The Key to Theosophy
by H. P. Blavatsky
ON THE NATURE OF OUR THINKING PRINCIPLE
THE MYSTERY OF THE EGO.
ENQUIRER. I perceive in the quotation you brought forward a little while ago from the Buddhist Catechism a discrepancy that I would like to hear explained. It is there stated that the Skandhas -- memory included -- change with every new incarnation. And yet, it is asserted that the reflection of the past lives, which, we are told, are entirely made up of Skandhas, "must survive." At the present moment I am not quite clear in my mind as to what it is precisely that survives, and I would like to have it explained. What is it? Is it only that "reflection," or those Skandhas, or always that same EGO, the Manas?
THEOSOPHIST. I have just explained that the re-incarnating Principle, or that which we call the divine man, is indestructible throughout the life cycle: indestructible as a thinking Entity, and even as an ethereal form. The "reflection" is only the spiritualised remembrance during the Devachanic period, of the ex-personality, Mr. A. or Mrs. B. -- with which the Ego identifies itself during that period. Since the latter is but the continuation of the earth-life, so to say, the very acme and pitch, in an unbroken series, of the few happy moments in that now past existence, the Ego has to identify itself with the personal consciousness of that life, if anything shall remain of it.
ENQUIRER. This means that the Ego, notwithstanding its divine nature, passes every such period between two incarnations in a state of mental obscuration, or temporary insanity.
THEOSOPHIST. You may regard it as you like. Believing that, outside the ONE Reality, nothing is better than a passing illusion -- the whole Universe included -- we do not view it as insanity, but as a very natural sequence or development of the terrestrial life. What is life? A bundle of the most varied experiences, of daily changing ideas, emotions, and opinions. In our youth we are often enthusiastically devoted to an ideal, to some hero or heroine whom we try to follow and revive; a few years later, when the freshness of our youthful feelings has faded out and sobered down, we are the first to laugh at our fancies. And yet there was a day when we had so thoroughly identified our own personality with that of the ideal in our mind -- especially if it was that of a living being -- that the former was entirely merged and lost in the latter. Can it be said of a man of fifty that he is the same being that he was at twenty? The inner man is the same; the outward living personality is completely transformed and changed. Would you also call these changes in the human mental states insanity?
ENQUIRER. How would you name them, and especially how would you explain the permanence of one and the evanescence of the other?
THEOSOPHIST. We have our own doctrine ready, and to us it offers no difficulty. The clue lies in the double consciousness of our mind, and also, in the dual nature of the mental "principle." There is a spiritual consciousness, the Manasic mind illumined by the light of Buddhi, that which subjectively perceives abstractions; and the sentient consciousness (the lower Manasic light), inseparable from our physical brain and senses. This latter consciousness is held in subjection by the brain and physical senses, and, being in its turn equally dependent on them, must of course fade out and finally die with the disappearance of the brain and physical senses. It is only the former kind of consciousness, whose root lies in eternity, which survives and lives for ever, and may, therefore, be regarded as immortal. Everything else belongs to passing illusions.
ENQUIRER. What do you really understand by illusion in this case?
THEOSOPHIST. It is very well described in the just-mentioned essay on "The Higher Self." Says its author:
"The theory we are considering (the interchange of ideas between the Higher Ego and the lower self) harmonizes very well with the treatment of this world in which we live as a phenomenal world of illusion, the spiritual plane of nature being on the other hand the noumenal world or plane of reality. That region of nature in which, so to speak, the permanent soul is rooted is more real than that in which its transitory blossoms appear for a brief space to wither and fall to pieces, while the plant recovers energy for sending forth a fresh flower. Supposing flowers only were perceptible to ordinary senses, and their roots existed in a state of Nature intangible and invisible to us, philosophers in such a world who divined that there were such things as roots in another plane of existence would be apt to say of the flowers, These are not the real plants; they are of no relative importance, merely illusive phenomena of the moment."
This is what I mean. The world in which blossom the transitory and evanescent flowers of personal lives is not the real permanent world; but that one in which we find the root of consciousness, that root which is beyond illusion and dwells in the eternity.
ENQUIRER. What do you mean by the root dwelling in eternity?
