spiritualists can equally claim that proof of the evolution of spirit out of the body is furnished in the materialized, more or less substantial, limbs that float in the dark shadows of the cabinet, and often in full light—a phenomenon which has been recognized and attested by numberless generations of wise men of every country. As to the pretended superiority of modern over ancient science, we have only the word of the former for it. This is also an hypothesis; better evidence is required to prove the fact. We have but to turn to Wendell Phillips’s lecture on the Lost Arts to have a certain right to doubt the assurance of Modern Science.
Speaking of evidence, it is strange what different and arbitrary values may be placed upon the testimony of different men equally trustworthy and well-meaning. Says the parent of protoplasm:
It is impossible that one’s practical life should not be more or less influenced by the views which he may hold as to what has been the past history of things. One of them is human testimony in its various shapes—all testimony of eye-witnesses, traditional testimony from the lips of those who have been eye-witnesses, and the testimony of those who have put their impressions into writing or into print.
On just such testimony, amply furnished in the Bible (evidence which Mr. Huxley rejects), and in many other less problematical authors than Moses, among whom may be reckoned generations of great philosophers, theurgists, and laymen, Spiritualists have a right to base their fundamental doctrines. Speaking further of the broad distinction to be drawn between the different kinds of evidence, some being less valuable than others, because given upon grounds not clear, upon grounds illogically stated and upon such as do not bear thorough and careful inspection, the same gelatinist remarks:
For example, if I read in your history of Tennessee [Ramsays] that one hundred years ago this country was peopled by wandering savages, my belief in this statement rests upon the conviction that Mr. Ramsay was actuated by the same sort of motives that men are now,... that he himself was, like ourselves, not inclined to make false statements. . . . If you read Cæsar’s Commentaries, wherever he gives an account of his battles with the Gauls, you place a certain amount of confidence in his statements. You take his testimony upon this, you feel that Cæsar would not have made these statements unless he had believed them to be true.
Profound philosophy! precious
thoughts! gems of condensed, gelatinous truth! long may it stick to the
American mind! Mr. Huxley ought to devote the rest of his days to writing
primers for the feeble minded adults of the
93 ————————————————————HUXLEY AND SLADE.
of the trustworthy witness of
ancient times? And if we must implicitly credit his reports of battles, why not
his profession of faith in augurs, diviners and apparitions?—for in common with
his wife, Calpurnia, he believed in them as firmly as any modern Spiritualist
in his mediums and phenomena. We also feel that no more than Cæsar would such
It has already been shown that the doctrine of evolution, as a whole, was taught in the Rig Veda, and I may also add that it can be found in the most ancient of the books of Hermes. This is bad enough for the claim to originality set up by our modern scientists, but what shall be said when we recall the fact that the very pedactyl horse, the finding of whose footprints has so overjoyed Mr. Huxley, was mentioned by ancient writers (Herodotus anti Pliny, if I mistake not), and was once outrageously laughed at by the French Academicians? Let those who wish to verify the fact read Salverti’s Philosophy of Occult Science, translated by Todd Thompson.
Some day proofs as conclusive will be discovered of the reliability of the ancient writers as to their evidence on psychological matters. What Niebuhr, the German materialist, did with Livy’s History, from which he eliminated every one of the multitude of facts of phenomenal “Super naturalism,’’ scientists now seem to have tacitly agreed to do with all the ancient, medæval and modern authors. What they narrate, that can be used to bolster up the physical part of science, scientists accept and sometimes coolly appropriate without credit; what supports the Spiritualistic philosophy they incontinently reject as mythical and contrary to the order of Nature. In such cases “evidence” and the “testimony of eye-witnesses” count for nothing. They adopt the contrary course to Lord Verulam, who, arguing on the properties of amulets and charms, remarks that:
We should not reject all this kind, because it is not known how far those contributing to superstition depend on natural causes.
There can be no real enfranchisement of human thought nor expansion of scientific discovery until the existence of spirit is recognized, and the double evolution accepted as a fact. Until then, false theories will always find favour with those who, having forsaken “the God of their fathers,” vainly strive to find substitutes in nucleated masses of matter. And of all the sad things to be seen in this era of “shams,”
A MODERN PANARION.
none is more deplorable—though its futility is often ludicrous—than the conspiracy of certain scientists to stamp out spirit by their one-sided theory of evolution, and destroy Spiritualism by arraigning its mediums upon the charge of “false pretences.”
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
CAN THE DOUBLE MURDER?
To the Editor of” The Sun.”
SIR,—One morning in 1867
In the Austrian dominions and
in those tinder the doubtful protectorate of
The writer of this truthful
narrative had passed a few days at
A MODERN PANARION.
and knew the Princess Katinka. She was a kind, gentle, and lazy creature at home; abroad she seemed a Parisienne in manners and education. As nearly all the personages who will figure in this true story are still living, it is but decent that I should withhold their names, and give only initials.
The old Serbian lady seldom
left her house, going but to see the Princess occasionally. Crouched on a pile
of pillows and carpeting, clad in the picturesque national dress, she looked
like the Cumæan sibyl in her days of calm repose. Strange stories were
whispered about her Occult knowledge, and thrilling accounts circulated some
times among the guests assembled round the fireside of the modest inn. Our fat
landlord’s maiden aunt’s cousin had been troubled for some time past by a
wandering vampire, and had been bled nearly to death by the nocturnal visitor,
and while the efforts and exorcisms of the parish pope had been of no avail,
the victim was luckily delivered by Gospoja P—, who had put to flight the
disturbing ghost by merely shaking her fist at him, and shaming him in his own
language. It was in
About eighteen months after
the news of the murder had reached
97 ——————————————————CAN THE DOUBLE MURDER?
mutual introduction being
needed. I had heard his name mentioned in circles interested in mesmerism, and
knew him to be a powerful adept of the
“I have found,” he remarked, in the course of the conversation after I had made him share my seat of hay, “one of the most wonderful subjects in this lovely Thebaide. I have an appointment to-night with the family. They are seeking to unravel the mystery of a murder by means of the clairvoyance of the girl . . . she is wonderful!”
“Who is she?” I asked.
“A Roumanian gipsy. She was brought up, it appears, in the family of the Serbian reigning Prince, who reigns no more, for he was very mysteriously mur— Halloo, take care! Diable, you will upset us over the precipice!” he hurriedly exclaimed, unceremoniously snatching from me the reins, and giving the horse a violent pull.
“You do not mean Prince Obrenovitch?” I asked aghast.
“Yes, I do; and him precisely. To-night I have to be there, hoping to close a series of seances by finally developing a most marvellous manifestation of the hidden power of the human spirit; and you may come with me. I will introduce you; and besides, you can help me as an interpreter, for they do not speak French.”
As I was pretty sure that if the somnambule was Frosya, the rest of the family must be Gospoja P—, I readily accepted. At sunset we were at the foot of the mountain, leading to the old castle, as the Frenchman called the place. It fully deserved the poetical name given it. There was a rough bench in the depths of one of the shadowy retreats, and as we stopped at the entrance of this poetical place, and the Frenchman was gallantly busying himself with my horse on the suspicious-looking bridge which led across the water to the entrance gate, I saw a tall figure slowly rise from the bench and come towards us.
It was my old friend Gospoja P—, looking more pale and more mysterious than ever. She exhibited no surprise at seeing me, but simply greeting me after the Serbian fashion, with a triple kiss on both cheeks, she took hold of my hand and led me straight to the nest of ivy. Half reclining on a small carpet spread on the tall grass, with her back leaning against the wall, I recognized our Frosya.
She was dressed in the national costume of the Wallachian women, a sort of gauze turban intermingled with various gilt medals and bands on her head, white shirt with opened sleeves, and petticoats of varie-
A MODERN PANARION.
gated colours. Her face looked deadly pale, her eyes were closed, and her countenance presented that stony, sphinx-like look which characterizes in such a peculiar way the entranced clairvoyant somnambule. If it were not for the heaving motion of her chest and bosom, ornamented by rows of medals and head necklaces which feebly tinkled at ever breath, one might have thought her dead, so lifeless and corpse-like was her face. The Frenchman informed me that he had sent her to sleep just as we were approaching the house, and that she now was as he had left her the previous night; he then began busying himself with the sujet, as he called Frosva. Paying no further attention to us, he shook her by the hand, and then making a few rapid passes stretched out her arm and stiffened it. The arm, as rigid as iron, remained in that position. He then closed all her fingers but one—the middle finger—which he caused to point at the evening star, which twinkled in the deep blue sky. Then he turned round and went over from right to left, throwing on some of his fluids here, again discharging them at another place; busying himself with his invisible but potent fluids, like a painter with his brush when giving the last touches to a picture.
The old lady, who had silently watched him, with her chin in her hand the while, put her thin, skeleton—looking hands on his arm and arrested it, as he was preparing himself to begin the regular mesmeric passes.
‘‘Wait,” she whispered, ‘‘till the star is set and the ninth hour completed. The Vourdalaki are hovering round; they may spoil the influence.’’
“What does she say?” enquired time mesmerizer, annoyed at her interference.
I explained to him that the old lady feared the pernicious influences of the Vourdalaki.
“Vourdalaki! What’s that—the Vourdalaki?” exclaimed the French man. “Let us be satisfied with Christian spirits, if the honour us to-night with a visit, and lose no time for the Vourdalaki.”
I glanced at the Gospoja. She had become deathly pale and her brow was sternly knitted over her flashing black eyes.
“Tell him not to jest at this hour of the night!” she cried. “He does not know the country. Even this holy church may fail to protect us once the Vourdalaki are roused. What’s this ?“ pushing with her foot a bundle of herbs the botanizing mesmerizer had laid near on the
99 ———————————————————CAN THE DOUBI,E MURDER?
grass. She bent over the collection and anxiously examined the contents of the bundle, after which she flung the whole into the water.
‘‘It must not be left here,’’
she firmly added; ‘‘these are the
Meanwhile the night had come, and the moon illuminated the land scape with a pale, ghostly light. The nights in the Banat are nearly as beautiful as in the East, and the Frenchman had to go on with his experiments in the open air, as the priest of the church had prohibited such in the tower, which was used as the parsonage, for fear of filling the holy precincts with the heretical devils of the mesmerizer, which, the priest remarked, he would be unable to exorcise on account of their being foreigners.
The old gentleman had thrown off his travelling blouse, rolled tip his shirt sleeves, and now, striking a theatrical attitude, began a regular process of mesmerization.
Under his quivering fingers the odile fluid actually seemed to flash in the twilight. Frosya was placed with her figure facing the moon, and every motion of the entranced girl was discernible as in daylight. In a few minutes large drops of perspiration appeared on her brow, and slowly rolled down her pale face, glittering in the moonbeams. Then she moved uneasily about and began chanting a low melody, to the words of which the Gospoja, anxiously bent over the unconscious girl, was listening with avidity and trying to catch every syllable. With her thin finger on her lips, her eyes nearly starting from their sockets, her frame motionless, the old lady seemed herself transfixed into a statue of attention. The group was a remarkable one, and I regretted that I was not a painter. What followed was a scene worthy to figure in Macbeth. At one side she, the slender girl, pale and corpse- like, writhing tinder the invisible fluid of him who for the hour was her omnipotent master; at the other the old matron, who, burning with her unquenched fire of revenge, stood waiting for the long-expected name of the Prince’s murderer to be at last pronounced. The Frenchman himself seemed transfigured, his grey hair standing on end; his bulky clumsy form seemed to have grown in a few minutes. All theatrical pretence was now gone; there remained but the mesmerizer, aware of his responsibility, unconscious himself of the possible results, studying and anxiously expecting. Suddenly Frosya, as if lifted by some super natural force, rose from her reclining posture and stood erect before us,
A MODERN PANARION.
again motionless and still, waiting for the magnetic fluid to direct her. The Frenchman, silently taking the old lady’s hand, placed it in that of the somnambulist, and ordered her to put herself en rapport with the Gospoja.
“What seest thou, my daughter?” softly murmured the Serbian lady. “Can your spirit seek out the murderers?”
“Search and behold!” sternly commanded the mesmerizer, fixing his gaze upon the face of the subject.
“I am on my way—I go,” faintly whispered Frosya, her voice seeming not to come from herself, but from the surrounding atmosphere.
At this moment something so strange took place that I doubt my ability to describe it. A luminous vapour appeared, closely surround ing the girl’s body. At first about an inch in thickness, it gradually expanded, and, gathering itself, suddenly seemed to break off from the body altogether and condense itself into a kind of semi-solid vapour, which very soon assumed the likeness of the somnambule herself. Flickering about the surface of the earth the form vacillated for two or three seconds, then glided noiselessly toward the river. It disappeared like a mist, dissolved in the moonbeams, which seemed to absorb it altogether.
I had followed the scene with an intense attention. The mysterious operation, known in the East as the evocation of the scin-lecca, was taking place before my own eyes. To doubt was impossible, and Dupotet was right in saying that mesmerism is the conscious Magic of the ancients, and Spiritualism the unconscious effect of the same Magic upon certain organisms.
As soon as the vaporous double had smoked itself through the pores of the girl, Gospoja had, by a rapid motion of the hand which was left free, drawn from under her pelisse something which looked to us suspiciously like a small stiletto, and placed it as rapidly in the girl’s bosom. The action was so quick that the mesmerizer, absorbed in his work, had not remarked it, as he afterwards told me. A few minutes elapsed in a dead silence. We seemed a group of petrified persons. Suddenly a thrilling and transpiercing cry burst from the entranced girl’s lips, she bent forward, and snatching the stiletto from her bosom, plunged it furiously round her, in the air, as if pursuing imaginary foes. Her mouth foamed, and incoherent, wild exclamations broke from her lips, among which discordant sounds I discerned several times two familiar Christian names of men. The mesmerizer was so terrified
101———————————————————CAN THE DOUBLE MURDER?
that he lost all control over himself, and instead of withdrawing the fluid he loaded the girl with it still more.
“Take care,” exclaimed
But the Frenchman had unwittingly raised subtle potencies of Nature over which he had no control. Furiously turning round, the girl struck at him a blow which would have killed him had he not avoided it by jumping aside, receiving but a severe scratch on the right arm. The poor man was panic-stricken; climbing with an extraordinary agility, for a man of his bulky form, on the wall over her, he fixed himself on it astride, and gathering the remnants of his will power, sent in her direction a series of passes. At the second, the girl dropped the weapon and remained motionless.
“What are you about?” hoarsely shouted the mesmerizer in French, seated like some monstrous night-goblin on the wall. “Answer me, I command you!’’
“I did ... but what she...whom you ordered me to obey commanded me to do,” answered the girl in French, to my amazement.
“What did the old witch command you?” irreverently asked he.
‘‘To find them how murdered .. kill them. . . I did so . . . and they are no more . . . Avenged! . . . Avenged! They are An exclamation of triumph, a loud shout of infernal joy, rang loud in the air, and awakening the dogs of the neighbouring villages a responsive howl of barking began from that moment, like a ceaseless echo of the Gospoja’s cry:
“I am avenged! I feel it; I know it. My warning heart tells me that the fiends are no more.” She fell panting on the ground, dragging down, in her fall, the girl, who allowed herself to be pulled down as if she were a bag of wool.
‘‘I hope my subject did no further mischief to—night. She is a dangerous as well as a very wonderful subject,” said the Frenchman.
We parted. Three days after that I was at T—, and as I was sitting in the dining-room of a restaurant, waiting for my lunch, I happened to pick up a newspaper, and the first lines I read ran thus:
Last evening, at 9.45, as was about to retire, two of the gentlemen-in-wait ing suddenly exhibited great terror, as though they had seen a dreadful apparition.
A MODERN PANARION.
They screamed, staggered, and ran about the room, holding up their hands as if toward off the blows of an unseen weapon. They paid no attention to the eager questions of the prince and suite, but presently fell writhing upon the floor, and expired in great agony. Their bodies exhibited no appearance of apoplexy, nor any external marks of wounds, hot, wonderful to relate, there were numerous dark spots and long marks upon the skin, as though they were stabs and slashes made without puncturing the cuticle. The autopsy revealed the fact that beneath each of these mysterious discolourations there was a deposit of coagulated blood. The greatest excitement prevails, and the faculty are unable to solve the mystery.
(H. P. BLAVATSKY.)
FAKIRS AND TABLES
[ From the
HOWEVER ignorant I may be of the laws of the solar system, I am at all events so firm a believer in heliocentric journalism that I sub scribe some remarks for The Sun upon my “iconoclasm.”
No doubt it is a great honour for an unpretending foreigner to be thus crucified between the two greatest celebrities of your chivalrous country—the truly good Deacon Richard Smith, of the blue gauze trousers, and the nightingale of the willow and the cypress, G. Washington Childs, A.M. But I am not a Hindu Fakir, and therefore can not say that I enjoy crucifixion, especially when unmerited. I do not even fancy being swung round the “tall tower” with the steel hooks of your satire metaphorically thrust through my back. I have not invited the reporters to a show. I have not sought notoriety. I have only taken up a quiet corner in your free country, and, as a woman who has travelled much, shall try to tell a Western public the strange things I have seen among Eastern peoples. If I could have enjoyed this privilege at home I should not be here. Being here, I shall, as your old English proverb expresses it, “Tell the truth and shame the devil.’’
The World reporter who visited me wrote an article which mingled his souvenirs of my stuffed apes and my canaries, my tiger-heads and palms, with aerial music and the flitting doppelgangers of Adepts. It was a very interesting article and was certainly intended to be very impartial. If I appear in it to deny the immutability of natural law, and inferentially to affirm the possibility of miracle, it is either due to my faulty English or to the carelessness of the reader.
There are no such
uncompromising believers in the immutability and universality of the laws of
Nature as students of Occultism. Let us then, with your permission, leave the
shade of the great
A MODERN PANARION.
sity of a central force acting toward the sun, that is denied, but the assumption that, behind the law which draws bodies toward the earth’s centre, and which is our most familiar example of gravitation, there is no other law, equally immutable, that under certain conditions appears to counteract the former.
If but once in a hundred years a table or a Fakir is seen to rise in the air, without a visible mechanical cause, then that rising is a manifestation of a natural law of which our scientists are as yet ignorant. Christians believe in miracles; Occultists credit them even less than pious scientists, Sir David Brewster, for instance. Show an Occultist an Unfamiliar phenomenon, and he will never affirm a priori that it is either a trick or a miracle. he will search for the cause in the reason of causes.
There was an anecdote about
Babinet, the astronomer, current in
I suppose nine men out of ten,
including editors, would maintain that the undulatory theory of light is one of
the most firmly establislied. And yet if you will turn to page 22 of The New
Chemistry, by Prof. Josiah P. Cooke, Jr., of
I cannot agree with those who regard the wave-theory of light as an established principle of science. . . . It requires a combination of qualities in the ether of space which I find it difficult to believe are actually realized.
What is this that iconoclasm?
Let us bear in mind that
105————————————————————FAKIRS AND TABLES.
Boyle, Horrocks and Hooke, Halley and Wren, all had ideas of a central force acting toward the sun, and of the true principle of diminution of action of the force in the ratio of the inverse square of the distance. The last word has not yet been spoken with respect to gravitation; its limitations can never be known until the nature of the sun is better understood.
They are just beginning to recognize—see Prof. Balfour Stewart’s lecture at Manchester, entitled, The Sun and the Earth, and Prof. A. M. Mayer’s lecture, The Earth a Great Magnet—the intimate connection between the sun’s spots and the position of the heavenly bodies. The interplanetary magnetic attractions are but just being demonstrated. Until gravitation is understood to be simply magnetic attraction and repulsion, and the part played by magnetism itself in the endless correlations of forces in the ether of space—that “hypothetical medium,” as Webster terms it—is better grasped, I maintain that it is neither fair nor wise to deny the levitation of either Fakir or table. Bodies oppositely electrified attract each other; similarly electrified they repulse each other. Admit, therefore, that any body having weight, whether man or inanimate object, can by any cause whatever, external or internal, be given the same polarity as the spot on which it stands, and what is to prevent its rising?
Before charging me with
falsehood when I affirm that I have seen both men and objects levitated, you
must first dispose of the abundant testimony of persons far better known than
my humble self. Mr. Crookes, Prof. Thury of
I am surprised to find how little even the editors of your erudite contemporary, The World, are acquainted with Oriental metaphysics in general, and the trousers of the Hindu Fakirs in particular. It was bad enough to make those holy mendicants of the religion of Brahmâ graduate from the Buddhist Lamaseries of Tibet; but it is unpardonable to make them wear baggy breeches in the exercise of their religious functions.
This is as bad as if a Hindu journalist had represented the Rev. Mr. Beecher entering his pulpit in the scant costume of the Fakir—the dhoti, a cloth about the loins, “only that and nothing more.” To account, therefore, for the oft-witnessed, open-air levitations of tile Swamis and Gurus upon the theory of an iron frame concealed beneath
A MODERN PANARION.
the clothing, is as reasonable as Monsieur Babinet’s explanation of the table-tipping and tapping as unconscious ventriloquism.
You may object to the act of disembowelling, which I am compelled to affirm I have seen performed. It is as you say, “remarkable,” but still not miraculous. Your suggestion that Dr. Hammond should go and see it is a good one. Science would be the gainer, and your humble correspondent be justified. Are you, however, in a position to guarantee that he would furnish the world of sceptics with an example of “veracious reporting,” if his observation should tend to overthrow the pet theories of what we loosely call science?
Yours very respectfully,
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
THERE was a time when the geocentric theory was universally accepted by Christian nations, and if you and I had then been carrying on our little philological and psychological controversy, I should have bowed in humility to the dictum of an authority so particularly at home in “the Mysticism of the Orient” But despite all modifications of our astronomical system, I am no heliolater, though I do subscribe for The Sun as well as The World. I feel no more bound to “cajole” or conciliate the one than to suffer my feeble taper to be extinguished by the draught made by the other in its diurnal rush through journalistic space.
As near as I can judge from
your writing there is this difference between us, that I write from personal
experience, and you upon information and belief My authorities are my eyes and
ears; yours, obsolete works of reference and the pernicious advice of a
spontaneously generated Lampsakano who learned his Mysticism from the detached
head of one Dummkopf. (See The Sun of March 25th My assertions may be corroborated
by any traveller, as they have been by the first authorities. Elphinstone’s
A MODERN PANARION.
I am charged with such ignorance that I imagine the Fakirs to be holy mendicants of the religion of Brahma,” while you say they are not of the religion of Brahma at all, but Mohammedans.
Does this precious piece of
information also come from Elphinstone? Then I give you a Roland for your
Oliver. I refer you to James Mill’s History of British India, vol. . i-283 (
Those seeking ready-made information can find our statements corroborated in any encyclopædia.
Perhaps you refer to
Was the first complete work on the subject. It was without a rival as a source of information, and the justice of its views appeared in the subsequent measures for the government of that country.
Now, Mill says that the
Fakirs are a sect of Brâhmanism; and that their penances are prescribed by the Laws of Manu.
Will your Lamp-sickener, or
whatever the English of that Greek may be, say that Manu was a Mohammedan? And
yet this would be no worse than your clothing the Fakirs, who belong, as a
rule, to the Brâhman pagodas, in yellow—the colour exclusively worn by Buddhist
lamas—and breeches—which form part of the costume of the Mohammedan dervishes.
