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Teosophy: Secret Instructions - Is The Practice Of Concentration Beneficient?
Topic:Eastern Esotericism Reading
Eastern Esotericism Reading

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.

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