THEOSOPHIST. I mean by this root the thinking entity, the Ego which incarnates, whether we regard it as an "Angel," "Spirit," or a Force. Of that which falls under our sensuous perceptions only what grows directly from, or is attached to this invisible root above, can partake of its immortal life. Hence every noble thought, idea and aspiration of the personality it informs, proceeding from and fed by this root, must become permanent. As to the physical consciousness, as it is a quality of the sentient but lower "principle," (Kama-rupa or animal instinct, illuminated by the lower manasic reflection), or the human Soul -- it must disappear. That which displays activity, while the body is asleep or paralysed, is the higher consciousness, our memory registering but feebly and inaccurately -- because automatically -- such experiences, and often failing to be even slightly impressed by them.
ENQUIRER. But how is it that MANAS, although you call it Nous, a "God," is so weak during its incarnations, as to be actually conquered and fettered by its body?
THEOSOPHIST. I might retort with the same question and ask: "How is it that he, whom you regard as 'the God of Gods' and the One living God, is so weak as to allow evil (or the Devil) to have the best of him as much as of all his creatures, whether while he remains in Heaven, or during the time he was incarnated on this earth?" You are sure to reply again: "This is a Mystery; and we are forbidden to pry into the mysteries of God." Not being forbidden to do so by our religious philosophy, I answer your question that, unless a God descends as an Avatar, no divine principle can be otherwise than cramped and paralysed by turbulent, animal matter. Heterogeneity will always have the upper hand over homogeneity, on this plane of illusions, and the nearer an essence is to its root-principle, Primordial Homogeneity, the more difficult it is for the latter to assert itself on earth. Spiritual and divine powers lie dormant in every human Being; and the wider the sweep of his spiritual vision the mightier will be the God within him. But as few men can feel that God, and since, as an average rule, deity is always bound and limited in our thought by earlier conceptions, those ideas that are inculcated in us from childhood, therefore, it is so difficult for you to understand our philosophy.
ENQUIRER. And is it this Ego of ours which is our God?
THEOSOPHIST. Not at all; "A God" is not the universal deity, but only a spark from the one ocean of Divine Fire. Our God within us, or "our Father in Secret" is what we call the "HIGHER SELF," Atma. Our incarnating Ego was a God in its origin, as were all the primeval emanations of the One Unknown Principle. But since its "fall into Matter," having to incarnate throughout the cycle, in succession, from first to last, it is no longer a free and happy god, but a poor pilgrim on his way to regain that which he has lost. I can answer you more fully by repeating what is said of the INNER MAN in ISIS UNVEILED (Vol. II. 593): --
"From the remotest antiquity mankind as a whole have always been convinced of the existence of a personal spiritual entity within the personal physical man. This inner entity was more or less divine, according to its proximity to the crown. The closer the union the more serene man's destiny, the less dangerous the external conditions. This belief is neither bigotry nor superstition, only an ever-present, instinctive feeling of the proximity of another spiritual and invisible world, which, though it be subjective to the senses of the outward man, is perfectly objective to the inner ego. Furthermore, they believed that there are external and internal conditions which affect the determination of our will upon our actions. They rejected fatalism, for fatalism implies a blind course of some still blinder power. But they believed in destiny or Karma, which from birth to death every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided by that presence termed by some the guardian angel, or our more intimate astral inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the man of flesh or the personality. Both these lead on MAN, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation and retribution steps in and takes its course, following faithfully the fluctuating of the conflict. When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped in the net-work of his own doing, then he finds himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or like a feather carries him away in a whirlwind raised by his own actions."
Such is the destiny of the Man -- the true Ego, not the Automaton, the shell that goes by that name. It is for him to become the conqueror over matter.
THE COMPLEX NATURE OF MANAS
ENQUIRER. But you wanted to tell me something of the essential nature of Manas, and of the relation in which the Skandhas of physical man stand to it?
THEOSOPHIST. It is this nature, mysterious, Protean, beyond any grasp, and almost shadowy in its correlations with the other principles, that is most difficult to realise, and still more so to explain. Manas is a "principle," and yet it is an "Entity" and individuality or Ego. He is a "God," and yet he is doomed to an endless cycle of incarnations, for each of which he is made responsible, and for each of which he has to suffer. All this seems as contradictory as it is puzzling; nevertheless, there are hundreds of people, even in Europe, who realise all this perfectly, for they comprehend the Ego not only in its integrity but in its many aspects. Finally, if I would make myself comprehensible, I must begin by the beginning and give you the genealogy of this Ego in a few lines.
ENQUIRER. Say on.