Perhaps it is a natural mistake for your Lampsakanoi, who rely upon Elphinstone
for their facts and have not visited
You charge me with saying that a Fakir is a “worshipper of God.” I say I did not, as the expression I used, “Fakir is a loose word,” well proves. It was a natural mistake of the reporter, who did not employ stenography at our interview. I said, “A Svamis one who devotes himself entirely to the service of God.”
All Svamis of the Nir-Narrain sects are Fakirs, but all Fakirs are not necessarily Svamis. I refer you to Coleman’s Mythology of the Hindus (p. 244.), and to The Asiatic Journal. Coleman says precisely what Louis Jacolliot says, and both corroborate me. You very oblig-
ingly give me a lesson in Hindustâni and Devanâgari, and teach me the etymology of “Guru,” “Fakir,” “Gossain,” etc. For answer I refer you to John Shakespear’s large Hindustani-English Dictionary. I may know less English than your Lampsakanoi, but I do know of Hindustâni and Sanskrit more than can be learned on Park Row.
As I have said in another communication, I did not invite the visits of reporters, nor seek the notoriety which has suddenly been thrust upon me. If I reply to your criticisms—rhetorically brilliant, but wholly unwarranted by the facts—it is because I value your good opinion (without caring to cajole you), and at the same time cannot sit quiet and be made to appear alike devoid of experience, knowledge and truthfulness.
Respectfully, but still rebelliously, yours,
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
THE FATE OF THE OCCULTIST
FROM the first month of my
I am an old woman, and I feel
the need of fresh air as much as any one, but my disgust for the lying,
slanderous world that one finds out side of “heathen” uncivilized countries has
been such that in seven months I believe I have been out but three times. But
no retreat is secure against the anonymous slanderer, who uses the
111———————————————————THE FATE OF’ THE OCCULTIST.
Since the arrival of Wong Chin Foo the game has recomrnenced with double activity. We have received anonymous letters and others, and newspaper slips, telling infamous stories about him. On his part, he has received communications about us, one of which I beg you to insert.
Does the disciple of Buddha know the character of the people with whom he is at present residing? The surroundings of a teacher of morality and religion should be moral. Are his so? On the contrary, they are people of very doubtful reputation, as he can ascertain by applying at the nearest police-station.
Of Wong Chin Foo’s merits or
shortcomings I know nothing, except that since his arrival his conversation and
behaviour have impressed me very favourably. He appears to be a very earnest
and enthusiastic student. However, he is a man, and is able to take care of
himself, although, like me, a foreigner. But I wish to say for myself just
that I defy any person in
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
As, in your leading article of May 6th, I am at one moment given credit for knowing something about the religion of the Brâhmans and Buddhists, and, anon, of being a pretender of the class of Jacolliot, and even his plagiarist, you will not wonder at my again knocking at your doors for hospitality. This time I write over my own signature, and am responsible, as I am not under other circumstances.
No wonder that the “learned friend” at your elbow was reminded “of the utterances of one Louis Jacolliot.”
The paragraphs in the very
able account of your representative’s interview, which relate to “Adhima and
Heva” and “Jezeus Christna,” were translated bodily, in his presence, from the
French edition of the Bible in
For instance, Prof. Whitney, your greatest American Orientalist, and one of the most eminent living, spells it Bagavata; while his equally great opponent, Max Muller, prefers Bagavadgitâ, and half a dozen others spell it in as many different ways. Naturally each scholar, in rendering the Indian words into his own vernacular, follows the national rule of pronunciation; and so, you will see, that Prof. Muller in writing the syllable ad with an a does precisely what Jacolliot does in spelling it ed, the French e having the same sound as the
English a before a consonant. The same holds good with the name of the Hindu Saviour, which by different authorities is spelt Krishna, Crisna, Khristna and Krisna; everything, in short, but the right way, Christna, Perhaps you may say that this is there hypothesis. But since every Indianist follows his own fancy in his phonetic transcriptions, I do not know why I may not exercise my best judgment, especially as I can give good reasons to support it.
You affirm that there “never
was a Hindu reformer named Jezeus Christna”; and, although I confined my
affirmation of his existence to the authority of Jacolliot at the interview in
question, I now assert on my own responsibility that there was, and is, a
personage of that name recognized and worshipped in India, and that he is not
Jesus Christ. Christna is a Brâhmanical deity, and, besides by the Brâhmans, is
recognized by several sects of the Jains. When Jacolliot says “Jezeus
Christna,” he only shows a little clumsiness in phonetic rendering, and is
nearer right than many of his critics. I have been at the festivals of
Janmotsar, in commemoration of the birth of Christna (which is their Christmas)
and have heard thousands of voices shouting: “Jas-i Christna!
Jasas-wi-Christna!” Translated they are: Jas-i, renowned, famous, and Jasas-wi,
celebrated, or divinely-renowned, powerful; and Christna, sacred. To avoid
being again contradicted, I refer the reader to any Hindustâni dictionary. All
the Brâhmans with whom I have talked on the subject spoke of Christna either as
Jas-i-Christna, or Jadar Christna, or again used the term, Yadur-pati, Lord of
Yâdavas, descendant of Yadu, one of the many titles of Christna in
That Christna is preferable to
M. Taxtor de Ravisi, a French
Catholic Orientalist, and for ten years Governor of Karikal (
A MODERN PANARION.
conclusions, fully appreciates
the situation. He would have the name spelt
When the 84,000 volumes of the Dharma Khanda, or sacred books of the Buddhists, and the thousands upon thousands of ollæ of Vaidic and Brâhmanical literature, now known by their titles only to European scholars, or even a tithe of those actually in their possession are translated, and comprehended, and agreed upon, I will be happy to measure swords again with the solar pandit who has prompted your severe reflections upon your humble subscriber
Though, in common with various authorities, you stigmatize Jacolliot as a “French fraud,” I must really do him the justice to say that his Catholic opponent, De Ravisi, said of his Bible in India, in a report made at the request of the Sociéte Académique de St. Quentin, that it is written
With good faith, of absorbing interest, a learned work on known facts and with familiar arguments.
Ten years’ residence and
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
THE Sublime Porte has had the
sublime effrontery to ask the American people to execrate Russian barbarity. It
appeals for sympathy on behalf of helpless Turkish subjects at the seat of war.
With the memories of
Let me say, then, that during
this campaign the Turkish troops have been guilty of such fiendish acts as to
make me pray that my relatives may be killed rather than fall into their hands.
In a letter from the
On June 20th we entered Kozlovetz, a Bulgarian town of about two hundred houses, which lies three or four hours distant from Sistova. The sight which met our eyes made the blood of every Russian soldier run cold, hardened though he is to such scenes. On the principal street of the deserted town were placed in rows 140 beheaded bodies of men, women, and children. The heads of these unfortu-
A MODERN PANARION.
nates were tastefully piled in a pyramid in the middle of the street. Among the smoking ruins of every house we found half-burned corpses, fearfully mutilated. We caught a Turkish soldier, and to our questions he reluctantly confessed that their chiefs had given orders not to leave a Christian place, however small, before burning it and putting to death every man, woman, and child.
On the first day that the Danube was crossed some foreign correspondents, among them that of the Cologne Gazette, saw several bodies of Russian soldiers whose noses, ears, hands, etc., had been cut off, while the genital organs had been stuffed into the mouths of the corpses. Later, three bodies of Christian women were found—a mother and two daughters—whose condition makes one almost drop the pen in horror at the thought. Entirely nude, split open from below to the navel, their heads cut off; the wrists of each corpse were tied together with strips of skin and flesh flayed from the shoulder down; and the corpses of the three martyrs were similarly bound to each other by long ribbons of flesh dissected from their thighs.
A correspondent writes from Sistova:
The Emperor continues his daily visits to the hospitals and passes whole hours with the wounded. A few (lays ago His Majesty, accompanied by Colonel Wellesley, the British military attache, visited two unfortunate Bulgarians who died on the night following. The skull of one of them was split open both laterally and vertically, by two sword-cuts, an eye was torn out, and he was otherwise mutilated. He explained, as well as he could, that several Turks seeing him, demanded his money. As he had none, four of the party held him fast while the fifth, brandishing his sword, and repeating all the time, “There, you Christian dog, there’s your cross for you!” first split his skull from the forehead to the back of the head, and then crosswise from ear to ear. While the Emperor was listening to these details the greatest agony was depicted upon his face. Taking Colonel Wellesley by the arm, and pointing to the Bulgarian, he said to him in French: “See the work of your prolégés’” The British officer blushed and was much confused.
The special correspondent of the London Standard, describing his audience with the Grand Duke Nicholas, Commander-in-Chief, on July 7th, says that the Grand Duke communicated to him the most horrifying details about the cruelties committed at Dobroudga. A Christian whose hands were tied with strips of his own skin cut from the length of both his arms, and his tongue cut down from the root, was laid at the feet of the Emperor and died there before the eyes of the Czar and the British agent, the same Colonel Wellesley, who was in attendance. Turning to the latter, His Majesty, with a stern expression, asked him to inform his Government of what he had just seen for himself. Says the correspondent:
From the beginning of the war I have heard of quite a number of such cases, but never witnessed one myself: After the personal assurances given to me by the Grand Duke, it is no longer possible to doubt that the Turkish officers are unable to control their irregular troops.
The correspondent of The Northern Messenger had gone the rounds of the hospitals to question the wounded soldiers. Four of them, belonging to the Second Battalion of Minsk Rifles, testified with the most solemn asseverations that they had seen the Turks approach the wounded, rob them, mutilate their bodies in the most cruel way, finish them with the bayonet. They themselves had avoided this fate only by feigning death. It is a common thing for wounded Turks to allure Russian soldiers and members of the sanitary corps to their assistance, and, as they bend over them, to kill with a revolver or dagger those who would relieve them. A case like this occurred under the eye of one of my correspondents in Turkish Armenia, and was in all the Russian papers. A sergeant’s assistant (a sanitar) was despatched under such circumstances; thereupon a soldier standing by killed the assassin.
My cousin, Major Alexander U.
White—of the Sixteenth Nijegorodsk Dragoons, one of the most gallant soldiers
in the army of Loris Melikof and who has just been decorated by the Grand Duke,
under the authority of the Emperor, with a golden sword inscribed, “For
Bravery”—says that it is becoming positively dangerous to relieve a wounded
Turk. The people who robbed and killed the wounded in the hospital at Ardahan
upon the entry of the Russian troops were the Karapapahs, Mussulmans and the
supposed allies of the Turks. During the siege they prudently awaited the issue
from a safe distance. As soon as the Russians conquered, the Karapapahs flew
like so many tigers into the town, slaying the wounded Turks, robbing the dead,
pillaging houses, bringing the horses and mules of the fleeing enemy into the
Russian camp, and swearing allegiance to the Commander-in-Chief. The Cossacks
had all the trouble in the world to prevent their new allies from continuing
the greatest excesses. To charge, therefore, upon the Russians the atrocities
of these cowardly jackals (a nomadic tribe of brigands) is an impudent lie of
Mukhtar Pasha, whose falsifications have become so notorious that some Parisian
papers have nicknamed him “Blaguer Pasha.” His despatches are only matched in
mendacity by those of the Spanish commanders in
A MODERN PANARION.
The stupidity of charging such
excesses upon the Russian army becomes apparent when we remember that the
policy of the Government from the first has been to pay liberally for supplies,
and win the goodwill of the people of the invaded provinces by kindness. So
marked and successful has this policy proved in General Loris Melikof’s field
of operations, that the anti-Russian papers of England, Austria and other
countries have denounced it as Russian “craft.” With the Danubian forces is the
Emperor in person, liberator of millions of serfs, and the mildest and justest
sovereign who has ever occupied the throne of any country. As he won the love
of his whole people and the adoration of his army by his sense of justice and
benevolent regard, I ask you if he is likely to countenance any cruel excesses?
While the cowardly Abdul-Hamid hides in the alcoves of his harem, and of the
imperial princes none have taken the field, the Czar follows his army, step by
step, submits to comparatively severe and unaccustomed hardships, and exposes
his health and life against all the rernonstrances and prayers of Prince
Gortschakof. His four sons are all in active service, and the son of the Grand
Duke Nicholas was decorated at the crossing of the
I only ask the American people
to do justice to their long-tried and unfaltering friends, the Russians.
However politicians may have planned, the Russian people have entered this war
as a holy crusade to rescue millions of helpless Slavonians—their brothers—of
Schwartzenberg, and the papal discourse against the Russian Emperor and army, singing the while Slavonian national songs, and shouting, “Down with the Pope! Death to the Ultramontanes! Hurrah for the Czar-Liberator! “—all of which shows that there are good Catholics among the Slavonians, at least, who rightly hold in higher estimation the principles of national solidarity than foolish dogmas of the Vatican, even though backed by pretended infallibility.
August 9th H. P. BLAVATSKY.
WASHING THE DISCIPLES’ FEET
AT the ceremony of
“feet-washing” which occurred at Limwood Camp-ground, August 8th, and is described
in The Sun of to-day, Elder Jones, of
He claimed that its origin did not date anterior to the coming of Christ; neither was the matter of cleanliness to be thought of in this connection. Its observance was due exclusively to the fact that it was a scriptural injunction; it originated in Christ’s example, and it devolved upon his hearers to follow this example. Numerous scriptural passages were quoted in support of this argument.
The reverend gentleman is in
error. The ceremony was first performed by the Hindu Christna (or
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
TRICKERY OR MAGIC?
A wise saying is that which affirms that he who seeks to prove too much, in the end proves nothing. Prof. W. B. Carpenter, F.R.S. (and otherwise alphabetically adorned), furnishes a conspicuous example in his strife with men better than himself. His assaults accumulate bitterness with every new periodical he makes his organ, and in proportion with the increase of his abuse his arguments lose force and cogency. And, forsooth, he nevertheless lectures his antagonists for their lack of “calm discussion,” as though he were not the very type of controversial nitro-glycerine! Rushing at them with his proofs, which are “incontrovertible” only in his own estimation, he commits himself more than once. By one of such committals I mean to profit to-day, by citing some-curious experiences of my own.
My object in writing the present is far from that of taking any part in this onslaught upon reputations. Messrs. Wallace and Crookes are well able to take care of themselves. Each has contributed in his own specialty towards real progress in useful knowledge more than Dr. Carpenter in his. Both have been honoured for valuable original researches and discoveries, while their accuser has been often charged with being no better than a very clever compiler of other men’s ideas. After reading the able rejoinders of the “defendants” and the scathing review of the mace-swinging Prof. Buchanan, every one, except his friends, the psychophobists, can see that Dr. Carpenter is completely floored. He is as dead as the traditional door nail.
In the December supplement of The Popular Science Monthly, I find, (p.116) the interesting admission that a poor Hindu juggler can perform a feat that quite takes the great Professor’ breath away! In comparison, the mediumistic phenomena of Miss Nichol (Mrs. Guppy) are of no account. Says Dr. Carpenter:
The celebrated “tree-trick,”
which most people who have been long in
A MODERN PANARION.
officers, is simply the greatest marvel I ever heard of. That a mango-tree should first shoot up to a height of six inches, from a grass-plot to which the conjurers had no previous access, beneath an inverted cylindrical basket, whose emptiness has been previously demonstrated, and that this tree should appear to grow in the course of half an hour from six inches to six feet, under a succession of taller and yet taller baskets, beats Miss Nichol.
Well, I should think it did. At any rate, it beats anything that any F.R.S. can show by daylight or dark, in the Royal Institution or else where. Would not one think that such a phenomenon so attested, and occurring under circumstances that preclude trickery, would provoke scientific investigation? If not, what would? But observe the knot hole through which an F.R.S. can creep out. “Does Mr. Wallace,” ironically asks the Professor,
Attribute this to a spiritual agency? or, like the world in general [of course meaning the world that science created and Carpenter energizes] and the performers of the tree-trick in particular, does he regard it as a piece of clever jugglery?
Leaving Mr. Wallace, if he survives this Jovian thunder-bolt, to answer for himself, I have to say for the “performers” that they would respond with an emphatic “No” to both interrogatories. The Hindu jugglers neither claim for their performance a “spiritual agency,” nor admit it to be a “trick of clever jugglery.” The ground they take is that the tricks are produced by certain powers inherent in man him self, which may he used for a good or bad purpose. And the ground that I, humbly following after those whose opinion is based on really exact psychological experiments and knowledge, take, is, that neither Dr. Carpenter nor his body-guard of scientists, though their titles stream after their names like the tail after a kite, have as yet the slightest conception of these powers. To acquire even a superficial knowledge of them, they must change their scientific and philosophical methods. Following after Wallace and Crookes, they must begin with the A B C of Spiritualism, which—meaning to be very scornful—Dr. Carpenter terms “the centre of enlightenment and progress.” They must take their lessons not alone from the true but as well from spurious phenomena, from what his (Carpenter’s) chief authority, the “arch-priest of the new religion,” properly classifies as “Delusions, Absurdities and Trickeries.” After wading through all this, as every intelligent investigator has had to do, he may get some glimpses of truth. It is as useful to learn what the phenomena are not, as to find out what they are.
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Dr. Carpenter has two patent
keys warranted to unlock every secret door of the mediumistic cabinet. They are
labelled “expectancy” and “prepossession.” Most scientists have some pick-lock
like this. But to the “tree-trick” they scarcely apply; for neither his
“distinguished civilians” nor “scientific officers” could have expected to see
a stark- naked Hindu on a strange glass-plot, in full daylight, make a
mango-tree grow six feet from the seed in half an hour, their “prepossessions”
would be all against it. It cannot be a “spiritual agency”; it must be
“jugglery.” Now Maskelyne and Cooke, two clever English jugglers, have been
keeping the mouths and eyes of all
It is not to be denied that in
A MODERN PANARION.
While at Cawnpur, en route to
Our experiment was made on that verandah in the presence of the family of the landlord—a half-caste Portuguese from the south—my friend and myself and two freshly-imported Frenchmen, who laughed outrageously at our superstition. Time, in the afternoon. The heat was suffocating, but notwithstanding, the holy man—a coffee coloured, living skeleton—demanded that the motion of the pankah (hanging fan worked by a cord) should be stopped. He gave no reason, but it was because the agitation of the air interferes with all delicate magnetic experiments. We had all heard of the “rolling pot” as an agency for the detection of theft in India—a common iron pot being made, under the influence of a Hindu conjurer, to roll of its own impulse, without any hands touching it, to the very spot where the stolen goods are concealed. The gossain proceeded otherwise. He first of all demanded some article that had been latest in contact with the contents of the valise; a pair of gloves was handed him. He pressed them between his thin palms, and, rolling them over and over again, then dropped them on the floor and proceeded to turn himself slowly around, with arms outstretched and fingers expanded, as though he were seeking the direction in which the property lay. Suddenly he stopped with a jerk, sank gradually to the floor and remained motionless, sitting cross-legged and with his arms still outstretched in the
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same direction, as though plunged in a cataleptic trance. This lasted for over an hour, which in that suffocating atmosphere was to us one long torture. Suddenly the landlord sprang from his seat to the balustrade, and began intently looking towards the river, in which direction our eyes also turned. Coming from whence, or how, we could not tell, but out there, over the water, and near its surface, was a dark object approaching. What it was we could not make out; but the mass seemed impelled by some interior force to revolve, at first slowly, but then faster and faster as it drew near. It was as though supported on an invisible pavement, and its course was in a direct line as the bee flies. It reached the bank, disappeared again among the high vegetation, and anon, rebounding with force as it leaped over the low garden wall, flew rather than rolled on to the verandah and dropped with a heavy thud under the extended palms of the gossain. A violent, convulsive tremor shook the frame of the old man, as with a deep sigh he opened his half-closed eyes. All were astonished, but the French men stared at the bundle with an expression of idiotic terror in their eyes. Rising from the ground the holy man opened the tarred canvas envelope, and within were found all the stolen articles down to the least thing. Without a word or waiting for thanks, he salaamed low to the company and disappeared through the doorway, before we recovered from our surprise. We had to run after him a long way before we could press upon him a dozen rupees, which blessings he received in his wooden bowl.
This may appear a very
surprising and incredible story to Europeans and Americans who have never been
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
THE JEWS IN
IT is to be regretted that your incandescent contemporary, The Sun, should have no better sources of information. It stated on Saturday last that
This is the reverse of correct, as is also the further statement that
They have been robbed and
The murdering and plundering
at the seat of war, it is now pretty well settled, has been done by the Turks
exclusively, and, notwithstanding that the English and other Turkophile organs
have diligently cast the blame upon the Russians, the plot f the Ottoman
Government, thanks to the honest old German Emperor, is now discovered. The
Turks are convicted of systematic lying, and nearly every country, including
If your neighbour would take
the trouble to ask any traveller or Russian Israelite now in
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nently burnt at the rakka (shrines) of the 700 orthodox saints whose beatified mummies fill up the catacombs of Kief, and the wax for the candles on all the altars. It is again the Jews who keep the dram-shops, or Kabak, where the faithful congregate after service to give a last fillip to their devotional ardour. It is barely four months since the chief Rabbi of Moscow published in the official Viedomosty an earnest address to his co-religionists throughout the empire to remind them that they were Russians by nativity, and called upon them to display their patriotism in subscriptions for the wounded, prayers in the synagogues for the success of the Russian arms, and in all other practical ways. In 1870, during the emeut in Odessa, which was caused by some Jewish children throwing dirt into the church on Easter night, and which lasted more than a week, the Russian soldiers shot and bayoneted twelve Christian Russians and not a single Jew; while—and I speak as an eye-witness—over two hundred rioters were publicly whipped by order of the Governor-General, Kotzebue, of whom none were Israelites. That there is a hatred between them and the more fanatical Christians is true, but the Russian Government can be no more blamed for this than the British and American Governments because Orangemen and Catholics mutually hate, beat, and occasionally kill each other.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
H. P. BLAVATSKY’S MASONIC
[From The Franklin Register,
[ EDITORIAL.— are gratified to be able to present to the readers of The Register this week, the following highly-characteristic letter, prepared expressly for our paper by Madame Helen P. Blavatsky, the authoress of Isis Unveiled. In this letter the lady defends the validity of her diploma as a Mason, reference to which was had in our issue of January 8th. The immediate cause of the letter from Madame B. was the multiplication of attacks upon her claim to that distinguished honour both before and since the publication mentioned.
The field is open for a rejoinder; and we trust that a champion will appear, to defend that which she so vigorously and bravely assails.
That the subject-matter in controversy may be seen at a glance by those who may not be regular readers of our paper, we again print the text of her diploma.
To the Glory of the Sublime Architect of the Universe.
Ancient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, derived through the Charter of the
Sovereign Sanctuary of
Grand Lodge of
Salutation on all points of the Triangle.
Respect to the Order.
Peace, Tolerance, Truth.
To all Illustrious and Enlightened Masons throughout the world—union, prosperity,
We, the The Sovereign Grand Master General, and we, the Sovereign Grand Conservators, thirty-third and last degree of the Sovereign Sanctuary for England, Wales, etc., decorated with the Grand Star of Sirius, etc., Grand Commanders of the Three Legions of the Knights of Masonry, by virtue of the high authority with which we are invested, have declared and proclaimed, and by these presents do declare and proclaim our illustrious and enlightened Brother, H. P. Blavatsky, to be an Apprentice, Companion, Perfect Mistress, Sublime Elect
129———————————————H. P. BLAVATSKY’S MASONIC PATENT.
Scotch Lady, Grand Elect, Chevaliere de Rose Croix, Adonaite Mistress, Perfect Venerable Mistress, and a crowned Princess of Rite of Adoption.
