Secret Instructions - Is The Practice Of Concentration Beneficient?
Such is another question asked by the members of the E.S.T. I answer: - Genuine
concentration and meditation, conscious and cautious, upon one's lower self
in the light of the Inner Divine Man and the Paramitas its an excellent thing.
But to "Sit for Yoga," with only a superficial and often distorted
knowledge of the real practice, is almost invariably fatal; for ten to one the
student will either develop mediumistic powers in himself or lose time and get
disgusted both with practice and theory.
Before one rushes into such a dangerous experiment and seeks to go beyond a
minute examination of one's lower self and its walk in life, or that which is
called in our phraseology, "The Chela's Daily Life Legger," he would
do well to learn at least the difference between the two aspects of "magic",
the White or Divine and the Black or devilish, and assure himself that by "sitting
for Yoga", with no experience, as well as with no guide to show him the
dangers, he does not cross daily and hourly, the boundaries of the Divine and
fall into the Satanic. Nevertheless the way to learn the difference is very
easy; one has only to remember that no esoteric truth entirely unveiled will,
ever be given in public print, in book or magazine.
In the Book of Rules, I advise students to get certain works, as I shall have
to refer to and quote from them repeatedly. I reiterate the advice and ask them
to turn to the Theosophist of Nov. 1887, p. 98. They will find the beginning
of an excellent article by Mr. Rama Prasad on Nature's Finer Forces. (Note the
reference to "Nature's Finer Forces" which follow have respect to
the eight articles which appeared in the pages of the Theosophist, and not to
the fifteen essays and the translation of a chapter of the Sivagama which are
contained in the book called "Nature's Finer Forces").
(The Sivagama in its detail is purely Tantric, and nothing but harm can result
from any practical following of its precepts. I would host strongly dissuade
a member of the E.S. from attempting any of these Hatha Yoga practices, for
he will either ruin himself entirely, or throw himself so far back that it will
be almost impossible to regain the lost ground in this incarnation. The translation
referred to has been considerably expurgated, and even now is hardly fit for
publication. It recommends Black Magic of the worst kind, and is the very antipodes
of spiritual Raja Yoga. Beware, I say.)
Now the value of this work is not so much in its literary merit though it gained
its author the gold medal of the Theosophist, as in exposition of tenets hitherto
concealed in a rare and ancient Sanscrit work on Occultism. But Mr. Rama Prasad
is not an Occultist, only an excellent Sanscrit scholar, a university graduate,
and a man of remarkable intelligence. His essays are almost entirely based on
Tantra works, which, if read indiscriminately by a tyro in Occultism, will lead
to the practice of most unmitigated Black Magic.
Now, since the difference of primary importance between Black and White Magic
is simply the object with which it is practiced, and that of secondary importance,
the nature of the agents and ingredients used for the production of phenomenal
results, the line of demarcation between the two is very, very thin. The danger
is lessened only by the fact that every Occult book, so called, is Occult only
in a certain symbolism, thoroughly understood before the reader can get at the
correct sense of the teaching. Moreover, it is never complete its several portions
each being under a different title and each containing a portion of some other
work; so that, without the key to these, no such work divulges the whole truth.
Even the famous Sivagama, on which "Nature's Inner Forces" is based,
"is nowhere to be found in complete form", as the author tells us.
Thus, like all others, it treats of only five Tatwas instead of the seven in
esoteric teachings. Now, the Tatwas, being simply the substratum of the seven
forces of nature, how can this be?
There are seven forms of Prakriti, as Kapils's Sankhya, Vishnu Purana and other
works teach. Prakriti is nature, matter (primordial and elemental); therefore
logic demands that the Tatwas should be also seven. For, whether Tatwas mean,
as Occultism teaches, "forces of nature" or as the learned Rama Prasad
explains, "the substance out of which the Universe is formed" and
"the power by which it is sustained" it is all the same; they are
force and matter, Prakriti. And if the forms or rather planes of the latter
are seven, then its forces must be seven also; that is, the degrees of the solidity
of matter and the degrees of the power that ensouls it must go hand in hand.
"The Universe is made out of the Tatwa", it is sustained by the Tatwa,
and it disappears into the Tatwa", says Siva, as quoted from the
Sivagama, in "Nature's Finer Forces." This settles the question; if
Prakriti is septenary, then the Tatwas must be seven, for, as said, they are
both substance and force, or atomic matter and the spirit that ensouls it. This
is explained here to enable the student to read between the lines of the so-called
occult articles on Sanscrit philosophy, by which they must not be misled. Every
Esotericist who reads the Theosophist must remember how bitterly Subba Row,
a learned Vedantin Brahmin, arose against the septenary principles in man. He
knew well I had no right to and dared not to explain in the Theosophist, a public
magazine; the real numeration, and simply took advantage of my enforced silence.
The doctrine of the seven Tatwas (the principles of the Universe as in man)
was held in great sacredness and therefore secrecy, by the Brahmins in days
of old by whom now the teaching is almost forgotten. Yet it taught to this day
in the schools beyond the Himalayan Range, but it is now hardly remembered or
heard of in India except through rare Initiates. The policy has been changed
gradually; Chelas began to be taught the broad outlines of it, and at the advent
of the T.S. in India sin 1879, I was ordered to teach it in its exoteric form
to one or two, and obeyed. To you who are pledged, I give it out esoterically.
Knowing that some of the members of the E.S.T. try to follow a system of Yoga
in their own fashion, guided in this only by the rare hints they find in Theosophical
books and magazines, which must naturally be incomplete, I chose one of the
best expositions ever written upon ancient Occult works, "Nature's Finer
Forces", in order to point out how very easily one can be misled by blinds.
The author seems to have been himself deceived.
The Tantras read esoterically are as full of wisdom as the noblest Occult works.
Studied without a single guide and applied to practice, they may lead to the
production of various phenomenal results, on the moral and physiological planes.
But let anyone accept their dead letter rules and practices, let him try with
some selfish motive in view to carry out the rite's prescribed therein and he
is lost. Followed with a pure heart and unselfish devotion merely for the sake
of the latter, either no results will follow, or such as can only throw back
the performer. Woe, then to the selfish man who seeks to develop Occult powers
only to attain earthly benefits or revenge or to satisfy his ambition; the separation
of the Higher from the lower Principles and the severing of Buddhi-Manas from
the Tantrist's Personality will speedily follow, the terrible Karmic results
of the Dabbler in Magic. In the East, in India and China, soulless men and women
are as frequently met with as in the West, though Vice is, in truth, far less
developed there than it is here. It is Black Magic and oblivion of their ancestral
wisdom that leads them thereunto. But of this I will speak later, now merely
adding - you have to be warned and know the danger. Meanwhile, in view of what
follows, the real, Occult division of the Principles in their correspondences
with the Tatwas and other minor forces has to be well studied.
H. P. B.