THEOSOPHIST. Try to imagine a "Spirit," a celestial Being, whether we call it by one name or another, divine in its essential nature, yet not pure enough to be one with the ALL, and having, in order to achieve this, to so purify its nature as to finally gain that goal. It can do so only by passing individually and personally, i. e., spiritually and physically, through every experience and feeling that exists in the manifold or differentiated Universe. It has, therefore, after having gained such experience in the lower kingdoms, and having ascended higher and still higher with every rung on the ladder of being, to pass through every experience on the human planes. In its very essence it is THOUGHT, and is, therefore, called in its plurality Manasa putra, "the Sons of the (Universal) mind." This individualised "Thought" is what we Theosophists call the real EGO, the thinking Entity imprisoned in a case of flesh and bones. This is surely a Spiritual Entity, not Matter, and such Entities are the incarnating EGOS that inform the bundle of animal matter called mankind, and whose names are Manasa or "Minds." But once imprisoned, or incarnate, their essence becomes dual: that is to say, the rays of the eternal divine Mind, considered as individual entities, assume a two-fold attribute which is (a) their essential inherent characteristic, heaven-aspiring mind (higher Manas), and (b) the human quality of thinking, or animal cogitation, rationalised owing to the superiority of the human brain, the Kama-tending or lower Manas. One gravitates toward Buddhi, the other, tending downward, to the seat of passions and animal desires. The latter have no room in Devachan, nor can they associate with the divine triad which ascends as ONE into mental bliss. Yet it is the Ego, the Manasic Entity, which is held responsible for all the sins of the lower attributes, just as a parent is answerable for the transgressions of his child, so long as the latter remains irresponsible.
ENQUIRER. Is this "child" the "personality"?
THEOSOPHIST. It is. When, therefore, it is stated that the "personality" dies with the body it does not state all. The body, which was only the objective symbol of Mr. A. or Mrs. B., fades away with all its material Skandhas, which are the visible expressions thereof. But all that which constituted during life the spiritual bundle of experiences, the noblest aspirations, undying affections, and unselfish nature of Mr. A. or Mrs. B. clings for the time of the Devachanic period to the EGO, which is identified with the spiritual portion of that terrestrial Entity, now passed away out of sight. The ACTOR is so imbued with the role just played by him that he dreams of it during the whole Devachanic night, which vision continues till the hour strikes for him to return to the stage of life to enact another part.
ENQUIRER. But how is it that this doctrine, which you say is as old as thinking men, has found no room, say, in Christian theology?
THEOSOPHIST. You are mistaken, it has; only theology has disfigured it out of all recognition, as it has many other doctrines. Theology calls the EGO the Angel that God gives us at the moment of our birth, to take care of our Soul. Instead of holding that "Angel" responsible for the transgressions of the poor helpless "Soul," it is the latter which, according to theological logic, is punished for all the sins of both flesh and mind! It is the Soul, the immaterial breath of God and his alleged creation, which, by some most amazing intellectual jugglery, is doomed to burn in a material hell without ever being consumed (being of "an asbestos-like nature," according to the eloquent and fiery expression of a modern English Tertullian), while the "Angel" escapes scot free, after folding his white pinions and wetting them with a few tears. Aye, these are our "ministering Spirits," the "messengers of mercy" who are sent, Bishop Mant tells us --
". . . . . . . . . to fulfil
Good for Salvation's heirs, for us they still
Grieve when we sin, rejoice when we repent;"
Yet it becomes evident that if all the Bishops the world over were asked to define once for all what they mean by Soul and its functions, they would be as unable to do so as to show us any shadow of logic in the orthodox belief!
THE DOCTRINE IS TAUGHT IN ST JOHN'S GOSPEL
ENQUIRER. To this the adherents to this belief might answer, that if even the orthodox dogma does promise the impenitent sinner and materialist a bad time of it in a rather too realistic Inferno, it gives them, on the other hand, a chance for repentance to the last minute. Nor do they teach annihilation, or loss of personality, which is all the same.
THEOSOPHIST. If the Church teaches nothing of the kind, on the other hand, Jesus does; and that is something to those, at least, who place Christ higher than Christianity.
ENQUIRER. Does Christ teach anything of the sort?
THEOSOPHIST. He does; and every well-informed Occultist and even Kabalist will tell you so. Christ, or the fourth Gospel at any rate, teaches re-incarnation as also the annihilation of the personality, if you but forget the dead letter and hold to the esoteric Spirit. Remember verses I and 2 in chapter xv. of St. John. What does the parable speak about if not of the upper triad in man? Atma is the Husbandman -- the Spiritual Ego or Buddhi (Christos) the Vine, while the animal and vital Soul, the personality, is the "branch." "I am the true vine, and my Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away . . . As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the Vine -- ye are the branches. If a man abide not in me he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered and cast into the fire and burned."