Given under our hands and the
seals of the Sovereign Sanctuary for
JOHN YARKER, thirty-third degree, Sovereign Grand Master.
M. CASPARI, thirty-third degree, Grand chancellor.
A. D. LOEWENSRARK,
thirty-third degree, Grand Secretary.]
To the Editor of “ The Frankin Register.”
I am obliged to correct Certain errors in your highly complimentary editorial in The Register of January 18th. You say that I have taken “the regular degrees in Masonic Lodges” and attained high dignity in the order, and further add:
Upon Madame B. has recently been conferred the diploma of the thirty-third Masonic Degree, from the oldest Masonic body in the world.
If you will kindly refer to my Isis Unveiled (vol. ii. p. 394), YOU will find me saying:
We are neither under promise, obligation, nor oath, and therefore violate no confidence,—reference being made to Western Masonry, to the criticism of which the chapter is devoted; and full assurance is given that I have never taken “the regular degrees” in any Western Masonic Lodge. Of course, therefore, having taken no such degrees, I am not a thirty-third degree Mason. In a private note, also in your most recent editorial, you state that you find yourself taken to task by various Masons, among them one who has taken thirty-three degrees—which include the “Ineffable”—for what you said about me. My Masonic experience—if you will so term membership in several Eastern Masonic Fraternities and Esoteric Brotherhoods—is confined to the Orient. But, nevertheless, this neither prevents my knowing, in common with all Eastern “Masons,” everything connected with Western Masonry (including the numberless humbugs that have been imposed upon the Craft during the last half century) nor, since the receipt of the diploma from the “Sovereign Grand Master,” of which you publish the text, my being entitled to call myself a Mason. Claiming nothing, therefore, in Western Masonry but what is expressed in the above diploma, you will perceive that your Masonic mentors must transfer their quarrel to John Yarker, jun., P.M., P.Mk., M.Pz., P.G.C., and M.W.S.K.T. and R.C., K.T., P.K.H., and K.A.R.S., P.M.W., P.S.G.C. and P.S.,
A MODERN PANARION.
Dai AD., A. and P. Rite, to the man, in short, who is recognized in England and Wales and the whole world, as a member of the Masonic Archæological Institute; as Honorary Fellow of the London Literary Union; of Lodge No. 227, Dublin; of the Bristol College of Rosicrucians; who is Past Grand Mareschal of the Temple; member of the Royal Grand Council of the Antient Rites time immemorial; keeper of the Ancient Royal Secrets, Grand Commander of Mizraim, Ark Mariners, Red Cross Constantine, Babylon and Palestine, R. Grand Superintendent for Lancashire, Sovereign Grand Conservator of the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, thirty-third and last degree, etc., from whom the Patent issued.
Your “Ineffable” friend must have cultivated his spiritual perceptions to small purpose in the investigation and contemplation of the “Ineffable Name,” from the fourth to the fourteenth degrees of that gilded humbug, the A. and A. Rite, if he could say that there is,
No authority for a derivation through the charter of the Sovereign Sanctuary of America, to issue this patent.
He lives in a veritable Crystal Palace of Masonic glass, and must look out for falling stones. Brother Yarker says, in his Notes on the
Modern Rosicrucianism and the
various Rites and Degrees (p. 149), that the Grand Orient, derived from the
Craft Grand Lodge of England, in 1725, works and recognizes the following
Rites, appointing representatives with chapters in America and elsewhere: 1.
French Rite; 2. Rite of Heredom; 3. A. and A. Rite; 4. Rite of Kilwinning; 5.
Philosophical Rite; 6. Rite du Régime rectif; 7. Rite of Memphis; 8. Rite of
Mizraim. All under a grand
The A. and P. Rite was originally
chartered in America, November 9th 1856, with David McChellan as G. M. [
Kenneth Mackenzie’s Royal Masonic Cyclopædia p. 43], and in 1862 submitted
entirely to the Grand Orient of France. In 1862, the Grand Orient vised and
sealed the American Patent of Seymour as G. M., and mutual representatives were
appointed, down to 1866, when the relations of the G. 0. with America were
ruptured, and the American Sovereign Sanctuary took up its position, “in the
bosom” of the Ancient Cernear Council, of the “Scottish Rite” of thirty-three
degrees, as John Yarker says, in the above quoted work. In 1872 a Sovereign
Sanctuary of the Rite was established in
131——————————————————H. P. BLAVATSKY’S MASONIC PATENT.
It sounds very grand, no doubt, to be a thirty-second degreeist, and an “Ineffable” one into the bargain; but read what Robert B. Folger, M.D., Past Master thirty-third, says himself in his Ancient’ and Accepted Scottish Rite in Thirty-three Degrees:
With reference to the other
degrees, . . . (with the exception of the thirty third, which was manufactured
And further: he asks:
Who were the persons that formed this Supreme Council of the thirty-third degree? And where did they get that degree, or the power to confer it?
Their patents have never been produced, nor has any evidence ever yet been given that they came in possession of the thirty-third degree in a regular and lawful manner (pp. 92, 95, 96).
That an American Rite, thus spuriously organized, declines to acknowledge the Patent of an English Sovereign Sanctuary, duly recognized by the Grand Orient of France, does not at all invalidate my claim to Masonic honours. As well might Protestants refuse to call the Dominicans Christians, because they—the Protestants—broke away from the Catholic Church and set up for themselves, as for A. and A. Masons of America to deny the validity of a Patent from an English A. and P. Rite body. Though I have nothing to do with American modern Masonry, and do not expect to have, yet, feeling highly honoured by the distinction conferred upon me by Brother Yarker, I mean to stand for my chartered rights, and to recognize no other authority than that of the high Masons of England, who have been pleased to send me this unsolicited and unexpected testimonial of their approval of my humble labours.
Of a piece with the above is the ignorant rudeness of certain critics who pronounce Cagliostro an “impostor” and his desire of engrafting Eastern Philosophy upon Western Masonry “charlatanism.” Without such a union Western Masonry is a corpse without a soul. As Yarker observes, in his Notes on the Mysteries of Antiquity:
As the Masonic fraternity is now governed, the Craft is becoming a storehouse of paltry Masonic emperors and other charlatans, who swindle their brothers, and feather their nests out of the aristocratic pretensions which they have tacked on to our institutions—ad captanduin vulgus.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
VIEWS OF THE THEOSOPHISTS
PERMIT a humble Theosophist to appear for the first time in your columns, to say a few words in defence of our beliefs. I see in your issue of December 21St ultimo, one of your correspondents, Mr. J. Croucher, makes the following very bold assertions:
Had the Theosophists thoroughly comprehended the nature of the soul and spirit, and its relation to the body, they would have known that if the soul once leaves, it leaves for ever.
This is so ambiguous that, unless he uses the term “soul” to designate only the vital principle, I can only suppose that he falls into the common error of calling the astral body, spirit, and the immortal essence, “soul.” We Theosophists, as Col. Olcott has told you, do vice versa.
Besides the unwarranted imputation on us of ignorance, Mr. Croucher has an idea (peculiar to himself) that the problem which has heretofore taxed the powers of the metaphysicians in all ages has been solved in our own. It is hardly to be supposed that Theosophists or any others “thoroughly” comprehend the nature of the soul and spirit, and their relation to the body. Such an achievement is for Omniscience, and we Theosophists treading the path worn by the footsteps of the old Sages in the moving sands of exoteric philosophy, can only hope to approximate to the absolute truth. It is really more than doubtful whether Mr. Croucher can do better, even though an “inspirational medium,’’ and experienced ‘‘through constant sittings with one of the best trance mediums” in your country. I may well leave to time and Spiritual Philosophy to entirely vindicate us in the far here after. When any Œdipus of this or the next century shall have solved this eternal enigma of the Sphinx—man, every modern dogma, not excepting some pets of the Spiritualists, will be swept away, as the Theban monster, according to the legend, leaped from his promontory into the sea, and was seen no more.
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As early as February 8th, 1876, your learned correspondent, “M.A. Oxon.,” took occasion, in an article entitled “Soul and Spirit,” to point out the frequent confusion of the terms by other writers. As things are no better now, I will take the opportunity to show how surely Mr. Croucher, and many other Spiritualists of whom he may be taken as the spokesman, misapprehend Col. Olcott’s meaning and the views of the New York Theosophists. Col. Olcott neither affirmed nor dreamed of implying that the immortal spirit leaves the body to produce the medial displays. And yet Mr. Croucher evidently thinks he did, for the word “spirit” to him means the inner, astral man, or double. Here is what Col. Olcott did say, double commas and all:
That mediumistic physical phenomena are not produced by pure spirits, but by “souls” embodied or disembodied, and usually with the help of Elementals.
Any intelligent reader must perceive that, in placing the word “souls” in quotation marks, the writer indicated that he was using it in a sense not his own. As a Theosophist, he would more properly and philosophically have said for himself “astral spirits” or “astral men,” or doubles. Hence, the criticism is wholly without even a foundation of plausibility. I wonder that a man could be found who, on so frail a basis, would have attempted so sweeping a denunciation. As it is, our President only propounded the trine of man, like the ancient and Oriental Philosophers and their worthy imitator Paul, who held that the physical corporeity, the flesh and blood, was permeated and so kept alive by the Psuche, the soul or astral body. This doctrine, that man is trine—spirit or Nous, soul and body—was taught by the Apostle of the Gentiles more broadly and clearly than it has been by any of his Christian successors (see i Thess., V. 23). But having evidently forgotten or neglected to “thoroughly” study the transcendental opinions of the ancient Philosophers and the Christian Apostle upon the subject, Mr. Croucher views the soul (Psuche) as spirit (Nous) and vice versa.
The Buddhists, who separate the three entities in man (though viewing them as one when on the path to Nirvana), yet divide the soul into several parts, and have names for each of these and their functions. Thus confusion is unknown among them. The old Greeks did likewise, holding that Psuche was bios, or physical life, and it was thumos, or passional nature, the animals being accorded but the lower faculty of the soul instinct. The soul or Psuche is itself a combination, consensus or unity of the bios, or physical vitality, the epithumia or concupiscible nature, and the phrén, mens or mind. Perhaps the animus
A MODERN PANARION.
ought to be included. It is constituted of ethereal substance, which pervades the whole universe, and is derived wholly from the soul of the world—Anima Mundi or the Buddhist Svabhâvat—which is not spirit; though intangible and impalpable, it is yet, by comparison with spirit or pure abstraction, objective matter. By its complex nature, the soul may descend and ally itself so closely to the corporeal nature as to exclude a higher life from exerting any moral influence upon it. On the other hand, it can so closely attach itself to the Nous or spirit, as to share its potency, in which case its vehicle, physical man, will appear as a God even during his terrestrial life. Unless such union of soul and spirit does occur, either during this life or after physical death, the individual man is not immortal as an entity. The Psuche is sooner or later disintegrated. Though the man may have gained “the whole world,” he has lost his “soul.” Paul, when teaching the anastasis, or continuation of individual spiritual life after death, set forth that there was a physical body which was raised in incorruptible substance.
The spiritual body is most assuredly not one of the bodies, or visible or tangible larvre, which form in circle-rooms, and are so improperly termed “materialized spirits.” When once the metanoia,, the full developing of spiritual life, has lifted the spiritual body out of the psychical (the disembodied, corruptible, astral man, what Col. Olcott calls “soul”), it becomes, in strict ratio with its progress, more and more an abstraction for the corporeal senses. It can influence, inspire, and even communicate with men subjectively; it can make itself felt, and even, in those rare instances when the clairvoyant is perfectly pure and perfectly lucid, be seen by the inner eye (which is the eye of the purified Psuche—soul). But how can it ever manifest objectively?
It will be seen, then, that to apply the term “spirit” to the materialized eldola of your “form-manifestations” is grossly improper, and something ought to be done to change the practice, since scholars have begun to discuss the subject. At best, when not what the Greeks termed phantasma, they are but phasma or apparitions.
In scholars, speculators, and especially in our modern savants, the psychical principle is more or less pervaded by the corporeal, and “the things of the spirit are foolishness and impossible to be known” (i Cor., ii. 14). Plato was then right, in his way, in despising land measuring, geometry and arithmetic, for all these overlooked all high ideas. Plutarch taught that at death Proserpine separated the body
135———————————————————VIEWS OF THE THEOSOPHISTS.
and the soul entirely, after which the latter became a free and independent demon (daimon). Afterward the good underwent a second dissolution: Demeter divided the Psuche from the Nous or Pneuma. The former was dissolved after a time into ethereal particles—hence the inevitable dissolution and subsequent annihilation of the man who at death is purely psychical; the latter, the Nous, ascended to its higher divine power and became gradually a pure, divine spirit. Kapila, in common with all Eastern Philosophers, despised the purely psychical nature. It is this agglomeration of the grosser particles of the soul, the mesmeric exhalations of human nature imbued with all its terrestrial desires and propensities, its vices, imperfections and weakness, forming the astral body, which can become objective under certain circumstances, which the Buddhists call the Skandhas (the groups), and Col. Olcott has for convenience termed the “soul.” The Buddhists and Brâhmans teach that the man’s individuality is not secured until he has passed through and become disembarrassed of the last of these groups, the final vestige of earthly taint. Hence their doctrine of metempsychosis, so ridiculed and so utterly misunderstood by our greatest Orientalists.
Even the physicists teach us that the particles composing physical man are, by evolution, reworked by nature into every variety of inferior physical form. Why, then, are the Buddhists unphilosophical or even unscientific, in affirming that the semi-material Skandhas of the astral man (his very ego, up to the point of final purification) are appropriated to the evolution of minor astral forms (which, of course, enter into the purely physical bodies of animals) as fast as he throws them off in his progress toward Nirvana? Therefore, we may correctly say, that so long as the disembodied man is throwing off a single particle of these Skandhas, a portion of him is being reincarnated in the bodies of plants and animals. And if he, the disembodied astral man, be so material that “Demeter” cannot find even one spark of the Pneuma to carry up to the “divine power,” then the individual, so to speak, is dissolved, piece by piece, into the crucible of evolution, or, as the Hindus allegorically illustrate it, he passes thousands of years in the bodies of impure animals. Here we see how completely the ancient Greek and Hindu Philosophers, the modern Oriental schools, and the Theosophists, are ranged on one side, in perfect accord, and the bright array of “inspirational mediums” and “spirit guides” stand in perfect discord on the other. Though no two of the latter, unfortunately,
A MODERN PANARION.
agree as to what is and what is not truth, yet they do agree with unanimitv to antagonize whatever of the teachings of the Philosophers we may repeat.
Let it not be inferred, though, from this, that I, or any other real Theosophist, undervalue true spiritual phenomena or philosophy, or that we do not believe in the communication between mortals and pure Spirits, any less than we do in communication between bad men and bad Spirits, or even of good men with bad Spirits under bad conditions. Occultism is the essence of Spiritualism, while modern or popular Spiritualism I cannot better characterize than as adulterated unconscious Magic. We go so far as to say that all the great and noble characters, all the grand geniuses, the poets, painters, sculptors, musicians, all who have worked at any time for the realization of their highest ideal, irrespective of selfish ends—have been spiritually inspired; not mediums, as many Spiritualists call them—passive tools in the hands of controlling guides—but incarnate, illuminated souls, working consciously in collaboration with the pure disembodied human and new-embodied high Planetary Spirits, for the elevation and spiri-tualization of mankind. We believe that everything in material life is most intimately associated with spiritual agencies. As regards physical phenomena and mediumship, we believe that it is only when the passive medium has given place, or rather grown into, the conscious mediator, that he discerns between Spirits good and bad. And we do believe, and know also, that while the incarnate man (though the highest Adept) cannot vie in potency with the pure disembodied Spirits, who, freed of all their Skandhas, have become subjective to the physical senses, yet he can perfectly equal, and can far surpass in the way of phenomena, mental or physical, the average “Spirit” of modern mediumship. Believing this, you will perceive that we are better Spiritualists, in the true acceptation of the word, than so-called Spiritualists, who, instead of showing the reverence we do to true Spirits—Gods—debase the name of Spirit by applying it to the impure, or at best, imperfect beings who produce the majority of the phenomena.
The two objections urged by Mr. Croucher against the claim of the Theosophists, that a child is but a duality at birth, “and perhaps until the sixth or seventh year,” and that some depraved persons are annihilated at some time after death, are (1) the mediums have described to him his three children “who passed away at the respective ages of two,
137———————————————————VIEWS OF THE THEOSOPHISTS.
four, and six years”; and (2) that he has known persons who were “very depraved” on earth come back. He says:
These statements have been afterwards confirmed by glorious beings who came after, and who have proved by their mastery of the laws which are governing the universe, that they are worthy of being believed.
I am really happy to hear that Mr. Croucher is competent to sit in judgment upon these “glorious beings,” and give them the palm over Kapila, Manu, Plato, and even Paul. It is worth something, after all, to be an “inspirational medium.” We have no such “glorious beings” in the Theosophical Society to learn from; but it is evident that while Mr. Croucher sees and judges things through his emotional nature, the Philosophers whom we study took nothing from any “glorious being” that did not perfectly accord with the universal harmony, justice, and equilibrium of the manifested plan of the Universe. The Hermetic axiom, “as below, so above,” is the only rule of evidence accepted by the Theosophists. Believing in a spiritual and invisible Universe, we cannot conceive of it in any other way than as completely dovetailing and corresponding with the material, objective Universe; for logic and observation alike teach us that the latter is the outcome and visible manifestation of the former, and that the laws governing both are immutable.
In this letter of Dec. 7th Colonel Olcott very appropriately illustrates his subject of potential immortality by citing the admitted physical law of the survival of the fittest. The rule applies to the greatest as to the smallest things, to the planet equally with the plant. It applies to man. And the imperfectly developed man-child can no more exist under the conditions prepared for the perfected types of its species, than can an imperfect plant or animal. In infantile life the higher faculties are not developed, but, as everyone knows, are only in the germ, or rudimentary. The babe is an animal, however “angelic” he may, and naturally enough ought to, appear to his parents. Be it ever so beautifully modelled, the infant body is but the jewel-casket preparing for the jewel. It is bestial, selfish, and, as a babe, nothing more. Little of even the soul, Psuche, can be perceived except so far as vitality is concerned; hunger, terror, pain and pleasure appear to be the principal of its conceptions. A kitten is its superior in everything but possibilities. The grey neurine of the brain is equally unformed. After a time mental qualities begin to appear, but they relate chiefly to external matters. The cultivation of the mind of the child by teachers
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can only affect this part of the nature—what Paul calls natural or physical, and James and Jude sensual or psychical. Hence the words of Jude, “psychical, having not the spirit,” and of Paul:
The psychical man receiveth not the things of the spirit, for to him they are foolishness; the spiritual man discerneth.
It is only the man of full age, with his faculties disciplined to discern good and evil, whom we can denominate spiritual, noetic, intuitive. Children developed in such respects would be precocious, abnormal abortions.
Why, then, should a child who has never lived other than an animal life; who never discerned right from wrong; who never cared whether he lived or died—since he could not understand either of life or death—become individually immortal? Man’s cycle is not complete until he has passed through the earth-life. No one stage of probation and experience can be skipped over. He must he a man before he can become a Spirit. A dead child is a failure of nature—he must live again; and the same Psuche reenters the physical plane through another birth. Such cases, together with those of congenital idiots, are, as stated in Isis Unveiled, the only instances of human reincarnation. If every child-duality were to be immortal, why deny a like individual immortality to the duality of the animal? Those who believe in the trinity of man know the babe to be but a duality—body and soul—and the individuality which resides only in the psychical is, as we have seen proved by the Philosophers, perishable. The completed trinity only survives. Trinity, I say, for at death the astral form becomes the outward body, and inside a still finer one evolves, which takes the place of the Psuche on earth, and the whole is more or less overshadowed by the Nous. Space prevented Col. Olcott from developing the doctrine more fully, or he would have added that not even all of the Elementaries (human) are annihilated. There is still a chance for some. By a supreme struggle these may retain their third and higher principle, and so, though slowly and painfully, yet ascend sphere after sphere, casting off at each transition the previous heavier garment, and clothing themselves in more radiant spiritual envelopes, until, rid of every finite particle, the trinity merges into the final Nirvana, and becomes a unity—a God.
A volume would scarce suffice
to enumerate all the varieties of Ele-
* [Note that ‘reincarnation” is here used as a term applying only to the Psuche. This does not reincarnate, it has always been taught, except in the instances given.—Ens.]
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mentaries and Elementals; the former being so called by some Kabalists (Henry Kunrath, for instance) to indicate their entanglement in the terrestrial elements which hold them captive, and the latter designated by that name to avoid confusion, and equally applying to those which go to form the astral body of the infant and to the stationary Nature Spirits proper. Eliphas Levi, however, indifferently calls them all “Elementary” and “souls.” I repeat again, it is but the wholly psychical disembodied astral man which ultimately disappears as an individual entity. As to the component parts of his Psuche, they are as indestructible as the atoms of any other body composed of matter.
The man must indeed be a true animal who has not, after death, a spark of the divine Ruach or Nous left in him to allow him a chance of self-salvation. Yet there are such lamentable exceptions, not alone among the depraved, but also among those who, during life, by stifling every idea of an after existence, have killed in themselves the last desire to achieve immortality. It is the will of man, his all-potent will, that weaves his destiny, and if a man is determined in the notion that death means annihilation, he will find it so. It is among our commonest experiences that the determination of physical life or death depends upon the will. Some people snatch themselves by force of determination from the very jaws of death, while others succumb to insignificant maladies. What man does with his body he can do with his disembodied Psuche.
Nothing in this militates against the images of Mr. Croucher’s children being seen in the Astral Light by the medium, either as actually left by the children themselves, or as imagined by the father to look when grown. The impression in the latter case would be but a phasma, while in the former it is a phantasma, or the apparition of the indestructible impress of what once really was.
In days of old the “mediators” of humanity were men like Christna, Gautama Buddha, Jesus, Paul, Apollonius of Tyana, Plotinus, Porphyry, and the like of them. They were Adepts, Philosophers—men who, by struggling their whole lives in purity, study, and self-sacrifice, through trials, privations and self-discipline, attained divine illumination and seemingly superhuman powers. They could not only produce all the phenomena seen in our times, but regarded it as a sacred duty to cast out “evil spirits,” or demons, from the unfortunates who were obsessed—in other words, to rid the medium of their days of the “Elementaries.”
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But in our time of improved psychology every hysterical sensitive looms into a seer, and behold! there are mediums by the thousand! Without any previous study, self-denial, or the least limitation of their physical nature, they assume, in the capacity of mouthpieces of unidentified and unidentifiable intelligences, to outrival Socrates in wisdom, Paul in eloquence, and Tertullian himself in fiery and authoritative dogmatism. The Theosophists are the last to assume infallibility for themselves, or recognize it in others; as they judge others, so they are willing to be judged.
In the name, then, of logic and common sense, before bandying epithets, let us submit our difference to the arbitrament of reason. Let us compare all things, and, putting aside emotionalism and prejudice as unworthy of the logician and the experimentalist, hold fast only to that which passes the ordeal of ultimate analysis.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
A SOCIETY WITHOUT A DOGMA
TIMES have greatly changed since the winter of 1875-6, when the establishment of the Theosophical Society caused the grand army of American Spiritualists to wave banners, clang steel, and set up a great shouting. How well we all remember the putting forth of “Danger Signals,” the oracular warnings and denunciations of numberless mediums! How fresh in memory the threats of “angel-friends” to Dr. Gardiner, of Boston that they would kill Colonel Olcott if he dared call them “Elementaries” in the lectures he was about delivering! The worst of the storm has passed. The hail of imprecations no longer batters around our devoted heads; it is raining now, and we can almost see the rainbow of promised peace spanning the sky.
Beyond doubt, much of this subsidence of the disturbed elements is due to our armed neutrality. But still I judge that the gradual spread of a desire to learn something more as to the cause of the phenomena must be taken into account. And yet the time has not quite come when the lion (Spiritualism) and the lamb (Theosophy) are ready to lie down together—unless the lamb is willing to lie inside the lion. While we held our tongues we were asked to speak, and when we spoke—or rather our President spoke—the hue and cry was raised once more. Though the pop-gun fusillade and the dropping shots of musketry have mostly ceased, the defiles of your spiritual Balkans are defended by your heaviest Krupp guns. If the fire were directed only against Colonel Olcott there would be no occasion for me to bring up the reserves. But fragments from both of the bombs which your able gunner, and our mutual friend, ‘‘M.A. Oxon.’’ has exploded, in his two letters ‘of January 4th and 11th have given me contusions. Under the velvet paw of his rhetoric I have felt the scratch of challenge.
At the very beginning of what must be a long struggle, it is imperatively demanded that the Theosophical position shall be unequivo-
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cally defined. In the last of the above two communications, it is stated that Colonel Olcott transmits “the teaching of the learned author of Isis Unveiled”—the “master key to all problems.” (?)
Who has ever claimed that the book was that, or anything like it? Not the author, certainly. The title? A misnomer for which the publisher is unpremeditatedly responsible, and, if I am not mistaken, “MA. Oxon.” knows it. My title was The Veil of Isis, and that head line runs through the entire first volume. Not until that volume was stereotyped did anyone recollect that a book of the same name was before the public. Then, as a derniere ressource, the publisher selected the present title.
“If he [Olcott] be not the rose, at any rate he has lived near it,” says your learned correspondent. Had I seen this sentence apart from the context, I would never have imagined that the unattractive old party, superficially known as H. P. Blavatsky, was designated under this poetical Persian simile. If he had compared me to a bramble- bush, I might have complimented him upon his artistic realism. He says:
Colonel Olcott of himself would command attention; he commands it still more on account of the store of knowledge to which he has had access.
True, he has had such access, but by no means is it confined to my humble self. Though I may have taught him a few of the things that I had learned in other countries (and corroborated the theory in every case by practical illustration), yet a far abler teacher than I could not in three brief years have given him more than the alphabet of what there is to learn, before a man can become wise in spiritual and psycho physiological things. The very limitations of modern languages prevent any rapid communication of ideas about Eastern Philosophy. I defy the great Max Muller himself to translate Kapila’s Sutras so as to give their real meaning. We have seen what the best European authorities can do with the Hindu metaphysics; and what a mess they have made of it, to be sure! The Colonel corresponds directly with Hindu scholars, and has from them a good deal more than he can get from so clumsy a preceptor as myself.
Our friend, “M.A. Oxon.,” says that Colonel Olcott “comes forward to enlighten us’’—than which scarce anything could be more inaccurate. He neither comes forward, nor pretends to enlighten anyone. The public wanted to know the views of the Theosophists, and our President attempted to give, as succinctly as possible in the limits of a
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single article, some little glimpse of so much of the truth as he had learned. That the result would not be wholly satisfactory was inevitable. Volumes would not suffice to answer all the questions naturally presenting themselves to an enquiring mind; a library of quartos would barely obliterate the prejudices of those who ride at the anchor of centuries of metaphysical and theological misconceptions—perhaps even errors. But, though our President is not guilty of the conceit of “pretending to enlighten” Spiritualists, I think he has certainly thrown out some hints worthy of the thoughtful consideration of the unprejudiced.
I am sorry that “M.A. Oxon.” is not content with mere suggestions. Nothing but the whole naked truth will satisfy him. We must “square” our theories with his facts, we must lay our theory down “on exact lines of demonstration.” We are asked:
Where are the seers? What are their records? And, far more important, how do they verify them to Us?
I answer: Seers are where “Schools of the Prophets” are still extant, and they have their records with them. Though Spiritualists are not able to go in search of them, yet the Philosophy they teach commends itself to logic, and, its principles are mathematically demonstrable. If this be not so, let it be shown.
But, in their turn, Theosophists may ask, and do ask.: Where are the proofs that the medial phenomena are exclusively attributable to the agency of departed “Spirits”? Who are the “Seers” among mediums blessed with an infallible lucidity? What “tests” are given that admit of no alternative explanation? Though Swedenborg was one of the greatest of Seers, and churches are erected in his name, yet except to his adherents what proof is there that the “Spirits” objective to his vision—including Paul—promenading in hats, were anything but the creatures of his imagination? Are the spiritual potentialities of the living man so well comprehended that mediums can tell when their own agency ceases, and that of outside influence begins? No; but for all answer to our suggestions that the subject is open to debate, “M.A. Oxon.” shudderingly charges us with attempting to upset what he designates as “a cardinal dogma of our faith,” i.e., the faith of the Spiritualists. Dogma? Faith? These are the right and left pillars of every soul crushing Theology. Theosophists have no dogmas, exact no blind faith. Theosophists are ever ready to abandon every idea that is
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proved erroneous upon strictly
logical deductions; let Spiritualists do the same. Dogmas are the toys that
amuse, and can satisfy but, unreasoning children. They are the offspring of
human speculation and prejudiced fancy. In the eye of true Philosophy it seems
an insult to common sense, that we should break loose from the idols and dogmas
of either Christian or heathen exoteric faith to catch up those of a
Realizing, as they do, the boundlessness of the absolute truth, Theosophists repudiate all claim to infallibility. The most cherished preconceptions, the most “pious hope,” the strongest “ master passion,” they sweep aside like dust from their path, when their error is pointed out. Their highest hope is to approximate to the truth; that they have succeeded in going a few steps beyond the Spiritualists, they think proved in their conviction that they know nothing in comparison with what is to be learned; in their sacrifice of every pet theory and prompting of emotionalism at the shrine of fact; and in their absolute and unqualified repudiation of everything that smacks of “dogma.”
With great rhetorical elaboration “M.A. Oxon.” paints the result of the supersedure of spiritualistic by Theosophic ideas. In brief, he shows Spiritualism a lifeless corpse:
A body from which the soul has been wrenched, and for which most men will care nothing.
We submit that the reverse is true. Spiritualists wrench the soul from true Spiritualism by their degradation of Spirit. Of the in they make the finite; of the divine subjective they make the human and limited objective. Are Theosophists Materialists? Do not their hearts warm with the same “pure and holy love” for their “loved ones” as those of Spiritualists? Have not many of us sought long years “through the gate of mediumship to have access to the world of Spirit”—and vainly sought? The comfort and assurance modern Spiritualism could not give us we found in Theosophy. As a result we believe far more firmly than many Spiritualists—for our belief is based on knowledge—in the communion of our beloved ones with us; but not as materialized Spirits with beating hearts and sweating brows.
Holding such views as we do as to logic and fact, you perceive that when a Spiritualist pronounces to us the words dogma and fact, debate
145———————————————————A SOCIETY WITHOUT A DOGMA.
is impossible, for there is no common ground upon which we can meet. We decline to break our heads against shadows. If fact and logic were given the consideration they should have, there would be no more temples in this world for exoteric worship, whether Christian or heathen, and the method of the Theosophists would be welcomed as the only one insuring action and progress—a progress that cannot be arrested, since each advance shows yet greater advances to be made.
As to our producing our “Seers” and “their records”—one word. In The Spiritulist of Jan. 11th, I find Dr. Peebles saying that in due time he
Will publish such facts about the Dravida Brâhmans as I am [he is] permitted. I say permitted, because some of these occurred under the promise and seal of secrecy.
If even the casual wayfarer is put under an obligation of secrecy before he is shown some of the less important psycho-physiological phenomena, is it not barely possible that the Brotherhood to which some Theosophists belong has also doctrines, records, and phenomena, that cannot be revealed to the profane and the indifferent, without any imputation lying against their reality and authoritativeness? This, at least, I believe, “M.A. Oxon.” knows. As we do not offensively obtrude ourselves upon an unwilling public, but only answer under compulsion, we can hardly be denounced as contumacious if we produce to a promiscuous public neither our “Seers” nor “their records.” When Mohammed is ready to go to the mountain, it will be found standing in its place.
And that no one that makes this search may suppose that we Theosophists send him to a place where there are no pitfalls for the unwary, I quote from the famous commentary on the Bhagavad Gita of our brother Hurrychund Chintamon, the unqualified admission that,
In Hindustau, as in
Like the Philosophy taught by this author in the work in question, the object of the Theosophical Society “is the cleansing of spiritual truth.”
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
I PERCEIVE that of late the ostracized subject of the Kabalistic “Elementaries” is beginning to appear in the orthodox spiritualistic papers pretty often. No wonder; Spiritualism and its Philosophy are progressing, and they will progress despite the opposition of some very learned ignoramuses, who imagine the Cosmos rotates within the academic brain. But if a new term is once admitted for discussion, the least we can do is to first clearly ascertain what that term means. We students of the Oriental Philosophy count it a clear gain that spiritualistic journals on both sides of the Atlantic are beginning to discuss the subject of sub-human and earth-bound beings, even though they ridicule the idea. But do those who ridicule know what they are talking about, having never studied the Kabalistic writers? It is evident to me that they are confounding the “Elementaries”—disembodied, vicious, and earth-bound, yet human Spirits—with the “Elementals,” or Nature Spirits.
With your permission, then, I will answer an article by Dr. Woldrich which appeared in your Journal of the 2th inst., and to which the author gives the title of “Elementaries.” I freely admit that, owing to my imperfect knowledge of English at the time I first wrote upon the Elementaries, I may have myself contributed to the present confusion, and thus brought upon my doomed head the wrath of Spiritualists, mediums, and their “guides” into the bargain. But now I will attempt to make my meaning clear. Eliphas Levi applies the term “Elementary” equally to earth-bound human Spirits and to the creatures of the elements. This carelessness on his part is due to the fact that as the human Elementaries are considered by the Kabalists as having irretrievably lost every chance of immortality, they therefore, after a certain period of time, become no better than the “Elementals,” who never had any souls at all. To disentangle the subject, I have, in my
Dr. Woldrich, in imitation of Herbert Spencer, attempts to explain the existence of a popular belief in Nature Spirits, demons and mythological deities, as the effect of an imagination untutored by Science, and wrought upon by misunderstood natural phenomena. He attributes the legendary Sylphs, Undines, Salamanders and Gnomes—four great families, which include numberless sub-divisions—to mere fancy; going however to the extreme of affirming that by long practice one can acquire
That power which disembodied spirits have of materializing apparitions by the will.
Granted that “disembodied Spirits” have sometimes that power; but if disembodied why not embodied Spirits also, i.e., a yet living person who has become an Adept in Occultism through study? According to Dr. Woldrich’s theory, an embodied Spirit or Magician can create only subjectively, or to quote his words:
He is in the habit of summoning, that is, bringing up to his imagination, his familiar spirits, which, having responded to his will, he considers as real existences.
I will not stop to enquire for the proofs of this assertion, for it would only lead to an endless discussion. If many thousands of Spiritualists in Europe and America have seen materialized objective forms which assure them they were the Spirits of once living persons, millions of Eastern people throughout the past ages have seen the Hierophants of the Temples, and even now see them in India, without being in the least mediums, also evoking objective and tangible forms, which display no pretensions to being the souls of disembodied men. But I will only remark that, though subjective and invisible to others, as Dr. Woldrich tells us, these forms are palpable, hence objective to the clairvoyant; no scientist has yet mastered the mysteries of even the physical sciences sufficiently to enable him to contradict, with anything like plausible or incontrovertible proofs, the assumption that because the clairvoyant sees a form remaining subjective to others, this form is nevertheless neither a “hallucination” nor a fiction of the imagination. Were the persons present endowed with the same clairvoyant faculty, they would every one of them see this creature of “hallucination” as well; hence there would be sufficient proof that it had an objective existence. And this is how the experiments are conducted in certain psychological training schools, as I call such establishments in the East. One clair-
A MODERN PANARION.
voyant is never trusted. The
person may be honest, truthful, and have the greatest desire to learn only that
which is real, and yet mix the truth unconsciously and accept an Elemental for
a disembodied Spirit, and vice versa. For instance, what guarantee can Dr.
Woldrich give us that “Hoki” and “Thalla,” the guides of Miss May Shaw, were
not simply creatures produced by the power of the imagination? This gentleman
may have the word of his clairvoyant for this; he may implicitly and very
deservedly trust her honesty when in her normal state; but the fact alone that
a medium is a passive and docile instrument in the hands of some invisible and
mysterious powers, ought to make her irresponsible in the eves of every serious
investigator. It is the Spirit, or these invisible powers, he has to test, not
the clairvoyant; and what proof has he of their trustworthiness that he should
think himself warranted in coming out as the opponent of a Philosophy based on
thousands of years of practical experience, the iconoclast of experiments
performed by whole generations of learned Egyptians, Hierophants, Gurus,
Brâhmans, Adepts of the Sanctuaries, and a whole host of more or less learned
Kabalists, who were all trained Seers? Such an accusation, moreover, is
dangerous ground for the Spiritualists them selves. Admit once that a Magician
creates his forms only in fancy, and as a result of hallucination, and what becomes
of all the guides, spirit friends and the tutti quanti from the sweet “
From the standpoint of certain Buddhist Schools, your correspondent may be right. Their Philosophy teaches that even our visible Universe assumed an objective form as a result of the fancy followed by the volition or the will of the Unknown and Supreme Adept, differing, however, from Christian theology, inasmuch as they teach that instead of calling out our Universe from nothingness, He had to exercise His will upon preexisting Matter, eternal and indestructible as to invisible Substance, though temporary and ever-changing as to forms. Some higher and still more subtle metaphysical Schools of Nepaul even go so far as to affirm—on very reasonable grounds, too—that this preexisting and self-existent Substance or Matter (Svabhâvat) is itself without any other creator or ruler; when in the state of activity it is Pravritti, a universal creating principle; when latent and passive they
call this force Nirvritti. As
for something eternal and infinite, for that which had neither beginning nor
end there can be neither past nor future, but everything that was and will be,
Is; therefore there never was an action or even thought, however simple, that
is not impressed in imperishable records on this Substance, called by the
Buddhists Svabhâvat, by the Kabalists Astral Light. As in a faithful mirror,
this Light reflects every image, and no human imagination could see any thing outside
that which exists impressed somewhere on the eternal Substance. To imagine that
a human brain can conceive of anything that was never conceived of before by
the “universal brain,” is a fallacy and a conceited presumption. At best, the
former can catch now and then stray glimpses of the “Eternal Thought” after
this has assumed some objective form, either in the world of the invisible, or
visible, Universe. Hence the unanimous testimony of trained Seers goes to prove
that there are such creatures as the Elementals; and that though the
Elementaries have been at some time human Spirits, they, having lost every
connection with the purer immortal world, must be recognized by some special
term which would draw a distinct line of demarcation between them and the true
and genuine disembodied souls, winch have henceforth to remain immortal. To the
Kabalists and the Adepts, especially in
Spiritualists have never accepted the suggestion and sound advice of certain of their seers and mediums. They have regarded Dr. Peebles’ “Gadarenes” with indifference; they have shrugged their shoulders at the “Rosicrucian” fantasies of P. B. Randolph, and his Ravalette has made none of them the wiser; they have frowned and grumbled at A. Jackson Davis’ “Diakka”; and finally, lifting high the banner, have declared a murderous war of extermination against the Theosophists and Kabalists. What are now the results?
A series of exposures of fraudulent mediums that have brought mortification to their endorsers and dishonour upon the cause; identification by genuine seers and mediums of pretended Spirit-forms that were afterwards found to be mere personations by lying cheats, go to prove that in such instances at least, outside of clear cases of confederacy, the identifications were due to illusion on the part of the said seers; spirit-babes discovered to be battered masks and bundles of rags; obsessed mediums driven by their guides to drunkenness and immor-
A MODERN PANARION.
ality of conduct; the practices of free-love endorsed and even prompted by alleged immortal Spirits; sensitive believers forced to the commission of murder, suicide, forgery, embezzlement and other crimes; the over-credulous led to waste their substance in foolish investments and the search after hidden treasures; mediums fostering ruinous speculations in stocks; free-loveites parted from their wives in search of other female affinities; two continents flooded with the vilest slanders, spoken and sometimes printed by mediums against other mediums; incubi and succubi entertained as returning angel-husbands or wives; mountebanks and jugglers protected by scientists and the clergy, and gathering large audiences to witness imitations of the phenomena of cabinets, the reality of which genuine mediums themselves and Spirits are powerless to vindicate by giving the necessary test conditions; seances still held in Stygian darkness, where even genuine phenomena can readily be mistaken for the false, and false for the real; mediums left helpless by their angel guides, tried, convicted, and sent to prison, and no attempt made to save them from their fate by those who, if they are Spirits having the power of controlling mortal affairs, ought to have enlisted the sympathy of the heavenly hosts on behalf of their mediums in the face of such crying injustice; other faithful spiritualistic lecturers and mediums broken down in health and left unsupported by those calling themselves their patrons and protectors—such are some of the features of the present situation; the black spots of what ought to become the grandest and noblest of all religious Philosophies freely thrown by the unbelievers and Materialists into the teeth of every Spiritualist. No intelligent person of the latter class need go outside of his own personal experience to find examples like the above. Spiritualism has not progressed and is not progressing and will not progress, until its facts are viewed in the light of the Oriental Philosophy.
Thus, Mr. Editor, your esteemed correspondent, Dr. Woldrich, may be found guilty of an erroneous proposition. In the concluding sentence of his article he says:
I know not whether I have succeeded in proving the Elementary a myth, but at least I hope that I have thrown some more light upon the subject to some of the readers of the journal.
To this I would answer: (1) He has not proved at all the “Elementary a myth,” since the Elementaries are, with a few exceptions, the earth-bound guides and Spirits in which he believes, together with every other Spiritualist. (2) Instead of throwing light upon the subject,
the Doctor has but darkened it the more. (3) Such explanations and careless exposures do the greatest harm to the future of Spiritualism, and greatly serve to retard its progress by teaching its adherents that they have nothing more to learn.
Sincerely hoping that I have not trespassed too much on the columns of your esteemed journal, allow me to sign myself, dear sir,
H. P. BLAVATSKY,
Corresponding Secretary of the
KABALISTIC VIEWS OF “SPIRITS”
I MUST beg you to again allow me a little space for the further elucidation of a very important question—that of the “Elementals” and the “Elementaries.” It is a misfortune that our European languages do not contain a nomenclature expressive of the various grades and conditions of spiritual beings. But surely I cannot be blamed for either the above linguistic deficiency, or because some people do not choose, or are unable, to understand my meaning! I cannot too often repeat that in this matter I claim no originality. My teachings are but the substance of what many Kabalists have said before me, which to-day I mean to prove, with your kind permission.
I am accused (1) of “turning somersaults” and jumping from one idea to another. The defendant pleads—not guilty. (2) Of coining not only words but Philosophies out of the depths of my consciousness. Defendant enters the same plea. (3) Of having repeatedly asserted that “intelligent Spirits other than those who have passed through an earth experience in a human body were concerned in the manifestations known as the phenomena of Spiritualism.” True, and defendant repeats the assertion. (4) Of having advanced, in my bold and unwarranted theories, “beyond the great Eliphas Levi himself.” Indeed? Were I to go even as far as he (see his Science des Esprits), I would deny that a single so-called spiritual manifestation is more than hallucination, produced by soulless Elementals, whom he calls “Elementaries” (see Ritual de la Haute Magic).
I am asked: “What proof is there of the existence of the Elementals?” In my turn I will enquire: “‘What proof is there of ‘diakkas,’ ‘guides,’ ‘bands’ and ‘controls’ ?“ And yet these terms are all current among Spiritualists. The unanimous testimony of innumerable observers and competent experimenters furnishes the proof. If Spiritualists cannot, or will not, go to those countries where they are living
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and these proofs are accessible, they, at least, have no right to give the lie direct to those who have seen both the Adepts and the proofs. My witnesses are living men teaching and exemplifying the Philosophy of hoary ages; theirs, these very “guides” and “controls,” who up to the present time are at best hypothetical, and whose assertions have been repeatedly found, by Spiritualists themselves, contradictory and false.
If my present critics insist
that since the discussion of this matter began, a disembodied soul has never
been described as an “Elementary,” I merely point to the number of the London
Is it not probable that some of the elementary spirits of an evil type are those spirit-bodies, which, only recently disembodied, are on the eve of an eternal dissolution, and which continue their temporary existence only by vampirizing those still in the flesh? They had existence; they never attained to being.
Note two things: that human Elementaries are recognized as existing, apart from the Gnomes, Sylphs, Undines and Salamanders beings purely elemental; and that annihilation of the soul is regarded as potential.
Says Paracelsns, in his Philosophia Sagax:
The current of Astral Light with its peculiar inhabitants, Gnomes, Svlphs, etc., is transformed into human light at the moment of the conception. and it becomes the first envelope of the soul—its grosser portion; combined with the most subtle fluids, it forms the sidereal [astral, or ethereal] phantom—the inner man.
And Eliphas Levi :
The Astral Light is saturated with elementary souls which it discharges in the incessant generation of beings ...At the birth of a child they influence the four temperaments of the latter: the element of the Gnomes predominates in melanchol persons; of the Salamanders in the sanguine; of the Undines in the phlegmatic; of the Sylphs in the giddy and bilious.... These are the spirits which we designate under the tern of occult elements (Rituel de la Haute Magic, vol. ii. chapter on the ‘‘Conjnration of the Four Classes of Elementary”).
‘‘Yes, yes,’’ he remarks (op. cit., vol. i. p. 164):
These spirits of the elements do exist. Same wandering in their spheres, others trying to incarnate themselves, others, again, already incarnated, and living on earth. These are vicious and imperfect men.
Note that we have here described to us more or less “intelligent Spirits, other than those who have passed through an earth experience in a human body.’’ If not intelligent, they would not know how to make the attempt to incarnate themselves. Vicious Elementals, or
A MODERN PANARION.
Elementaries, are attracted to vicious parents; they bask in their atmosphere, and are thus afforded the chance, by the vices of the parents, to perpetuate in the child the paternal wickedness. The unintellectual “Elementals” are drawn in unconsciously to themselves, and, in the order of Nature, as component parts of the grosser astral body or soul, determine the temperament. They can as little resist as the animalcules can avoid entering into our bodies in the water we swallow. Of a third class, out of hundreds that the Eastern Philosophers and Kabalists are acquainted with, Eliphas I discussing spiritistic phenomena, says:
They are neither the souls of the damned nor guilty; the elementary spirits are like children, curious and harmless, and torment people in proportion as attention is paid to them.
These he regards as the sole agents in all the meaningless and useless physical phenomena at seances. Such phenomena will be produced unless they be dominated “by wills more powerful than their own.” Such a will may be that of a living Adept, or, as there are none such at Western spiritual seances, these ready agents are at the disposal of every strong, vicious, earth-bound, human Elementary who has been attracted to the place. By such they can be used in combination with the astral emanations of the circle and medium, as stuff out of which to make materialized Spirits.