Now we explain it in this way. Disbelieving in the hell-fires which theology discovers as underlying the threat to the branches, we say that the "Husbandman" means Atma, the Symbol for the infinite, impersonal Principle, while the Vine stands for the Spiritual Soul, Christos, and each "branch" represents a new incarnation. (During the Mysteries, it is the Hierophant, the "Father," who planted the Vine. Every symbol has Seven Keys to it. The discloser of the Pleroma was always called "Father.")
ENQUIRER. But what proofs have you to support such an arbitrary interpretation?
THEOSOPHIST. Universal symbology is a warrant for its correctness and that it is not arbitrary. Hermas says of "God" that he "planted the Vineyard," i. e., he created mankind. In the Kabala, it is shown that the Aged of the Aged, or the "Long Face," plants a vineyard, the latter typifying mankind; and a vine, meaning Life. The Spirit of "King Messiah" is, therefore, shown as washing his garments in the wine from above, from the creation of the world. (Zohar XL., 10.) And King Messiah is the EGO purified by washing his garments (i. e., his personalities in re-birth), in the wine from above, or BUDDHI. Adam, or A-Dam, is "blood." The Life of the flesh is in the blood (nephesh -- soul), Leviticus xvii. And Adam-Kadmon is the Only-Begotten. Noah also plants a vineyard -- the allegorical hot-bed of future humanity. As a consequence of the adoption of the same allegory, we find it reproduced in the Nazarene Codex. Seven vines are procreated -- which seven vines are our Seven Races with their seven Saviours or Buddhas -- which spring from Iukabar Zivo, and Ferho (or Parcha) Raba waters them. (Codex Nazaraes, Vol. III., pp. 60, 61.) When the blessed will ascend among the creatures of Light, they shall see Iavar-Xivo, Lord of LIFE, and the First VINE. (Ibid., Vol. II., p. 281.) These kabalistic metaphors are thus naturally repeated in the Gospel according to St. John (xv., 1).
Let us not forget that in the human system -- even according to those philosophies which ignore our septenary division -- the EGO or thinking man is called the Logos, or the Son of King of Soul and Queen of Spirit. "Manas is the adopted Son of King -- and Queen --" (esoteric equivalents for Atma and Buddhi), says an occult work. He is the "man-god" of Plato, who crucifies himself in Space (or the duration of the life cycle) for the redemption of MATTER. This he does by incarnating over and over again, thus leading mankind onward to perfection, and making thereby room for lower forms to develop into higher. Not for one life does he cease progressing himself and helping all physical nature to progress; even the occasional, very rare event of his losing one of his personalities, in the case of the latter being entirely devoid of even a spark of spirituality, helps toward his individual progress.
ENQUIRER. But surely, if the Ego is held responsible for the transgressions of its personalities, it has to answer also for the loss, or rather the complete annihilation, of one of such.
THEOSOPHIST. Not at all, unless it has done nothing to avert this dire fate. But if, all its efforts notwithstanding, its voice, that of our conscience, was unable to penetrate through the wall of matter, then the obtuseness of the latter proceeding from the imperfect nature of the material is classed with other failures of nature. The Ego is sufficiently punished by the loss of Devachan, and especially by having to incarnate almost immediately.
ENQUIRER. This doctrine of the possibility of losing one's soul -- or personality, do you call it? -- militates against the ideal theories of both Christians and Spiritualists, though Swedenborg adopts it to a certain extent, in what he calls Spiritual death. They will never accept it.