So little does Levi concede the possibility of Spirit-return in objective form that he says:
The good deceased come back in our dreams; the state of mediumism is an extension of dream, it is somnambulism in all its variety and ecstasies. Fathom the phenomenon of sleep and you will understand the phenomena of the spirits.
According to one of the great
dogmas of the Kabalah, the soul despoils itself in order to ascend, and thus
would have to re-clothe itself in matter to descend. There is but one way for a
spirit already liberated to manifest himself objectively on earth; he must get
back into his body and resurrect. This is quite another thing from hiding under
a table or a hat. Necromancy, or the evocation of materialized spirits, is
horrible. It constitutes a crime against Nature. We have admitted in our former
works the possibility of vampirism, and even undertaken to explain it. The
phenomena now actually occurring in
155———————————————————KABALISTIC VIEWS OF “SPIRITS.”
Henry Kunrath was a most learned Kabalist, and the greatest anthority among mediæval Occultists. He gives, in one of the clavicles of his Amphitheatrum Sapientiæ Æternæ, illustrative engravings of the four great classes of elementary Spirits, as they presented them selves during an evocation of ceremonial Magic, before the eyes of the Magus, when, after passing the threshold, he lifted the “Veil of Isis.” In describing them, Kunrath corroborates Eliphas Levi. He tells us they are disembodied, vicious men, who have parted with their divine Spirits and become Elementaries. They are so termed, because attracted by the earthly atmosphere and surrounded by the earth’s elements. Here Kunrath applies the term “Elementary” to doomed human souls, While Levi uses it, as we have seen, to designate another class of the same great family—Gnomes, Sylphs, Undines, etc.—sub-human entities.
I have before me a manuscript, intended originally for publication, but withheld for various reasons. The author signs himself “Zeus,” and is a Kabalist of more than twenty-five years’ standing. This experienced Occultist, a zealous devotee of Kunrath, expounding the doctrine of the latter, also says that the Kabalists divided the Spirits of the elements into four classes, corresponding to the four temperaments in man.
It is charged against me as a heinous offence that I aver that some men lose their souls and are annihilated. But this last-named authority, “Zeus,” is equally culpable, for he says:
They [ the Kabalists] taught that mail’s spirit descended from the great ocean of spirit, and is, therefore, per se, pure and divine, but its soul or capsule, through the [allegorical] fall of Adam, became contaminated with the world of darkness, or the world of Satan [evil] of which it must be purified, before it could ascend again to celestial happiness. Suppose a drop of water enclosed within a capsule remains whole, the drop of water remains isolated; break the envelope, and the drop becomes a part of the ocean, its individual existence has ceased. So it is with the spirit. So long as its ray is enclosed in its plastic mediator or soul, it has an individual existence. Destroy this capsule, the astral man then becomes an Elementary; this destruction may occur from the consequences of sin, in the most depraved and vicious, and the spirit returns back to its original abode—the individualization of man has ceased. . . . This militates with the idea of progression that Spiritualists generally entertain. If they understood the Law of harmony, they would see their error. It is only by this Law that individual life can be sustained; and the farther we deviate from harmony the more difficult it is to regain it.
To return to Levi, he remarks (La Haute Magie, vol. i. p. 319):
A MODERN PANARION.
When we die, our interior light [the soul] ascends agreeably to the attraction of its star [the spirit], but it must first of all get rid of the coils of the serpent [earthly evil—sin], that is to say, of the unpurified Astral Light which surrounds and holds it captive, unless, by the force of Will, it frees and elevates itself. This immersion of the living soul in the dead light [the emanations of everything that is evil, which pollute the earth’s magnetic atmosphere, as the exhalation of a swamp does the air] is a dreadful torture; the soul freezes and burns therein at the same time.
The Kabalists represent Adam as the Tree of Life, of which the trunk is Humanity; the various races, the branches; and individual men, the leaves. Every leaf has its individual life, and is fed by the one sap; but it can live only through the branch, as the branch itself draws its life through the trunk. Says the Kabalah:
The wicked are the dead leaves and the dead bark of the tree. They fall, die, are corrupted and changed into manure, which returns to the tree through the root.
My friend, Miss Emily
Friend, you are right. Keep our Spiritualism pure and high, for there are those who would abase its uses. But it is because they know not the power of Spiritualism. It is true, in a sense, that the spirit can overcome the flesh, but there are those to whom the fleshly life is dearer than the life of the spirit; they tread on dangerous ground. For the flesh may so outgrow the spirit, as to withdraw from it all spirituality, and man becomes as a beast of the field, with no saving power left. These are they whom the church has termed “reprobate,” eternally lost, but they suffer not, as the church has taught, in conscious hells. They merely die, and are not; their light goes out, and has no conscious being. [Question]: But is this not annihilation? [Answer]: It amounts to annihilation; they lose their individual entities, and return to the great reservoir of spirit—unconscious spirit.
Finally, I am asked: “Who are the trained Seers?” They are those, I answer, who have been trained from their childhood, in the Pagodas, to use their spiritual sight; those whose accumulated testimony has not varied for thousands of years as to the fundamental facts of Eastern Philosophy; the testimony of each generation corroborating that of each preceding one. Are these to be trusted more, or less, than the communications of “bands”—each of whom contradicts the other as completely as the various religious sects, which are ready to cut each other’s throats—and of mediums, even the best of whom are
157———————————————————KABALISTIC VIEWS OF “SPIRITS.”
ignorant of their own nature, and unsubjected to the wise direction and restraint of an Adept in Psychological Science?
No comprehensive idea of Nature can be obtained except by apply ing the Law of Harmony and analogy in the spiritual as well as in the physical world. “As above, so below,” is the old Hermetic axiom. If Spiritualists would apply this to the subject of their own researches they would see the philosophical necessity of there being in the world of Spirit, as was the world of Matter, a law of the survival of the fittest.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
AS WIELDED BY THE GREAT RUSSIAN THEOSOPHIST.
MR. COLEMAN’S FIRST APPEARANCE.
I HAVE read some of the assaults upon Colonel Olcott and myself that have appeared in the Journal. Some have amused me, others I have passed by unread; but I was quite unprepared for the good fortune that lay in store for me in embryo in the paper of Feb. 6th. The “Protest” of Mr.W. Emmette Coleman, entitled “Sclavonic Theosophy v. American Spiritualism” is the musky rose in an odoriferous bouquet. Its pungent fragrance would make the nose of a sensitive bleed, whose olfactory nerves would withstand the perfume of a garden full of the Malayan flower-queen—the tuberose; and yet, my tough, pug, Mongolian nose, which has smelt carrion in all parts of the world, proved itself equal even to this emergency.
“From the sublime to the ridiculous,” says the French proverb, “there is but a single step.” From sparkling wit to dull absurdity there is no more. An attack, to be effective, must have an antagonist to strike, for to kick against something that exists only in one’s imagination, wrenches man or beast. Don Quixote fighting the “air drawn” foes in his windmill, stands for ever the laughing-stock of all generations, and the type of a certain class of disputants, whom, for the moment, Mr. Coleman represents.
The pretext for two columns of abuse—suggesting, I am sorry to say, parallel sewers—is that Miss Emily Kislingbury, in an address before the B.N.A. of Spiritualists, mentioned Colonel Olcott’s name in connection with a leadership of Spiritualism. I have the report of her remarks before me, and find that she neither proposed Colonel Olcott to American Spiritualists as a leader, nor said that he had wanted “leadership,” desired it now, or could ever be persuaded to take it. Says Mr. Coleman:
It is seriously proposed by your transatlantic sister, Miss Kislingburv . . . that American Spiritualists should select as their guardian guide . Col. H. S. Olcott!!
If anyone is entitled to this wealth of exclamation points it is Miss Kislingbury, for the charge against her from beginning to end is simply an unmitigated falsehood. Miss Kislingbury merely expressed the personal opinion that a certain gentleman, for whom she had a deserved friendship, would have been capable, at one time, of acting as a leader. This was her private opinion, to which she had as good a right as either of her defamers—who in a cowardly way try to use Col. Olcott and myself as sticks with which to break her head—have to their opinions. It may or may not have been warranted by the facts— that is immaterial. The main point is, that Miss Kislingbury has not said one word that gives the slightest pretext for Mr. Coleman’s attacking her on this question of leadership. And yet, I am not surprised at his course, for this brave, noble-hearted, truthful and spotless lady occupies too impregnable a position to be assailed, except indirectly. Someone had to pay for her plain speaking about American Spiritualism. What better scapegoat than Olcott and Blavatsky, the twin “theosophical Gorgons”!
What a hullabaloo is raised,
to be sure, about Spiritualists declining to follow our “leadership.” In my
“Buddhistico-Tartaric” ignorance I have always supposed that something must be
offered before it can either be indignantly spurned or even respectfully
declined. Have we offered to lead Spiritualists by the nose or by other
portions of their anatomy? Have we ever proclaimed ourselves as “teachers,” or
set ourselves up as infallible “guides”? Let the hundreds of unanswered letters
that we have received from Spiritualists be our witness. Let us even include
two letters from Mr. W. Emmette Coleman, from Leaven worth, Kansas, calling
attention to his published articles of Jan. 13th, 20th, 27th, and Feb. 3rd
(four papers), inviting controversy. He says in his communication of
This address [the one he wants us to read and express our opinion upon] was delivered some time since; if of more recent date I [he] might modify somewhat.
Now Col. Olcott’s People from The 0ther World was published Jan., 1875; Mr. Coleman’s letter to the Colonel was written in Jan., 1877; and
A MODERN PANARION.
his present “Protest” to the Journal appeared Feb., 1878. It puzzles me to know how a man “in search of Truth” could lower himself so far as to hunt for it in the coat-pockets of an author whose work is
Clearly demonstrative of the utterly unscientific character of his researches, full of exaggerations, inaccuracies, marvellous statements recorded at second-hand without the slightest confirmation, lackadaisical sentimentalities, egotistical rhodomontades, and grammatical inelegancies and solecisms.
To go to a man for “Truth” who is characterized by The most fervid imagination and brilliant powers of invention,—according to Mr. Emmette Coleman—shows Mr. Coleman in a sorry light indeed! His only excuse can be that in January, 1877, when he invited Col. Olcott to discuss with him—despite the fact that the Theosophical Society had been established in 1875, and all our “heresies” were already in print—his estimation of Col. Olcott’s intellectual powers was different from what it is now, and that Mr. Coleman’s “address” has been left two years unread and unnoticed. Does this look like our offering ourselves as “leaders”? We address the great body of intelligent American Spiritualists. They have as much a right to their opinions as we to ours; they have no more right than we to falsely state the positions of their antagonists. But their would-be champion, Mr. Coleman, for the sake of having an excuse to abuse me, pretends to quote (see column 2, paragraph 1) from something I have published, a whole sentence that I defy him to prove I ever made use of. This is downright literary fraud and dishonesty. A man who is in “search of Truth” does not usually employ a falsehood as a weapon.
Good friends, whose enquiries
we have occasionally, but rarely, answered, bear us witness that we have always
disclaimed anything like “leadership”; that we have invariably referred you to
the same standard authors whom we have read, the same old Philosophers we have
studied. We call on you to testify that we have repudiated dogmas and
dogmatists, whether living men or disembodied Spirits. As opposed to
Materialists, Theosophists are Spiritualists, but it would be as absurd for us
to claim the leadership of Spiritualism as for a Protestant priest to speak for
the Romish Church, or a Romish Cardinal to lead the great body of Protestants,
though both claim to be Christians! Recrimination seems to be the life and soul
of American journalism, but I really thought that a spiritualistic organ had more
congenial matter for its columns than such materialistic abuse as the present “
One chief aim of the writer
seems to be to abuse Isis Unveiled. My publisher will doubtless feel under
great obligations for giving it such a notoriety just now, when the fourth
edition is ready to go to press. That the fossilized reviewers of The Tribune
and Popular Science Monthly—both admitted advocates of materialistic Science
and unsparingly contemptuous denouncers of Spiritualism—should, without either
of them having read my book, brand it as spiritualistic moon shine, was
perfectly natural. I should have thought that I had written my first volume,
holding up Modern Science to public contempt for its unfair treatment of
psychological phenomena, to small purpose, if they had complimented me. Nor was
I at all surprised that the critic of the
(1) the wisdom of the ancient Sages; (2) the folly of the merely material Philosopher (the Emmette Colemans, Huxleys and Tyndalls);
(3) the doctrine of Nirvana; (4) archaic monotheism, etc.; and when the London Public Opinion calls it “one of the most extraordinary works of the nineteenth century” in an elaborate criticism; and when Alfred R. Wallace says:
I am amazed at the vast amount
of erudition displayed in the chapters, and the great interest of the topics on
which they treat; your book will open up to many Spiritualists a whole world of
new ideas, and cannot fail to be of the greatest value in the enquiry which is
now being so earnestly carried on,
—Mr. Coleman really appears in the sorry light of one who abuses for the mere sake of abusing.
What a curious psychological power I must have All the Journal writers, from the talented editor down to Mr. Coleman, pretend to account for the blind devotion of Col. Olcott to Theosophy, the over-partial panegyric of Miss Kislingbury, the friendly recantation of
A MODERN PANARION.
Dr. G. Bloede, and the surprisingly vigorous defence of myself by Mr. C. Sotheran, and other recent events, on the ground of my having psychologized them all into the passive servitude of hoodwinked dupes! I can only say that such Psychology is next door to miracle. That I could influence men and women of such acknowledged independence of character and intellectual capacity, would be at least more than any of your lecturing mesmerizers or “spirit-controls” have been able to accomplish. Do you not see, my noble enemies, the logical consequences of such a doctrine? Admit that I can do that, and you admit the reality of Magic, and my powers as an Adept. I never claimed that Magic was anything but Psychology practically applied. That one of your mesmerizers can make a cabbage appear a rose is only a lower form of the power you all endow me with. You give an old woman—whether forty, fifty, sixty or ninety years old (some swear I am the latter, some the former), it matters not; an old woman whose “Kalmuco-Buddhistico-Tartaric” features, even in youth, never made her appear pretty; a woman whose ungainly garb, uncouth manners and masculine habits are enough to frighten any bustled and corseted fine lady of fashionable society out of her wits—you give her such powers of fascination as to draw fine ladies and gentlemen, scholars and artists, doctors and clergymen, to her house by scores, to not only talk Philosophy with her, not merely to stare at her as though she were a monkey in red flannel breeches, as some of them do, but to honour her in many cases with their fast and sincere friendship and grateful kindness! Psychology! If that is the name you give it, then, although I have never offered myself as a teacher, you had better come, my friends, and be taught at once the “trick” (gratis—for, unlike other psychologizers, I never yet took money for teaching any thing to anybody), so that hereafter you may not be deceived into recognizing as—what Mr. Coleman so graphically calls—”the sainted dead of earth,” those pimple-nosed and garlic-breathing beings who climb ladders through trap-doors, and carry tow wigs and battered masks in the penetralia of their underclothing.
H. P. BLAVATSKY,
—“the masculine-feminine Sclavonic Theosoph from Crim-Tartary”—a title which does more credit to Mr. Coleman’s vituperative ingenuity than to his literary accomplishments.
Two peas in the same pod are the traditional symbol of mutual resemblance, and the time-honoured simile forced itself upon me when I read the twin letters of our two masked assailants in your paper of Feb. 22nd. In substance they are so identical that one would suppose the same person had written them simultaneously with his two hands, as Paul Morphy will play you two games of chess, or Kossuth dictate two letters at once. The only difference between these two letters— lying beside each other on the same page, like two babes in one crib—is, that “M.A. Cantab’s” is brief and courteous, while “Scrutator’s” is prolix and uncivil.
By a strange coincidence both these sharp-shooters fire from behind their secure ramparts a shot at a certain “learned Occultist” over the head of Mr. C. C. Massey, who quoted some of that personage’s views, in a letter published May 10th, 1876. Whether in irony or otherwise, they hurl the views of this “learned Occultist” at the heads of Col. Olcott and myself, as though they were missiles that would floor us completely. Now the “learned Occultist” in question is not a whit more, or less, learned than your humble servant, for the very simple reason that we are identical. The extracts published by Mr. Massey, by permission, were contained in a letter from myself to him. More over it is now before me, and, save one misprint of no consequence, I do not find in it a word that I would wish changed. What is said there I repeat now over my signature—the theories of 1876 do not contradict those of 1878 in any respect, as I shall endeavour to prove, after pointing out to the impartial reader the quaking ground upon which our two critics stand. Their arguments against Theosophy— certainly “Scrutator’s”—are like a verdant moss, which displays a velvety carpet of green without roots and with a deep bog below.
When a person enters on a controversy over a fictitious signature, he
A MODERN PANARION.
should be doubly cautious, if he would avoid the accusation of abusing the opportunity of the mask to insult his opponents with impunity. Who or what is “Scrutator”? A clergyman, a medium, a lawyer, a philosopher, a physician (certainly not a metaphysician), or what? Quien sabe? He seems to partake of the flavour of all, and yet to grace none. Though his arguments are all interwoven with sentences quoted from our letters, yet in no case does he criticize merely what is written by us, but what he thinks we may have meant, or what the sentences might imply. Drawing his deductions, then, from what existed only in the depths of his own consciousness, he invents phrases, and forces constructions, upon which he proceeds to pour out his wrath. Without meaning to be in the least personal—for, though propagating “absurdities with the “utmost effrontery,” I should feel sorry and ashamed to be as impertinent with “Scrutator” as he is with us—yet, hereafter, when I see a dog chasing the shadow of his own tail, I will think of his letter.
In my doubts as to what this assailant might be, I invoked the help of Webster to give me a possible clue in the pseudonym. “Scrutator,” says the great lexicographer, is “one who scrutinizes,” and “scrutiny” he derives from the Latin scrutari, “to search even to the rags”; which scrutari itself he traces back to a Greek root, meaning “trash, trumpery.” In this ultimate analysis, therefore, we must regard the nom de plume, while very applicable to his letter of February 22nd, as very unfortunate for himself; for, at best, it makes him a sort of literary chiffonnier, probing in the dust-heap of the language for bits of hard adjectives to fling at us. I repeat that, when an anonymous critic accuses two persons of “slanderous imputations” (the mere reflex of his own imagination), and of “unfathomable absurdities,” he ought, at least, to make sure (1) that he has thoroughly grasped what he is pleased to call the “teachings” of his adversaries; and (2) that his own philosophy is infallible. I may add, furthermore, that when that critic permits himself to call the views of other people—not yet half digested by himself—”unfathomable absurdities,” he ought to be mighty careful about introducing as arguments into the discussion sectarian absurdities far more “unfathomable” and which have nothing to do with either Science or Philosophy.
I suppose [gravely argues “Scrutator”] a babe’s brain is soft and a quite unfit tool for intelligence, otherwise Jesus could not have lost His intelligence when He took upon Himself the body and the brain of a babe [!!?]
The very opposite of Oliver Johnson evidently, this Jesus-babe of “Scrutator’s.”
Such an argument might come with a certain force in a discussion between two conflicting dogmatic sects, but if picked “even to rags” it seems but “utmost effrontery”—to use “Scrutator’s” own complimentary expression—to employ it in a philosophical debate, as if it were either a scientific or historically proved fact! If I refused, at the very start, to argue with our friend “M.A. Oxon.,” a man whom I esteem and respect as I do few in this world, only because he put forward a “cardinal dogma,” I shall certainly lose no time in debating Theosophy with a tattering Christian, whose scrutinizing faculties have not helped him beyond the acceptance of the latest of the world’s Avatâras, in all its unphilosophical dead-letter meaning, without even suspecting its symbolical significance. To parade in a would-be philosophical debate the exploded dogmas of any Church, is most ineffectual, and shows, at best, a great poverty of resource. Why does not “Scrutator” address hiss refined abuse, ex cathedra, to the Royal Society, whose Fellows doom to annihilation every human being, Theosophist or Spiritualist, pure or impure?
With crushing irony he speaks of us as “our teachers.” Now I remember having distinctly stated in a previous letter that we have not offered ourselves as teachers, but, on the contrary, decline any such office—whatever may be the superlative panegyric of my esteemed friend, Mr. 0. Sullivan, who not only sees in me “a Buddhist priestess” (!), but, without a shadow of warrant of fact, credits me with the foundation of the Theosophical Society and its Branches! Had Colonel Olcott been half as “psychologized” by me as a certain American Spiritualist paper will have it, he would have followed my advice and refused to make public our “views,” even though so much and so often importuned in different quarters. With characteristic stubbornness, however, he had his own way, and now reaps the consequence of having thrown his bomb into a hornet’s nest. Instead of being afforded opportunity for a calm debate, we get but abuse, pure and simple—the only weapon of partisans. Well, let us make the best of it, and join our opponents in picking the question “to rags.” Mr. C. C. Massey comes in for his share, too, and though fit to be a leader himself, is given by “Scrutator” a chief!
Neither of our critics seems to understand our views (or his own) so little as “Scrutator.” He misapprehends the meaning of Elementary,
A MODERN PANARION.
and makes a sad mess of Spirit and Matter. Hear him say that Elementary
Is a new-fangled and ill-defined term . . not yet two years old.
This sentence alone proves
that he forces himself into the discussion, without any comprehension of the
subject at issue. Evidently, he has neither read the mediæval nor modern
Kabalists. Henry Kunrath is as unfamiliar to him as the Abbe Constant. Let him
go to the
When a man has lived well, the astral cadaver evaporates like a pure incense, as it mounts towards the higher regions; but if a man has lived in crime, his astral cadaver, which holds him prisoner, seeks again the objects of his passions and desires to resume its earthly life. It torments the dreams of young girls, bathes in the vapour of spilt blood, and wallows about the places where the pleasures of his life flitted by; it watches without ceasing over the treasures which it possessed and buried; it wastes itself in painful efforts to make for itself material organs [materialize itself] and live again. But the astral elements attract and absorb it; its memory is gradually lost, its intelligence weakens, all its being dissolves.
The unhappy wretch loses thus in succession all the organs which served its sinful appetites. Then it [this astral body, this “soul,” this all that is left of the once living man] dies a second time and for ever, for it then loses its personality and its memory. Souls which are destined to live, but which are not yet entirely purified, remain for a longer or shorter time captive in the astral cadaver, where they are refined by the odic light, which seeks to assimilate them to itself and dissolve. It is to rid themselves of this cadaver that suffering souls sometimes enter the bodies of living persons, and remain there for a time in a state which the Kabalists call embryonic [embryonnal]. These are the aerial phantasmas evoked by necromancy [ I may add, the “materialized Spirits” evoked by the unconscious necromancy of incautious mediums, in cases where the forms are not transformations of their own doubles]; these are larvæ, substances dead or dying with which one places himself en rapport.
Further, Levi says (op. cit., p. 164):
The astral light is saturated with elementary souls. . . Yes, yes, these spirits of the elements do exist. Some wandering in their spheres, others trying to incarnate themselves, others, again already incarnated and living on earth; these are vicious and imperfect men.
And in the face of this
testimony—which he can find in the
In truth, we may say that the idea is older than Christianity, for it is found in the ancient Kabalistic books of the Jews. In the olden time they defined three kinds of “souls”—the daughters of Adam, the daughters of the angels and those of sin; and in the book of The Revolution of the Souls three kinds of “Spirits” (as distinct from material bodies) are shown—the captive, the wandering and the free Spirits. If “Scrutator” were acquainted with the literature of Kabalism, he would know that the term Elementary applies not only to one principle or constituent part, to an elementary primary substance, but also embodies the idea which we express by the term elemental—that which pertains to the four elements of the material world, the first principles or primary ingredients. The word “elemental” as defined by Webster, was not current at the time of Kunrath, but the idea was perfectly understood. The distinction has been made, and the term adopted by Theosophists for the sake of avoiding confusion. The thanks we get are that we are charged with propounding, in 1878, a different theory of the “Elementaries” from that of 1876!
Does anything herein stated either as from ourselves, or Kunrath, or Levi contradict the statement of the ‘‘learned Occultist’’ that:
Each atom, no matter where found, is imbued with that vital principle called spirit each grain of sand, equally with each minutest atom of the human body, has its inherent latent spark of the divine light?
Italicizing some words of the above, but omitting to emphasize the one important word of the sentence, i.e., “latent,” which contains the key to the whole mystery, our critic mars the sense. In the grain of sand, and each atom of the human material body, the Spirit is latent, not active; hence being but a correlation of the highest light, some-
defined a materialized Spirit as “frozen whiskey,” was right in his way. A Copious vocabulary, indeed, that has but one term for God and for alcohol! With all their libraries of metaphysics, European nations have not even gone to the trouble of inventing appropriate words to elucidate metaphysical ideas. If they had, perhaps one book in every thousand would have sufficed to really instruct the public, instead of there being the present confusion of words, obscuring intelligence, and utterly hampering the Orientalist, who would expound his Philosophy in English. Whereas, in the latter language, I find but one word to express, perhaps, twenty different ideas, in the Eastern tongues, especially Sanskrit, there are twenty words or more to render one idea in its various shades of meaning.
We are accused of propagating ideas that would surprise the “average” Buddhist. Granted, and I will liberally add that the average Brâhmanist might be equally astonished. We never said that we were either Buddhists or Brâhmanists in the sense of their popular exoteric Theologies. Buddha, sitting on his Lotus, or Brahmâ, with any number of teratological arms, appeals to us as little as the Catholic Madonna or the Christian personal God, which stare at us from cathedral walls and ceilings. But neither Buddha nor Brahmâ represents to His respective worshippers the same ideas as these Catholic icons which we regard as blasphemous. In this particular who dares say that Christendom with its civilization has outgrown the fetichism of Fijians? When we see Christians and Spiritualists speaking so flippantly and confidently about God and the “materialization of Spirit,” we wish they might be made to share a little in the reverential ideas of the old Aryas.
We do not write for “average”
Buddhists, or average people of any sort. But I am quite willing to match any
tolerably educated Buddhist or Brâhman against the best metaphysicians of
The ultimate abstract definition of this—call it God, Force, Principle, as you will—will ever remain a mystery to Humanity, though it attain to its highest intellectual development. The anthropomorphic ideas of Spiritualists concerning Spirit are a direct consequence of the anthropomorphic conceptions of Christians as to the Deity. So directly is the one the outflow of the other, that “Scrutator’s” handiest argument against the duality of a child and potential immortality is to cite
Jesus who increased in wisdom as His brain increased.
A MODERN PANARION.
Christians call God an Infinite Being, and then endow Him with every finite attribute, such as love, anger, benevolence, mercy! They call Him all-merciful, and preach damnation for three-fourths of Humanity in every church, all-just, and the sins of this brief span of life may not be expiated by even an eternity of conscious agony. Now, by some miracle of oversight, among thousands of mistranslations in the “Holy” Writ, the word “destruction,” the synonym of annihilation, was rendered correctly in King James’s version, and no dictionary can make it read either damnation or eternal torment. Though the Church consistently put down the “destructionists,” yet the impartial will scarcely deny that they come nearer than their persecutors to believing what Jesus taught, and what is consistent with justice, in teaching the final annihilation of the wicked.
To conclude, then, we believe that there is but one undefinable Principle in the whole Universe, which being utterly incomprehensible by our finite intellects, we prefer rather to leave undebated than to blaspheme Its majesty with our anthropomorphic speculations. We believe that all else which has being, whether material or spiritual, and all that may have existence, actually, or potentially in our idealism, emanates from this Principle. That everything is a correlation in one shape or another of this Will and Force; and hence, judging of the unseen by the visible, we base our speculations upon the teachings of the generations of Sages who preceded Christianity, fortified by our own reason.
I have already illustrated the incapacity of some of our critics to separate abstract ideas from complex objects, by instancing the grain of sand and the nail-paring. They refuse to comprehend that a philosophical doctrine can teach that an atom imbued with divine light, or a portion of the great Spirit, in its latent stage of correlation, may, not withstanding its reciprocal or corresponding similarity and relations to the one indivisible whole, be yet utterly deficient in self-consciousness. That it is only when this atom, magnetically drawn to its fellow-atoms, which had served in a previous state to form with it some lower complex object, is transformed at last, after endless cycles of evolution, into man—the apex of perfected being, intellectually and physically, on our planet—in conjunction with them it becomes, as a whole, a living soul, and reaches the state of intellectual self-consciousness.
A stone becomes a plant, a plant an animal, an animal a man, and man a Spirit, say the Kabalists. And here again, is the wretched necessity of trans-
lating by the word “Spirit” an expression which means a celestial, or rather ethereal, transparent man. But if man is the crown of evolution on earth, what is he in the initiatory stages of the next existence, that man who, at his best—even when he is pretended to have served as a habitation for the Christian God, Jesus—is said by Paul to have been “made a little lower than the angels”? But now we have every astral spook transformed into an “angel”! I cannot believe that the scholars who write for your paper—and there are some of great intelligence and erudition who think for themselves, and whom exact science has taught that ex nihilo nihil fit who know that every atom of man’s body has been evolving by imperceptible gradations, from lower into higher forms, through the cycles—accept the unscientific and illogical doctrine that the simple unshelling of an astral man transforms him into a celestial Spirit and “angel” guide.
In Theosophical opinion a Spirit is a Ray, a fraction of the Whole; and the Whole being Omniscient and Infinite, Its fraction must partake, in degree, of the same abstract attributes. Man’s “Spirit” must become the drop of the Ocean, called “Ishvara-Bhâva”—the “I am one body, together with the universe itself” (I am in my Father, and my Father is in me), instead of remaining but the “Jiva-Bhâva the body only. He must feel himself not only a part of the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, but of the Soul of the Three, the Parabrahman, Who is above these and is the vitalizing, energizing and ever-presiding Spirit. He must fully realize the sense of the word “Sahajanund,” that state of perfect bliss in Nirvana, which can only exist for the It, which has become coexistent with the “formless and actionless present time.” This is the state called “Vartamâna,” or the “ever still present,” in which there is neither past nor future, but one infinite eternity of present. Which of the controlling “spirits,” materialized or invisible, have shown any signs that they belong to the kind of real Spirits known as the “Sons of Eternity”? Has the highest of them been able to tell even as much as our own Divine Nous can whisper to us in moments when there comes the flash of sudden prevision? Honest communicating “intelligences” often answer to many questions: “We do not know; this has not been revealed to us.” This very admission proves that, while in many cases on their way to knowledge and perfection, yet they are but embryonic, undeveloped “Spirits”; they are inferior even to some living Yogis who, through abstract meditation, have united themselves with their personal individual Brahman, their Atman, and
A MODERN PANARION.
hence have overcome the “Agnyânam,” or lack of that knowledge as to the intrinsic value of one’s “self,” the Ego or self-being, so recommended by Socrates and the Delphic commandment.
—as Spirits. When not tainted with Materialism, through demoralizing association with Europeans. and when free from superstitious sectarianism, how would one of them, versed in the Vedânta, regard these apparitions of the circle? The chances are that, after going the rounds of the mediums, he would say: “Some of these may be survivals of disembodied men’s intelligences, but they are no more spiritual than the average man. They lack the knowledge of ‘Dryananta,’ and evidently find themselves in a chronic state of ‘Mâyâ,’ i.e., possessed of the idea that ‘they are that which they are not.’ The ‘Vartamâna’ has no significance for them, as they are cognizant but of the ‘Vishania’ [that which, like the concrete numbers in mixed mathematics, applies to that which can be numbered]. Like simple, ignorant mortals, they regard the shadow of things as the reality, and vice versa, mixing up the true light of the ‘Vyatireka’ with the false light or deceitful appearance—the ‘Anvaya.’ . . . In what respect, then, are they higher than the average mortal? No; they are not spirits, not ‘Devas,’ they are astral ‘Dasyoos.’
Of course all this will appear to “Scrutator” “unfathomable absurdities,” for unfortunately, few metaphysicians shower down from Western skies. Therefore, so long as our English opponents will remain in their semi-Christian ideas, and not only ignore the old Philosophy, but the very terms it employs to render abstract ideas; so long as we are forced to transmit these ideas in a general way—particularly as it is impracticable without the invention of special words—it will be unprofitable to push discussion to any great lengths. We would only make ourselves obnoxious to the general reader, and receive from other anonymous writers such unconvincing compliments as “Scrutator” has favoured us with.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
“H. M.” AND THE TODAS
I HAVE read the communication of “H. M.” in your paper of the 8th inst. I would not have mentioned the “Todas” at all in my book, if I had not read a very elaborate octavo work in 271 pp., by William S. Marshall, Lieut.-Col. of Her Majesty’s Bengal Staff Corps, entitled:
A Phrenologist among the Todas, copiously illustrated with photographs of the squalid and filthy beings to whom “H. M.” refers. Though written by a staff officer, assisted “by the Rev. Friedrich Metz, of the Basle Missionary Society, who had spent upwards of twenty years of labour” among them, “the only European able to speak the obscure Toda tongue,” the book is so full of misrepresentations—though both writers appear to be sincere— that I wrote what I did.
What I said I knew to be true, and I do not retract a single word. If neither “H. M.” nor Lieut.-Col. Marshall, nor the Rev. Mr. Metz have penetrated the secret that lies behind the dirty huts of the aborigines they have seen, that is their misfortune, not my fault.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
FOR my answer to the sneer of your correspondent “H. M.” about my opinion of the Todas a few lines sufficed. I only cared to say that what I have written in Isis Unveiled was written after reading Col. Marshall’s A Phrenologist among the Todas, and in consequence of what, whether justly or not, I believe to be the erroneous statements of that author. Writing about Oriental psychology, its phenomena and practitioners, as I did, I should have been ludicrously wanting in common sense if I had not anticipated such denials and contradictions as those of “H. M.” from every side. How would it profit the seeker after this Occult knowledge to face danger, privations, and obstacles of every kind to gain it, if, after attaining his end, he should not have facts to relate of which the profane were ignorant? A pretty set of critics are the ordinary travellers or observers, even though what Dr. Carpenter euphemistically calls a “scientific officer,” or “distinguished civilian,” when, confessedly, every European unfurnished with some mystical passport is debarred from entering any orthodox Brâhman’s house or the inner precincts of a pagoda. How we poor Theosophists should tremble before the scorn of those modern Daniels when the cleverest of them has never been able to explain the commonest “tricks” of Hindu jugglers, to say nothing of the phenomena of the Fakirs! These very savants answer the testimony of Spiritualists with an equally lofty scorn, and resent as a personal affront the invitation to even attend a seance.
I should therefore have let the “Todas” question pass, but for the letter of “Late Madras C. S.” in your paper of the 15thI feel bound to answer it, for the writer plainly makes me out to be a liar. He threatens me, moreover, with the thunderbolts that a certain other officer has concealed in his library closet.
It is quite remarkable how a man who resorts to an alias sometimes forgets that he is a gentleman. Perhaps such is the custom in your
It was, that I was not a
Russian, did not even speak that language, but was merely a French adventuress.
So much for the infallibility of some of the sweet “angels.” Surely, I will
neither go to the trouble of exhibiting to any of my masked detractors, of this
or the other world, my passports vise’s by the Russian embassies half a dozen
times on my way to
Such an accusation makes me
simply laugh, for my word is, surely, as good as that of anybody else. I will
only say that more’s the pity that an English officer, who was “fifteen years
in the district,” knows less of the Todas than I, who, he pretends, never was
A MODERN PANARION.
he, or some other brilliant
authority in Sanskrit and other Indian languages, will favour us with the
etymology of the word? Does the first syllable, go or gu, relate to the
roundness of these “towers” as my critic calls them (for the word go does mean
something round) or to gop, a cowherd, which gave its name to a Hindu caste and
was one of the names of
Col. Marshall I find far less
dogmatic than his admirers. Such cautious phrases as “I believe,” “I could not
ascertain,” “I believe it to be true,” and the like, show his desire to find
out the truth, but scarcely prove conclusively that he has found it. At best it
only comes to this, that Col. Marshall believes one thing to be true, and I
look upon it differently. He credits his friend the missionary, and I believe
my friend the Brâhman, who told me what I have written. Besides, I explicitly
state in my book (see
As soon as their [the Todas’] solitude was profaned by the avalanche of civilization . . the Todas began moving away to other parts as unknown and more inaccessible than the Neilgherri hills had formerly been.
The Todas, therefore, of whom my Brâhman friend spoke, and whom Capt. W. L. D. O’Grady, late manager of the Madras Branch Bank at Ootacamund, tells me he has seen specimens of, are not the degenerate remnants of the tribe whose phrenological bumps were measured by Col. Marshall. And yet, even what the latter writes of these, I from personal knowledge affirm to be in many particulars inaccurate. I may be regarded by my critics as over-credulous, but this is surely no
reason why I should be treated
as a liar whether by late or living
The Todas are brown, coffee-coloured, like most other natives.
But turning to
These people are of a light complexion, have strongly-marked Jewish features, and have been supposed by many to be one of the lost tribes.
“H. M.” assures us that the places inhabited by the Todas are not infested by venomous serpents or tigers; but the same Cyclopædia remarks that:
The mountains are swarming with wild animals of all descriptions, among which elephants and tigers are numerous.
But the “Late” (defunct?—is your correspondent a disembodied angel?) “Madras C. S.” attains to the sublimity of the ridiculous when, with biting irony in winding up, he says:
All good spirits, of whatever
degree, astral or elementary, . . . prevent his [Capt. R. F. Burton’s] ever
Surely unless that military Nemesis should tax the hospitality of some American newspaper, conducted by politicians, he could never be rougher than this Madras Grandison. And then, the idea of suggesting that, after having contradicted and made sport of the greatest authorities of Europe and America, to begin with Max Muller and end with the Positivists, in both my volumes, I should be appalled by Captain Burton, or the whole lot of captains in Her Majesty’s service—though each carried an Armstrong gun on his shoulder and a mitrailleuse in his pocket—is positively superb! Let them reserve their threats and terrors for my Christian countrymen.
Any moderately equipped
sciolist (and the more empty-headed, the easier) might tear
A MODERN PANARION.
may in time discover; nor will
he ever find me skulking behind a nom de plume when I have insults to offer. I
always have had, as I now have, and trust ever to retain, the courage of my
opinions, however unpopular or erroneous they may be considered; and there are
not showers enough in
There is but one way to account for the tempest which, for four months, has raged in The Spiritualist against Col. Olcott and myself, and that is expressed in the familiar French proverb—” Quand on veut tuer son chien, on dit qu’il est enrage".
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
THE AHKOOND OF SWAT
THE FOUNDER OF MANY MYSTICAL
OF the many remarkable characters of this century, Ghafur was one of the most conspicuous.
If there be truth in the Eastern doctrine that souls, powerful whether for good or bad, who had not time in one existence to work out their plans, are reincarnated, the fierceness of their yearnings to continue on earth thrusting them back into the current of their attractions, then Ghafur was a rebirth of that Felice Peretti, who is known in history as Pope Sixtus V., of crafty and odious memory. Both were born in the lowest class of society, being ignorant peasant boys and beginning life as herdsmen. Both reached the apex of power through craft and stealth and by imposing upon the superstitions of the masses. Sixtus, author of mystical books and himself a practitioner of the forbidden sciences to satisfy his lust for power and ensure impunity, became Inquisitor-General. Made Pope, he hurled his anathemas alike against Elizabeth of England, the King of Navarre, and other important personages. Abdul Ghafur, endowed with an iron will, had educated himself without colleges or professors except through association with the “wise men” of Khuttuk. He was as well versed in the Arabic and Persian literature of alchemy and astronomy as Sixtus was in Aristotle, and like him knew how to fabricate mesmerized talismans and amulets containing either life or death for those to whom they were presented. Each held millions of devotees under the subjection of their psycho logical influence, though both were more dreaded than beloved.
Ghafur had been a warrior and
an ambitious leader of fanatics, but becoming a dervish and finally a pope, so
to say, his blessing or curse made him as effectually the master of the Ameers
and other Mussulmans as Sixtus was of the Catholic potentates of
Only the salient features of his career are known to Christendom.
180————————————————————A M0DERN PANARION.
Watched, as he may have been,
his private life, ambitions, aspirations for temporal as well as religious
power, are almost a sealed book. But the one certain thing is, that he was the
founder and chief of nearly every secret society worth speaking of among Mussulmans,
and the dominant spirit in all the rest. His apparent antagonism to the
Wahabees was but a mask, and the murderous hand that struck Lord Mayo was
certainly guided by the old Abdul. The Biktashee Dervishes* and the howling,
dancing, and other Moslem religious mendicants recognize his supremacy as far
above that of the Sheik-ul-Islam of the faithful. Hardly a political order of
any importance issued from
The title of Nasr-ed-Din (defender of the faith) he impartially applied to both the Sultan and the Shah, though one is a Sunnite and the other a Shiah. He sweetened the stronger religious intolerance of the Osman dynasty by adding to the old title of Nasr-ed-Din those of Saif-ed-Din (scimitar of faith) and Emir-el-Mumminiah (prince of the faithful). Every Emir-el-Sourey, or leader of the sacred caravan of pilgrims to Mekka, brought or sent messages to, and received advice and instructions from, Abdul, the latter in the shape of mysterious oracles, for which was left the full equivalent in money, presents and other offerings, as the Catholic pilgrims have recently done at Rome.
In 1847-8 the Prince Mirza,
uncle of the young Shah and ex-governor of a great province in
* To this day, no Biktashee would be recognized as Such unless he could claim possession of a certain medal with the seal of this high-pontiff” of all the Dervishes, whether they belong to one sect or the other.
181———————————————————THE AHKOOND OF SWAT.
secret, though, perhaps,
indirect influence he exercised on the Begum of Bhopal, during the Sepoy
rebellion of 1857, was a mystery only to the English, whom the old schemer knew
so well how to hoodwink. During his long career of Macchiavellism, friendly
with the British, and yet striking them constantly in secret; venerated as a
new prophet by millions of orthodox, as well as heretic Mussulmans; managing to
preserve his influence over friend and foe, the old “Teacher” had one enemy
whom he feared, for he knew that no amount of craft would ever win it over to
his side. This enemy was the once mighty nation of the Sikhs, ex-sovereign
rulers of the
Since the days of the great Nanak, of the Kshattriya caste, founder of the Sikh Brotherhood in the second half of the fifteenth century, these brave and warlike tribes have ever been the thorn in the side of the Mogul dynasty, the terror of the Moslems of India. Originating, as we may say, in a religious Brotherhood, whose object was to make away alike with Islamism, Brâhmanism, and other isms, including later Christianity, this sect evolved a pure monotheism in the abstract idea of an ever unknown Principle, and elaborated it into the doctrine of the “Brotherhood of Man.” In their view, we have but one Father- Mother Principle, with “neither form, shape, nor colour,” and we ought all to be, if we are not, brothers irrespective of distinctions of race or colour. The sacerdotal Brâhman, fanatical in his observance of dead-letter forms, thus became in the opinion of the Sikh as much the enemy of truth as the Mussulman wallowing in a sensual heaven with his houris, the joss-worshipping Buddhist grinding out prayers at his wheel, or yet the Roman Catholic adoring his jewelled Madonnas, whose complexion the priests change from white to brown and black to suit climates and prejudices. Later on, Arjuna, son of Ramdas, the fourth in the succession after Nanak, gathering together the doctrines
A MODERN PANARION.
of the founder and his son
Angad, brought out a sacred volume, called Adi-garunth, and largely
supplemented it with selections from forty- five Sutras of the Jains. While
adopting equally the religious figures of the Vedas and Koran, after sifting
them and explaining their symbolism, the Adi-garuizlh yet presents a greater
similarity of ideas respecting the most elaborate metaphysical conceptions with
those of the Jain
One highly dramatic incident
in the life of the “Pope of Sydoo” is the following well-authenticated case,
which was much commented upon in his part of
* This valuable work is now
being republished by Ookerdhabhoy Shewgee, and has been received by the
Theosophical Society from the Editor through the President of the
183———————————————————THE AHKOOND OF SWAT.
when the Ahkoond, squatting on his carpet, was distributing amulets, blessings and prophecies among his pious congregation of pilgrims, a tall Hindu who had silently approached and mingled in the crowd without having been noticed, suddenly addressed him thus: “Tell me, prophet, thou who prophesiest so well for others, whether thou knowest what will be thine own fate, and that of the ‘Defender of the Faith,’ thy Sultan of Stamboul, twenty years hence?”
The old Ghafur, overcome with violent surprise, stared at his interlocutor, but no answer came. In recognizing the Sikh he seemed to have lost all power of speech, and the crowd was under a spell.
“If not,” continued the intruder, “then I will tell thee. Twenty years more and your ‘Prince of the Faithful’ will fall by the hand of an assassin of his own house. Two old men, one the Dalai Lama of the Christians, the other the great prophet of the Moslems—thyself— will be simultaneously crushed under the heel of death. Then, the first hour will strike of the downfall of those twin foes of truth— Christianity and Islam. The first, as the more powerful, will survive the second, but both will soon crumble into fragmentary sects, which will mutually exterminate each other’s faith. See, thy followers are powerless, and I might kill thee now, but thou art in the hands of Destiny, and that knows its own hour.”
Before a hand could be lifted
the speaker had disappeared. This incident of itself sufficiently proves that
the Sikhs might have assassinated Abdul Ghafur at any time had they chosen so
to do. And it may be that The Mayfair Gazette which in June, 1877,
prophetically observed that the rival pontiffs of
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
THE ARYA SAMAJ
CHRISTENDOM sends its missionaries to Heathendom at an expense of millions drained from the pockets of would-be pious folks, who court respectability. Thousands of homeless and penniless old men, women and children are allowed to starve for lack of funds, for the sake, perhaps, of one converted “heathen.” All the spare money of the charitable is absorbed by these dead-head travelling agents of the Christian Church. What is the result? Visit the prison cells of so-called Christian lands, crammed with delinquents who have been led on to felony by the weary path of starvation, and you will have the answer.
Read in the daily papers the numerous accounts of executions, and you will find that modern Christianity offers, perhaps unintentionally but none the less surely, a premium for murder and other heinous crimes. Is anyone prepared to deny the assertion? Remember that, while many a respectable unbeliever dies in his bed with the comfortable assurance from his next of kin, and good friends in general, that he is going to hell, the red-handed criminal has but to believe at his eleventh hour that the blood of the Saviour can and will save him, to receive the guarantee of his spiritual adviser that he will find himself when launched into eternity in the bosom of Christ, in heaven, and playing upon the traditional harp. Why, then, should any Christian deny himself the pleasure and profit of robbing, or even murdering, his richer neighbour? And such a doctrine is being promulgated among the heathen at the cost of an annual expenditure of millions.
But, in her eternal wisdom, Nature provides antidotes against moral as well as against mineral and vegetable poisons. There are people who do not content themselves with preaching grandiloquent discourses; they act. If such books as Higgins’ Anacalypsis, and that extraordinary work of an anonymous English author—a bishop, it is whispered—entitled Supernatural Religion, cannot awaken responsive
185————————————————————THE ARYA SAMAJ.
echoes among the ignorant
masses, other means can be, and are resorted to—means more effectual and which
will bring fruit in the future, if hitherto prevented by the crushing hand of ecclesiastical
and monarchical despotism. Those whom the written proofs of the fictitious
character of biblical authority cannot reach, may be saved by the spoken word.
And this work of disseminating the truth among the more ignorant classes is
being ardently prosecuted by an army of devoted scholars and teachers,
The Theosophical Society has
been of late so much spoken about; such idle tales have been circulated about
it—its members being sworn to secrecy and hitherto unable, even if willing, to
proclaim the truth about it—that the public may be gratified to know, at least,
about one portion of its work. It is now in organized affiliation with the Arya
The purely Theistic movement
connected with the Brâhmo Samâj had its origin in the same idea. It began early
in the present century, but spasmodically and with interruption, and only took
concrete shape under the leadership of Baboo Keshub Chunder Sen in 1858. Rammo
Since then the Brâhmo Samâj, which he then joined, has flourished
A MODERN PANARION.
and become more popular every day. We now find it with Samâjes established in many provinces and cities. At least, we learn that in May, 1877, fifty Samâjes have notified their adhesion to the Society and eight of them have appointed their representatives. Native missionaries of the Theistic religion oppose the Christian missionaries and the orthodox Brâhmans, and the work is going on livelily. So much for the Brâhmo movement.
And now, with regard to the Arya Samâj, The Indian Tribune uses the following language in speaking of its founder:
The first quarter of the
sixteenth century was no more an age of reformation in Europe than the one we
now live in is, at this moment, in India. from amongst its own “Benedictines,”
Swami Dyanand Saraswati has arisen, who, unlike other reformers, does not wish
to set up a new religion of his own, but asks his country men to go back to the
pristine purity and Theism of their Vedic religion. After preaching his views
It was in the land of the five
rivers, on the banks of the
The Svami is a most highly
honoured Fellow of the Theosophical Society, takes a deep interest in its
proceedings, and The Indian Spectator of Bombay,
While the members of the Brâhmo Samaj may be designated as the Lutheran Protestants of orthodox Brâhmanism, the disciples of the Svami Dyanand should be compared to those learned mystics, the Gnostics, who had the key to those earlier writings which, later, were worked over into the Christian gospels and various patristic literature. As the above-named pre-Christian sects understood the true esoteric meaning of the Chrestos allegory, which is now materialized into the Jesus of flesh, so the disciples of the learned and holy Svami are taught to discriminate between the written form and the spirit of the word preached in the Vedas. And this is the principal point of difference between the Arya Samâj and the Brâhmos who, as it would seem, believe
187———————————————————THE ARYA SAMAJ
in a personal God and repudiate the Vedas, while the Aryas see an everlasting Principle, an impersonal Cause in the great “Soul of the universe” rather than a personal being, and accept the Vedas as supreme authority, though not of divine origin. But we may better quote in elucidation of the subject what the President of the Bombay Arya Samâj, also a Fellow of the Theosophical Society, Mr. Hurrychund Chintamon, says in a recent letter to our Society:
Pundit Dyanand maintains that as it is now universally acknowledged that the Vedas are the oldest books of antiquity, if they contain the truth and nothing but the truth in all unmutilated state, and nothing new can be found in other works of later date, why should we not accept the Vedas as a guide for Humanity? . . A revealed book or revelation is understood to mean one of two things, Viz.: (1) a book already written by some invisible hand and thrown into the world; or (2) a work written by one or more men while they were in their highest state of mental lucidity, acquired by profound meditation upon the problems of who man is, whence he came, whither he must go, and by what means he may emancipate himself from worldly delusions and sufferings. The latter hypothesis may be regarded as the more rational and correct.
Our Brother Hurrychund here describes those superior men whom we know as Adepts. He adds:
The ancient inhabitants of a place near Thibet, and adjoining a lake called Mansovara, were first called Deveneggury (Devanâgari) or godlike people. Their written characters were also called Deveneggury or Balbadha letters. A portion of them migrated to the North and settled there, and afterwards spread towards the South, while others went to the West. All these emigrants styled themselves Aryans, or noble, pure, and good men, as they considered that a pure gift had been made to humanity from the “Pure Alone.” These lofty souls were the authors of the Vedas.
What more reasonable than the claim that such Scriptures, emanating from such authors, should contain, for those who are able to penetrate the meaning that lies half concealed under the dead letter, all the wisdom which it is allowed to men to acquire on earth? The Chiefs of the Arya Samâj discredit “miracles,” discountenance superstition and all violation of natural law, and teach the purest form of Vaidic Philosophy. Such are the allies of the Theosophical Society. They have said to us: “Let us work together for the good of mankind,” and we will.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
So far as I can at present
foresee, this will be the last time I shall ask you to print anything over my,
to many Spiritualists, loathed signature, as I intend to start for
were received—no need to recall the old story again. The storm has already subsided; and the total of “Billingsgate” poured upon our devoted heads is preserved in three gigantic scrap-books whose contents I mean to immortalize some day. When through the writing and noble efforts of the Journal and other spiritual papers the secret of these varied and vexing phenomena, indiscriminately called spiritual, will be snatched at last, when the faithful of the orthodox church of Spiritualism will be forced to give up—partially at least—their many bigoted and preconceived notions, then the time will have come again for Theosophists to claim a hearing. Till then, its members retire from the arena of discussion and devote their whole leisure to the fulfilment of other and more important objects of the Society.
You perceive, then, that it is only when experience showed the necessity for its work to be enlarged, and its objects became various, that the T. S. thought fit to protect itself by secrecy. Since then, none but perjured witnesses, and we know of none, can have told about what we were doing, except as permitted by official sanction and announced from time to time. One of such objects of our Society we are willing to publicly announce.
It is universally known that this most important object is to antagonize Christianity* and especially Jesuitism. One of our most esteemed and valued members, once an ardent Spiritualist, but who must for the present be nameless, has but recently fallen a victim to the snares of this hateful body.
The nefarious designs of
Jesuitism are plotted in secret and carried out through secret agencies. What
more reasonable and lawful, there fore, than that those who wish to fight it
should keep their own secret, likewise, as to their agencies and plans? We have
among us persons in high position—political, military, financial and social—who
regard Christianity as the greatest evil to humanity, and are willing to help
pull it down. But for them to be able to do much and well, they must do it
anonymously. The Church—”triple-headed snake” as a well known writer calls
it—can no longer burn its enemies, but it can blast their social influence; can
no longer roast their bodies, but can ruin their fortunes. We have no right to
give our enemy, the Church, the names of our “Fellows,” who are not ripe for
martyrdom, and so we
* [In later days H. P. B. took great pains to explain that the ‘christianity’ which she so vigorously attacked, was all ecclesiastical system of dogmas to which she subsequently gave the name ‘‘churchianity,’’ and not the spiritual and moral teachings of Jesus.—Ens.]
A MODERN PANARION.
keep them secret. If we have an agent to send to India or to Japan, or China, or any other heathen country, to do something or confer with somebody in connection with the Society’s general plans against missionaries, it would be foolish, nay, criminal, to expose our agent to imprisonment under some malicious pretext, if not death, and even the latter is possible in the far-away East, and our scheme is liable to miscarry by announcing it to the dishonourable company of Jesus.
So, sir, to sum up in a word, Dr. Bloede has made a great mistake in supposing the Theosophical Society a “failure” in this or any other country. Where the Society counted three years ago its members by the dozen, it now counts them by the hundred and thousand. And so far from its threatening in any respect the stability of society or the advancement of spiritual knowledge, the Theosophical institution which now bears the name of the “Theosophical Society of the Arya Samâj of India” (being regularly chartered by and affiliated with that great body in the land of the Aryas) will be found some day, by the Spiritualists and all others who claim the right of thinking for them selves, to have been the true friend of intellectual and spiritual liberty—if not in America, at least in France and other countries, where an infernal priesthood thrusts innocent Spiritualists into prison by the help of a subservient judiciary and the use of perjured testimony. Its name will be respected as a pioneer of free thought and an uncompromising enemy of priestly and monkish fraud and despotism.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
“NOT A CHRISTIAN”
[From the Indian Spectator.]
BEFORE entering upon the main question that compels me to ask you kindly to accord me space in your esteemed paper, will you inform me as to the nature of that newly-horn infant prodigy which calls itself The Bombay Review? Is it a bigoted, sectarian organ of the Christians, or an impartial journal, fair to all, and unprejudiced as every respectable paper styling itself “Review” ought to be, especially in a place like Bombay, where such a diversity of religious opinions is to be found? The two paragraphs in the number of February 22nd, which so honour the Theosophical Society by a double notice of its American members, would force me to incline toward the former opinion. Both the editorial which attacks my esteemed friend, Miss Bates, and the apocalyptic vision of the modern Ezekiel, alias “Anthroposophist,” who shoots his rather blunt arrows at Col. Olcott, require an answer, if it were but to show the advisability of using sharper darts against Theosophists. Leaving the seer to his prophetic dream of langoutis and cow-dung, I will simply review the editorial of this Review which tries to be at the same time satirical and severe and succeeds only in being nonsensical. Quoting from another paper a sentence relating to Miss Bates, which describes her as “not a Christian,” it remarks in that bitter and selfish spirit of arrogance and would-be superiority, which so characterizes Christian sectarianism:
The public might have been spared the sight of the italicized personal explanation.
What “public” may I ask? The majority of the intelligent and reading public—especially of native papers—in Bombay as throughout India is, we believe, composed of non-Christians—of Parsis, Hindus, etc. And this public instead of resenting such “wanton aggressiveness,” as the writer pleases to call it, call but rejoice to find at least one European lady, who, at the same time that she is not a Christian,
A MODERN PANARION.
is quite ready, as a Theosophist, to call any respectable “heathen” her brother, and regard him with at least as much sympathy as she does a Christian. But this unfortunate thrust at Theosophy is explained by what follows:
In the young lady’s own interest the insult ought not to have been flung into the teeth of the Christian public.
Without taking into
consideration the old and wise axiom, that honesty is the best policy, we can
only regret for our Christian opponents that they should so soon “unveil” their
cunning policy. While in the eyes of every honest “heathen” Theosophist, there
can be no higher recommendation for a person than to have the reputation of
being truthful even at the expense of his or her “interest,” our Christian
Review unwittingly exposes the concealed rope of the mission machinery, by
admitting that it is in the interest of every person here, at least—to appear a
Christian or a possible convert, if he is not one de facto. We feel really
very, very grateful to the Review for such a timely and generous confession.
The writer’s defence of the “public” for which it speaks as one having
authority is no less vague and unsatisfactory, as we all know that among the
240,000,000 of native population in
Nor do we find the sentence, “
195————————————————————“NOT A CHRISTIAN”!
I have done; adding but one more word of advice to the Review. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, when the latest international revision of the Bible—that infallible and revealed Word of God !—reveals 64,000 mistranslations and other mistakes, it is not the Theosophists—a large number of whose members are English patriots and men of learning—but rather the Christians who ought to beware of “wanton aggressiveness” against people of other creeds. Their boomerangs may fly back from some unexpected parabola and hit the throwers.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
THE RETORT COURTEOUS
[From the Indian Spectator.]
THERE is a story current among the Yankees of a small school boy, who, having been thrashed by a bigger fellow and being unable to hit him back, consoled himself by making faces at his enemy’s sister. Such is the position of my opponent of the world-famed Bombay Review. Realizing the impossibility of injuring the Theosophical Society, he “makes faces” at its Corresponding Secretary, flinging at her personal abuse.
Unfortunately for my masked enemies and fortunately for myself, I have five years’ experience in fighting American newspapers, any one of which, notwithstanding the grandiloquent style of the “Anthroposophists,” “B.’s” and “Onesimuses” is any day more than a match in humour, and especially in wit, for a swarm of such pseudonymous wasps as work on the Review. If I go to the trouble of noticing their last Saturday’s curry of weak arguments and impertinent personalities at all, it is simply with the object of proving once more that it requires more wit than seems to be at their command to compel my silence. Abuse is no argument; moreover, if applied indiscriminately it may prove dangerous sometimes.
Hence, I intend noticing but one particular point. As to their conceit, it is very delightful to behold! What a benevolent tone of patronage combined with modesty is theirs! How refreshing in hot weather to hear them saying of oneself:
We have been more charitable to her than she seems subsequently to deserve [!!].
Could dictatorial magnanimity
be carried further? And this dithyrambic, which forces one’s recognition of the
worth of the mighty ones “of broad and catholic views,” who control the fates
of The Bombay Review, and have done in various ways so much “for the races of
197————————————————————THE RETORT COURTEOUS.
Has it acquired its reverberant diapason from the patronage of all the native princes whose favours it so eagerly sought a while ago?
I have neither leisure nor desire to banter penny-a-line wit with such gold-medal experts, especially when I honestly write above my own signature and they hide themselves behind secure pseudonyms. Therefore, I will leave their claptrap about “weeds and Madame Sophy” to be digested by themselves, and notice but the insinuation about “Russian spies.” I agree with the Review editor when he says that it is the business of Sir Richard Temple and Sir Frank Souter to take care of such “spies.” And I will further add that it is these two gentlemen alone who have the right or the authority to denounce such people.
No other person, were he even
the noblest of the lords instead of an anonymous writer, can or will be allowed
to throw out such a malicious and mischievous hint about a woman and a citizen
of the United States. He who does it risks being brought to the bar of that
most just of all tribunals—a
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
[Probably from the
IF my memory has not
altogether evaporated under the combined influences of this blazing Indian sun
and the frequent misconstructions of your correspondents, there occurred, in
March, 1878, an epistolary skirmish between one who prudently conceals his face
behind the two masks of “Scrutator” and “M.A. Cantab.,” and your humble
servant. He again attacks me in the character of my London Nemesis. Again he
lets fly a Parthian shaft from behind the fence of one of his pseudonyms. Again
he has found a mare’s nest in my garden—a chronological, instead of a
metaphysical one this time. He is exercised about my age, as though the value
of my statements would be in the least affected by either rejuvenating me to
infancy, or ageing me into a double centenarian. He has read in the Revue
Spirite for October last a sentence in which, discussing this very point, I say
that I have not passed thirty years in
C’est justement mon age—quoique fort respectable tel qu’il est—qui s’oppose violemmeet a cette chronologie, etc.
I reproduce the sentence
exactly as it appears, with the sole exception of restoring the period after
“l’Inde” in the place of the comma, which is simply a typographical mistake.
The capital C which immediately follows would have conveyed to anyone except a
“Scrutator” my exact meaning, viz., that my age itself, however respectable, is
opposed to the idea that I had passed thirty years in
I do hope that my ever-masked assailant will devote some leisure to the study of French as well as of punctuation before he attacks again.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
IN The Indian Tribune of March 15th appears a letter upon the relations of the Theosophical Society with the Arya Samâj. The writer seems neither an enemy of our cause, nor hostile to the Society; therefore I will try in a gentle spirit to correct certain misapprehensions under which he labours.
As he signs himself “A Member,” he must, therefore, be regarded by us as a Brother. And yet he seems moved by an unwarranted fear to a hasty repudiation of too close a connection between our Society and his Samâj, lest the fair name of the latter be compromised before the public by some strange notions of ours. He says:
I have been surprised to hear that the Society embraces people who believe in magic. Should this, however, be the belief of the Theosophical Society, I could only assure your readers that the Arya Samâj is not in common with them in this respect. Only as far as Vedic learning and Vedic philosophy is concerned, their objects may be said to be similar.
It is these very points I now mean to answer.
The gist of the whole question is as to the correct definition of the word “Magic,” and understanding of what Vaidic “learning and philosophy” are. If by Magic is meant the popular superstitious belief in sorcery, witchcraft and ghosts in general; if it involves the admission that supernatural feats may be performed; if it requires faith in miracles—that is to say, phenomena outside natural law; then, on behalf of every Theosophist, whether a sceptic yet unconverted, a believer in and student of phenomena pure and simple, or even a modern Spiritualist so-called—i.e., one who believes mediumistic phenomena to be necessarily caused by returning human Spirits—we emphatically repudiate the accusation.
We did not see The Civil and Military Gazette, which seems so well acquainted with our doctrines; but if it meant to accuse any Theo-
A MODERN PANARION.
sophists of any such belief, then, like many other Gazettes and Reviews, it talked of that which it knew nothing about.
Our Society believes in no miracle, diabolical or human, nor in any-thing which eludes the grasp of either philosophical and logical induction, or the syllogistic method of deduction. But if the corrupted and comparatively modern term of “Magic” is understood to mean the higher study and knowledge of Nature and deep research into her hidden powers—those Occult and mysterious laws which constitute the ultimate essence of every element—whether with the ancients we recognize but four or five, or with the moderns over sixty; or, again, if by Magic is meant that ancient study within the sanctuaries, known as the “worship of the Light,” or divine and spiritual wisdom—as distinct from the worship of darkness or ignorance—which led the initiated High-priests of antiquity among the Aryans, Chaldæans, Medes and Egyptians to be called Maha, Magi or Maginsi, and by the Zoroastrians Meghistam (from the root Meh’ah, great, learned, wise)—then, we Theosophists “plead guilty.”
We do study that “Science of sciences,” extolled by the Eclectics and Platonists of the Alexandrian Schools, and practised by the Theurgists and the Mystics of every age. If Magic gradually fell into disrepute, it was not because of its intrinsic worthlessness, but through misconception and ignorance of its primitive meaning, and especially the cunning policy of Christian theologians, who feared lest many of the phenomena produced by and through natural (though Occult) law should give the direct lie to, and thus cheapen, ‘‘Divine biblical miracle,” and so forced the people to attribute every manifestation that they could not comprehend or explain to the direct agency of a personal devil. As well accuse the renowned Magi of old of having had no better knowledge of divine truth and the hidden powers and possibilities of physical law than their successors, the uneducated Parsi Mobeds, or the Hindu Mahârâjahs of that shameless sect known as the Vallabhâchâryas, both of whom yet derive their appellation from the Persian word Mog or Mag, and the Sanskrit Mahâ. More than one glorious truth has thus tumbled down through human ignorance from the sublime unto the ridiculous.
Plato, and even the sceptical
Lucian, both recognized the high wisdom and profound learning of the Magi; and
these Magi or “magicians” were
not such as
But our friend “A Member,”
consenting to descend to our level in one point at least, admits himself that
in ‘‘Vedic learning and philosophy” the Arya Samâj and the Theosophical Society
are upon a common ground. Then, I have something to appeal to as an authority
which will be better still than the so-much-derided Magic, Theurgy and Alchemy.
It is the Vedas themselves, for “Magic” is brought into every line of the
sacred books of the Aryans. Magic is indispensable for the comprehension of
either of the six great schools of Aryan philosophy. And it is precisely to
understand them, and thus enable our selves to bring to light the hidden summum
bonum of that mother of all Eastern Philosophies known as the Vedas, and the
later Brâhmanical literature, that we study it. Neglect this study, and we, in
common with all
The Rishi nourished with knowledge by the God himself—
Patanjali, the great authority of the Yoga, Shankarâchârya of theurgic memory, and even Zoroaster, who certainly learned his wisdom from the initiated Brâhmans of Aryavarta. And we do not see why, for
A MODERN PANARION.
that, we should be held up to the world’s scorn, as either superstitious fools or hallucinated enthusiasts, by our own brother of the Arya Samâj. I will say more. While the latter is, perhaps, in common with other “members” of the same Samâj, unable and perfectly Helpless to defend Svami Dyanand against the sophistry of such partial scoffers as a certain Pandit Mahesa Chandra Nyayaratna, of Calcutta, who would have us believe the Veda Bhashya a futile attempt at interpretation; we, Theosophists, do not shrink from assuming the burden. When the Svami affirms that Agni and Ishvara are identical, the Calcutta Pandit calls it “stuff.” To him Agni means the coarse, visible fire, with which one melts his ghee and cooks his rice cakes. Apparently he does not know, as he might, if he had studied “Magic”— that is to say, had familiarized himself with the views about the divine Fire or Light, “whose external body is Flame,” held by the mediæval Rosicrucians (the Fire-Philosophers) and all their initiated predecessors and successors—that the Vedic Agni is in fact and deed Ishvara and nothing else. The Svami makes no mistake when he says:
For Agni is all the deities and Vishnu is all the deities. For these two [divine] bodies, Agni and Vishnu, are the two ends of the sacrifice.
At one end of the ladder which stretches from heaven to earth is Ishvara—Spirit, Supreme Being, subjective, invisible and incomprehensible; at the other his visible manifestation, “sacrificial fire.”
So well has this been comprehended by every religious Philosophy of antiquity that the enlightened Parsi worships not gross flame, but the divine Spirit within, of which it is the visible type; and even in the Jewish Bible there is the unapproachable Jehovah and his down-rushing fire which consumes the wood upon the altar and licks up the water in the trench about it ( I Kings, xviii. 38). There is also the visible manifestation of God in the burning bush of Moses, and the Holy Ghost, in the Gospels of the Christians, descending like tongues of flame upon the heads of the assembled disciples on the day of Pentecost. There is not an Esoteric Philosophy or rather Theosophy, which did not apprehend this deep spiritual idea, and each and all are traceable to the Vaidic sacred books. Says the author of The Rosicrucians in his chapter on “The Nature of Fire,” and quoting R. Fludd, the mediæval Theosophist and Alchemist:
Wonder no longer then, if, in the religions of the Aryans, Medes and Zoroastrians, rejected so long as an idolatry, the ancient Persians and their masters, the Magi, concluding that they saw ‘‘All” in this supernaturally magnificent Element
[fire] fell down and worshipped it; making of it the visible representation of the truest, but yet, in man’s speculations, in his philosophies, nay, in his commonest reason, impossible God; God being everywhere and in us, and indeed us, in the God-lighted man, and impossible to be contemplated or known outside, being All.
This is the teaching of the mediæval Fire-Philosophers known as the Brothers of the Rosie-Cross, such as Paracelsus, Kunrath, Van Helmont, and that of all the Illuminati and Alchemists who succeeded these, and who claimed to have discovered the eternal Fire, or to have “found out God in the Immortal Light”—that light whose radiance shone through the Yogis. The same author remarks of them:
Already, in their determined climbing unto the heights of thought, had these Titans of mind achieved, past the cosmical through the shadowy borders of the Real and Unreal, into Magic. For is Magic wholly false?
—he goes on to ask. No; certainly not, when by Magic is understood the higher study of divine, and yet not supernatural law, though the latter be, as yet, undiscovered by exact and materialistic phenomena, such as those which are believed in by nearly twenty millions of well- educated, often highly enlightened and learned persons in Europe and America. These are as real, and as well authenticated by the testimony of thousands of unimpeached witnesses, and as scientifically and mathematically proved as the latest discoveries of our Brother T. A. Edison. If the term “fool” is applicable to such men of Science and giants of intellect of the two hemispheres, as W. Crookes, F.R.S., Alfred Russel Wallace, the greatest Naturalist of Europe and a successful rival of Darwin, and as Flammarion, the French Astronomer, Member of the Academy of Sciences of France, and Professor Zöllner, the celebrated Leipzig Astronomer and Physicist, and Professor Hare, the great Chemist of America, and many another no less eminent Scientist, unquestioned authorities upon any other question but the so-called spiritual phenomena, and all firm Spiritualists themselves, often converted only after years of careful investigation—then, indeed, we Theosophists would not find ourselves in bad company, and would deem it an honour to be called “fools” were we even firm orthodox Spiritualists ourselves—i.e., believers in perambulating ghosts and materialized bhuts—which we are not. But we are believers in the phenomena of the Spiritualists (even if we do doubt their “spirits”), for we happen to know them to be actual facts. It is one thing to reject unproved theory, and quite another to battle against well-established facts. Everyone has a right to doubt, until further and stronger
A MODERN PANARION.
evidence, whether these modern phenomena which are inundating the Western countries, are all produced by disembodied “spirits”—for it happens to be hitherto a mere speculative doctrine raised up by enthusiasts; but no one is authorized—unless he can bring to contradict the fact, something better and weightier than the mere negations of sceptics—to deny that such phenomena do occur. If we Theosophists (and a very small minority of us), disclaim the agency of “spirits” in such manifestations, it is because we can prove in most instances to the Spiritualists, that many of their phenomena, whether of physical or psychological nature, can be reproduced by some of our Adepts at will, and without any aid of “spirits” or resort to either divine or diabolical miracle, but simply by developing the Occult powers of the man’s Inner Self and studying the mysteries of Nature. That European and American sceptics should deny such interference by Spirits, and, as a consequence discredit the phenomena themselves, is no cause for wonder. Scarcely liberated from the clutches of the Church, whose terrible policy, barely a century ago, was to torture and put to death every person who either doubted biblical “divine” miracle, or endorsed one which theology declared diabolical, it is but the natural force of reaction which makes them revel in their new-found liberty of thought and action. One who denies the Supreme and the existence of his own Soul, is not likely to believe in either Spirits or phenomena, without abundant proof. But that Eastern people, Hindus especially, of any sect, should disbelieve, is indeed an anomaly, considering that they all are taught the transmigration of Souls, and spiritual as well as physical evolution. The sixteenth chapter of the Mahabhárata, Harivansha Parva, is full of spiritual phenomena and the raising of Spirits. And if, ashamed of the now termed “superstitions” of their forefathers, young India turns, sunflower-like, but to the great luminaries of the West, this is what one of the most renowned men of Science of England, A. R. Wallace—a Fellow of the Royal as well as a member of the Theosophical Society—says of the phenomena in his Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, and On Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, thus confirming the belief of old India:
Up to the time when I first became acquainted with the facts of Spiritualism, I was a confirmed philosophical sceptic. I was so thorough and confirmed a Materialist, that I could not at that time find a place in my mind for the conception of spiritual existence, or for any other genesis in the universe than matter and force. Facts, however, “are stubborn things.”
Having explained how he came to become a Spiritualist, he considers the spiritual theory and shows its compatibility with natural selection. Having, he says:
Been led, by a strict induction from facts, to a belief—firstly, in the existence of a number of preter-human intelligences of various grades; and secondly, that some of these intelligences, although usually invisible and intangible to us, can and do act on matter, and do influence our minds—I am surely following a strictly logical and scientific course, in seeing how far this doctrine will enable us to account for some of those residual phenomena which Natural Selection alone will not explain. In the tenth chapter of my Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection I have pointed out what I consider to be some of these residual phenomena; and I have suggested that they may be due to the action of some of the various intelligences above referred to. I maintained, and still maintain, that this view is one which is logically tenable, and is in no way inconsistent with a thorough acceptance of the grand doctrine of evolution through Natural Selection.
Would not one think he hears
in the above the voices of Manu, Kapila and many other Philosophers of old
For four years we have been
fighting out our great battle against tremendous odds. We have been abused and
called traitors by the Spiritualists, for believing in other beings in the
invisible world besides their departed Spirits; we were cursed and sentenced to
eternal damnation, with free passports to hell, by the Christians and their
clergy; ridiculed by sceptics, looked upon as audacious lunatics by society,
and tabooed by the conservative press. We thought we had drunk to the dregs the
bitter cup of gall. We had hoped that at least in
A MODERN PANARION.
philosophy” to the millions of famished souls in the West, who are familiar with phenomena, but wrongly suffer themselves to be misled through their mistaken notions about ghosts and bhuts. But if we are to be repulsed at the outset by any considerable party of Arya Samâjists, who share the views of “A Member,” then will the Theosophical Society, with its 45,000 or so of Western Spiritualists, have to become again a distinct and independent body, and do as well as it can without a single “member” to enlighten it on the absurdity of Spiritualism and Magic.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
A REPUBLICAN CITIZEN
[From The Banner of Light,
ON the very day of my return from a month’s travel, I am shown by the American Consul two paragraphs, viz., one in your paper of the 10th inst., which mentions me as the “Russian ‘Baroness,’” and one in The Times of India of the 8th, whose author had tried hard to be witty but only succeeded in being impertinent and calumnious. In this last paragraph I am referred to as a woman who called herself a “Russian Princess.”
With the original and selected
matter in your contemporary you, of course, have nothing to do. If the editor
can find “amusing” such slanderous tomfooleries as the extract in question from
The Colonial Gazette and Star of India, and risk a suit for libel for
circulating defamations of a respectable scientific Society, and vilifying its
honoured President by calling him a “secret detective”—an outrageous lie, by
the way—that is not your affair. My present business is to take the Gazette to
task for thrusting upon my unwilling Republican head the baronial coronet. Know,
please, once for all, that I am neither “Countess,” “Princess,” nor even a
modest “Baroness”—whatever I may have been before last July. At that time I
became a plain citizen of the
A MODERN PANARION.
precincts. Permit me further to state—if only for the edification of The Times of India and a brood of snarling little papers searching around after the garbage of journalism—that I have never styled myself aught but what I can prove myself to be, namely, an honest woman, now a citizen of America, my adopted country, and the only land of true freedom in the whole world.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
THE THEOSOPHISTS AND THEIR
[From The Amrita Bazar
I PRAY you to give me, in your
The Theosophical Society has merited the epithets employed about it by The Friend of India.
To my everlasting confusion be
it said, that I am guilty of the crime of not only never reading, but also of
never having so much as laid my eyes upon that last named veteran organ. Nor
can any of our Theosophists be charged with abusing the precious privilege of
reading the missionary journals, a considerable time having elapsed since each
of us was weaned, and relinquished milk-and-water pap. Not that we shirk the
somniferous task under the spur of necessity. Were not the proof of our present
writing itself sufficient, I need only cite the case of the
Confronted, as we all have so often been, with the intolerant bigotry
A MODERN PANARION.
—religious “zeal” they call it—and puerile anathemas of the clerical “followers of the meek and lowly Jesus,” no Theosophist is surprised to find the peas from the herald-shooter rattling against his armour. It adds to the clatter, but no one is mortally hurt. And, after all, how natural that the poor fellows who try to administer spiritual food to the benighted heathen—much after the fashion of the Strasburg goose-fatteners, who thrust balls of meal down the throats of the captive birds, unmasticated, to swell their livers—should shake at the intrusion of Europeans who are ready to analyze for the heathen these scripture-balls they are asked to grease with blind faith and swallow without chewing! People like us, who would have the effrontery to claim for the “heathen” the same right to analyze the Bible as the Christian clergy claim to analyze and even to revile the sacred Scriptures of other people, must of course be put down. And the very Christian Herald tries his hand. It says:
Let us without any bias or prejudice reflect ... about the Theosophical Society such a mortal degradation of persons [ Buddhist, Aryan, Jain, Parsi Hebrew and Mussulman Theosophists, included?] who can see nothing good in the Bible . . [and who] ought to remember that the Bible! is not only a blessed book, but our book [!]
The latter piece of presumptuous conceit cannot be allowed to pass unnoticed. Before I answer the preceding invectives I mean to demand a clear definition of this last sentence, “our Book.” Whose Book? The Herald’s? “Our” must mean that; for the seven thick volumes of the Speaker’s Commentary on the Old Testament *show that the possessive pronoun and the singular noun in question can no longer be used by Christians when speaking of the Bible. So numerous and glaring have been the mistakes and mistranslations detected by the forty divines of the Anglican Church, during their seven years’ revision of the Old Testament, that the London Quarterly Review (No. 294, April, 1879), the organ of the most extreme orthodoxy, is driven in despair to say:
The time has certainly passed when the whole Bible could be practically esteemed a single book, miraculously communicated in successive portions from heaven, put into writing no doubt by human hands, but at the dictation of the divine spirit.
So we see beyond question that
if it is anybody’s “Book” it must be The Indian Christian Herald’s; for, in
fact, its editors add:
* The Bible, according to the
authorized version (AD.1611), with an explanatory and critical commentary and a
revision of the translation, by bishops and other clergy of the Anglican
Church. Edited by F.C. Cook, MA., Canon of Exeter, Preacher at Lincohn’s
211———————————————THE THEOSOPHISTS AND THEIR OPPONENTS.
We feel it to be no more a collection of books, but the book.
But here is another bitter pill for your contemporary. It says in a pious gush:
The words which had come from
the prophets of the despised
But the inexorable quarterly reviewer, after reluctantly abandoning to the analytical scalpels of Canon Cook and Bishop Harold Browne the Mosaic miracles—whose supernatural character is no longer affirmed, but they are allowed to be “natural phenomena”—turns to the pretended Old Testament prophecies of Christ, and sadly says:
In the poetical [psalms and songs] and the prophetical books especially the number of corrections is enormous.
And he shows how the commentators upon Isaiah and the other so-called prophets have reluctantly admitted that the time-worn verses which have been made to serve as predictive of Christ have in truth no such meaning. He says:
It requires an effort to break the association, and to realize how much less they [the prophecies] must have meant at first to the writers themselves. But it is just this that the critical expositor is bound to do . . . for this some courage is required, for the result is apt to seem like a disenchantment for the worse, a descent to an inferior level, a profanation of the paradise in which ardent souls have found spiritual sustenance and delight.
(Such “souls” as the Herald editor’s?) What wonder, then, that the explosion of these seven theological torpedoes—as the seven volumes of the Speaker’s Commentary may truly be called—should force the reviewer into saying:
To us, we confess, every attempt to place the older Scriptures on the same supreme pinnacle on which the New Testament of later Revelation stands, is doomed to failure.
The Herald is welcome to what is left of its “Book.”
How childishly absurd it was then of the Herald to make a whole Society the scapegoat for the sins of one individual! It is now universally known that the Society comprises fellows of many nationalities and many different religious faiths, and that its Council is made up of the representatives of these faiths; yet the Herald endorses the false hood that the Society’s principles are “a strange compound of Paganism and Atheism,” and its creed “a creed as comprehensive as it is incomprehensible.” What other answer does this calumny require than the fact that our President has publicly declared that it had “no
A MODERN PANARION.
creed to offer for the world’s acceptance,”* and that in art. viii of the Society’s Rules, appended to the printed Address, in an enumeration of the plans of the Society, the first paragraph says that it aims:
To keep alive in man his belief that he has a soul, and the Universe a God.
If this is a ‘‘compound of Paganism and Atheism,’’ then let the Heralad make the most of it.
But the Society is not the
real offender; the clerical stones are thrown into my garden. The Herald’s
quotation of an expression used by me, in commenting upon a passage of Sir John
Kay’s Sepoy War making The Friend of India and
—i.e., to missionaries. I may have lost my “senses outright,” as The Indian Christian Herald politely remarks, but I think have enough left to see through the inane sophistries which they make do duty for arguments.
We have only to say to the Herald the following: (1) It is just because we do live in ‘‘an age of enlightenment and progress,’’ in which there is (or should be) room for every form of belief, that such Augustinian trades as the Herald’s are out of place. (2) We have not a Mortal hatred for Christianity and its Divine Founder,—for the tendency of the Society is to emancipate its fellows from all hatred or preference for any one exoteric form of religion—i.e., with more of the human than divine element in it—over another (see rules) neither can we hate a “Founder” whom the majority of us do not believe to have ever existed. (3) To “retain” a “reverence for the Bible” one must at some time have had it, and if our own investigations had not long since convinced us that the Bible was no more the “Word of God” than half a dozen other holy hooks, the present conclusions of the Anglican divines—at least as far as the Old Testament is concerned—would have removed the last vestige of doubt upon that point. And besides sundry American clergymen and bishops we have among our Fellows a vicar of the Church of England, who is one of its most learned antiquarians. (4) The assertion that the
Pure monotheism of the Vedas
is a pure myth
* The Theosophical Society and
its Aim. Address delivered by Colonel H. S. Olcott, at the Framji Cowasji Hall,
213———————————————THE THEOSOPHISTS AND THEIR OPPONENTS.
is a pure falsehood, beside being an insult to Max Muller and other Western Orientalists, who have proved the fact; to say nothing of that great Aryan scholar, preacher and reformer, Svami Dyanand Sarasvati.
“Degraded humanity” that we are, there must he indeed “some thing radically wrong and corrupt” in our “moral nature,” for, we confess to joy at seeing our Society constantly growing from accessions of some of the most influential laymen of different countries. And it moreover delights us to think that when we reach the bottom of the ditch, we will have as bedfellows half the Christian clergy, if the Speaker’s commentary makes as sad havoc with the divinity of the New Testament as it has with that of the Old. Our Indian Christian Pecksniff in righteous indignation exclaims:
How they managed to sink so low in the scale of moral and spiritual being must be a sadly interesting study for metaphysicians.
Sad, indeed; but sadder still to reflect that unless the editors of The Indian Christian Herald are protected by post-mortem fire-insurance policies, they are in danger themselves of eternal torment.
Whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of Hell fire,
says Lord Jesus, “the Desire of nations,” in Matthew, v. 22, unless—dreadful thought!—this verse should be also found a mistranslation.
H. P. BLAVATSKY,
Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society.
[N.B.—We insert the above
letter with great reluctance. The subject matter of the letter is not fit for
our columns, and we have no sympathy with those who attack the religions creed
of other men. The matter of fact is, a
WHAT IS HINDU SPIRITUALISM?
[ From The Banner of Light,
PHENOMENA in India—beside the undoubted interest they offer in themselves, and apart from their great variety and in most instances utter dissimilarity from those we are accustomed to hear of in Europe and America—possess another feature which makes them worthy of the most serious attention of the investigator of Psychology.
Whether Eastern phenomena are to be accounted for by the immediate interference and help of the spirits of the departed, or attributed to some other and hitherto unknown cause, is a question which, for the present, we will leave aside. It can he discussed, with some degree of confidence, only after many instances have been carefully noted and submitted, in all their truthful and unexaggerated details, to an impartial and unprejudiced public. One thing I beg to reaffirm, and this is, that instead of exacting the usual “conditions” of darkness, harmonious circles, and nevertheless leaving the witnesses uncertain as to the expected results, Indian phenomena, if we except the independent apparitions of bhuts (ghosts of the dead), are never sporadic and spontaneous, but seem to depend entirely upon the will of the operator, whether he be a holy Hindu Yogi, a Mussulman Sâdhu, Fakir, or yet a juggling Jaddugar (sorcerer).
In this connection I mean to present numerous examples of what I here say; for whether we read of the seemingly supernatural feats produced by the Rishis, the Aryan patriarchs of archaic antiquity, or by Achâryas of the Paurânic days, or hear of them from popular traditions, or again see them repeated in our modern times, we always find such phenomena to be of the most varied character. Besides covering the whole range of those known to us through modern mediumistic agency, as well as repeating the mediæval pranks of the nuns of London and other historical possedees in cases of bhut obsession, we often recognize
in them the exact counterparts—as once upon a time they must have been the originals—of biblical miracles. With the exception of two—those over which the world of piety goes most into raptures while glorifying the Lord, and the world of scepticism grins most sardonically—to wit, the anti-heliocentric crime performed by Joshua, and Jonah’s unpleasant excursion into the slimy cavern of the whale’s belly—we have to record as occasionally taking place in India, nearly every one of the feats which are said to have so distinguished Moses and other “friends of God.”
But alas for those venerable jugglers of Judæa! And alas for those pious souls who have hitherto exalted these alleged prophets of the forthcoming Christ to such a towering eminence! The idols have just been all but knocked off their pedestals by the parricidal hands of the forty divines of the Anglican Church, who now are known to have sorely disparaged the Jewish Scriptures. The despairing cry raised by the reviewer of the just issued Commentary on the “Holy” Bible, in the most extreme organ of orthodoxy (the London Quarterly Review for April, 1879), is only matched by his meek submission to the inevitable. The fact I am alluding to is one already known to you, for I speak of the decision and final conclusive opinions upon the worth of the Bible by the conclave of learned bishops who have been engaged for the last dozen years on a thorough revision of the Old Testament. The results of this labour of love may he summarized thus:
1. The shrinkage of the Mosaic and other “miracles” into mere natural phenomena. (See decisions of Canon Cook, the Queen’s Chaplain, and Bishop Harold Browne.)
2. The rejection of most of the alleged prophecies of Christ as such; the said prophecies now turning out to have related simply to contemporaneous events in Jewish national history.
3. Resolutions to place no more the Old Testament on the same eminence as the Gospels, as it would inevitably lead to the disparagement of the new one.
4. The sad confession that the Mosaic Books do not contain one word about a future life and the just complaint that:
Moses under divine direction
[?] should have abstained from any recognition of man’s destiny beyond the
grave, while the belief was prominent in all the religions around
confessed to be one of those enigmas which are the trial of our faith.
A MODERN PANARION.
And it is the “trial” of our American missionaries here also. Educated natives all read the English papers and magazines, and it now becomes harder than ever to convince these “heathen” matriculates of the ‘‘sublime truths” of Christianity. But this by way of a small parenthesis; for I mention these newly evolved facts only as having an important bearing upon Spiritualism in general, and its phenomena especially. Spiritualists have always taken such pains to identify their manifestations with the Bible miracles, that such a decision, coming from witnesses certainly more prejudiced in favour of than opposed to “miracles” and divine supernal phenomena, is rather a new and unexpected difficulty in our way. Let us hope that in view of these new religious developments, our esteemed friend Dr. Peebles, before committing himself too far to the establishment of “independent Christian churches,” will wait for further ecclesiastical verdicts, and see how the iconoclastic verdicts, and how the iconoclastic English divines will overhaul the phenomena of the New Testament. Maybe, if their consistency does not evaporate, they will have to attribute all the miracles worked by Jesus also to “natural phenomena”! Very happily for Spiritualists, and for Theosophists likewise, the phenomena of the nineteenth century cannot be as easily disposed of as those of the Bible. We have had to take the latter for nearly two thousand years on mere blind faith, though but too often they transcended every possible law of nature; while quite the reverse is our own case, and we can offer facts.
But to return. If
manifestations of an Occult nature of the most various character may be said to
abound in India, on the other hand, the frequent statements of Dr. Peebles to
the effect that this country is full of native Spiritualists, are—how shall I
say it?—a little too hasty and exaggerated. Disputing this point in the London
I have met not only Sinhalese
and Chinese Spiritualists, but hundreds of Hindu Spiritualists, gifted with the
powers of conscious mediumship. And yet Mr. W. L. D. O’Grady, of
And as an offset to this
assertion, Dr. Peebles quotes from the letter of an esteemed Hindu gentleman,
Mr. Peary Chand Mittra, of
all know that Mr. Mittra is a
Spiritualist, but what does it prove? Would Dr. Peebles be justified in stating
that because H. P. Blavatsky and half a dozen other Russians have become
Owing to the rapid spread of
spiritualistic doctrines the world over, and to my having left India several
years before, at the time I was in America I abstained from contradicting in
print the great spiritualistic “pilgrim” and philosopher, surprising as such
statements seemed to me, who thought myself pretty well acquainted with this
Is Mr. Crookes a Spiritualist, who, like my humble self, does not believe in spirits of the dead as agents in the phenomena?
He then brings forward several definitions, From the most latitudinarian to the most restricted definitions.
Let us see to which of these ‘‘definitions’’ the ‘‘Spiritualism’’ of the Hindus—I will not say of the mass, but even of a majority—would answer. Since Mr. Peebles—during his two short visits to India and while on his way from Madras, crossing the continent in its diameter from Calcutta to Bombay—could meet ‘‘ hundreds of Spiritualists,”
A MODERN PANARION.
then these must indeed form,
if not the majority, at least a considerable percentage of the 240,000,000 of
A—Everyone is a Spiritualist who believes in the immortalitv of the soul.
I guess not; otherwise the whole of Christian Europe and America would be Spiritualists ; nor does this definition A answer to the religious views of the Hindus of any sect, for while the ignorant masses believe in and aspire to Moksha, i.e., literal absorption of the spirit of man in that of Brahman, or loss of individual immortality, as means of avoiding the punishment and horrors of transmigration, the Philosophers, Adepts, and learned Yogis, such as our venerated master, Svami Dyanand Sarasvati, the great Hindu reformer, Sanskrit scholar, and supreme chief of the Vaidic Section of the Eastern division of the Theosophical Society, explain the future state of man’s Spirit, its progress and evolution, in terms diametrically opposite to the views of the Spiritualists. These views, if agreeable, I will give in some future letter.
B.—Anyone who believes that the continued conscious existence of deceased persons has been demonstrated by communication is a Spiritualist.
A Hindu whether an erudite scholar and Philosopher or an ignorant idolater, does not believe in ‘‘continued conscious existence,’’ though the former assigns for the holy, sinless soul, which has reached Svarga (heaven) and Moksha, a period of many millions and quadrillions of years, extending from one Pralaya* to the next. The Hindu believes in cyclic transmigration of the soul, during which there must be periods when the soul loses its recollections as well as the consciousness of its individuality; since, if it were otherwise, every person would distinctly remember all his previous existences, which is not the case. Hindu Philosophers are likewise consistent with logic. They at least will not allow an endless eternity of either reward or punishment for a few dozens of years of earthly life, whether this life be wholly blameless or yet wholly sinful.
C.—Anyone is a Spiritualist
who believes in airy of the alleged objective phenomena, whatever theory he may
favour about them, or even if he have none at all.
* For the meaning of the word
Pralaya see vol. ii. of
Such are “phenomenalists,” not
Spiritualists, and in this sense the definition answers to Hindu beliefs. All
of them, even those who, aping the modern
D and E.—Does not allow of Spiritualism without spirits, but the spirits need not be human.
At this rate Theosophists and Occultists generally may also be called Spiritualists, though the latter regard them as enemies; and in this sense only all Hindus are Spiritualists, though their ideas about human Spirits are diametrically opposed to those of the “Spiritualists.” They regard bhuts are the Spirits of those who died with unsatisfied desires, and who on account of their sins and earthly attractions, are earth-bound and kept back from Svarga (the “Elementaries” of the Theosophists)—as having become wicked devils, liable to be annihilated any day under the potent curses of much-sought-for and appreciated mediums.* The Hindu regards as the greatest curse a person can be afflicted with, possession and obsession by a bhut and the most loving couples often part if the wife is attacked by the bhut of a relative, who, it seems, seldom or never attacks any but women.
F.—Considers that no one has a right to call himself a Spiritualist who has any new-fangled notions about ‘‘Elementaries,’’ spirit of the medium, and so forth; or does not believe that departed human spirits, high and low, account for all the phenomena of every description.
This one is the most proper and correct of all the above given “definitions,” ‘from the standpoint of orthodox Spiritualism, and settles our dispute with Dr. Peebles. No Hindu were it even possible to bring him to regard bhuts as low, suffering Spirits on their way to progress and final pardon (?), could, even if he would, account for all the phe