THEOSOPHIST. This can in no way alter a fact in nature, if it be a fact, or prevent such a thing occasionally taking place. The universe and everything in it, moral, mental, physical, psychic, or Spiritual, is built on a perfect law of equilibrium and harmony. As said before (vide Isis Unveiled), the centripetal force could not manifest itself without the centrifugal in the harmonious revolutions of the spheres, and all forms and their progress are the products of this dual force in nature. Now the Spirit (or Buddhi) is the centrifugal and the soul (Manas) the centripetal spiritual energy; and to produce one result they have to be in perfect union and harmony. Break or damage the centripetal motion of the earthly soul tending toward the centre which attracts it; arrest its progress by clogging it with a heavier weight of matter than it can bear, or than is fit for the Devachanic state, and the harmony of the whole will be destroyed. Personal life, or perhaps rather its ideal reflection, can only be continued if sustained by the two-fold force, that is by the close union of Buddhi and Manas in every re-birth or personal life. The least deviation from harmony damages it; and when it is destroyed beyond redemption the two forces separate at the moment of death. During a brief interval the personal form (called indifferently Kama rupa and Mayavi rupa), the spiritual efflorescence of which, attaching itself to the Ego, follows it into Devachan and gives to the permanent individuality its personal colouring (pro tem., so to speak), is carried off to remain in Kamaloka and to be gradually annihilated. For it is after the death of the utterly depraved, the unspiritual and the wicked beyond redemption, that arrives the critical and supreme moment. If during life the ultimate and desperate effort of the INNER SELF (Manas), to unite something of the personality with itself and the high glimmering ray of the divine Buddhi, is thwarted; if this ray is allowed to be more and more shut out from the ever-thickening crust of physical brain, the Spiritual EGO or Manas, once freed from the body, remains severed entirely from the ethereal relic of the personality; and the latter, or Kama rupa, following its earthly attractions, is drawn into and remains in Hades, which we call the Kamaloka. These are "the withered branches" mentioned by Jesus as being cut off from the Vine. Annihilation, however, is never instantaneous, and may require centuries sometimes for its accomplishment. But there the personality remains along with the remnants of other more fortunate personal Egos, and becomes with them a shell and an Elementary. As said in Isis, it is these two classes of "Spirits," the shells and the Elementaries, which are the leading "Stars" on the great spiritual stage of "materialisations." And you may be sure of it, it is not they who incarnate; and, therefore, so few of these "dear departed ones" know anything of re-incarnation, misleading thereby the Spiritualists.
ENQUIRER. But does not the author of "Isis Unveiled" stand accused of having preached against re-incarnation?
THEOSOPHIST. By those who have misunderstood what was said, yes. At the time that work was written, re-incarnation was not believed in by any Spiritualists, either English or American, and what is said there of re-incarnation was directed against the French Spiritists, whose theory is as unphilosophical and absurd as the Eastern teaching is logical and self-evident in its truth. The Re-incarnationists of the Allan Kardec School believe in an arbitrary and immediate re-incarnation. With them, the dead father can incarnate in his own unborn daughter, and so on. They have neither Devachan, Karma, nor any philosophy that would warrant or prove the necessity of consecutive re-births. But how can the author of "Isis" argue against Karmic re-incarnation, at long intervals varying between 1,000 and 1,500 years, when it is the fundamental belief of both Buddhists and Hindus?
ENQUIRER. Then you reject the theories of both the Spiritists and the Spiritualists, in their entirety?
THEOSOPHIST. Not in their entirety, but only with regard to their respective fundamental beliefs. Both rely on what their "Spirits" tell them; and both disagree as much with each other as we Theosophists disagree with both. Truth is one; and when we hear the French spooks preaching re-incarnation, and the English spooks denying and denouncing the doctrine, we say that either the French or the English "Spirits" do not know what they are talking about. We believe with the Spiritualists and the Spiritists in the existence of "Spirits," or invisible Beings endowed with more or less intelligence. But, while in our teachings their kinds and genera are legion, our opponents admit of no other than human disembodied "Spirits," which, to our knowledge, are mostly Kamalokic SHELLS.
ENQUIRER. You seem very bitter against Spirits. As you have given me your views and your reasons for disbelieving in the materialization of, and direct communication in seances, with the disembodied spirits -- or the "spirits of the dead" -- would you mind enlightening me as to one more fact? Why are some Theosophists never tired of saying how dangerous is intercourse with spirits, and mediumship? Have they any particular reason for this?
THEOSOPHIST. We must suppose so. I know I have. Owing to my familiarity for over half a century with these invisible, yet but too tangible and undeniable "influences," from the conscious Elementals, semi-conscious shells, down to the utterly senseless and nondescript spooks of all kinds, I claim a certain right to my views.
ENQUIRER. Can you give an instance or instances to show why these practices should be regarded as dangerous?
THEOSOPHIST. This would require more time than I can give you. Every cause must be judged by the effects it produces. Go over the history of Spiritualism for the last fifty years, ever since its reappearance in this century in America -- and judge for yourself whether it has done its votaries more good or harm. Pray understand me. I do not speak against real Spiritualism, but against the modern movement which goes under that name, and the so-called philosophy invented to explain its phenomena.
ENQUIRER. Don't you believe in their phenomena at all?
THEOSOPHIST. It is because I believe in them with too good reason, and (save some cases of deliberate fraud) know them to be as true as that you and I live, that all my being revolts against them. Once more I speak only of physical, not mental or even psychic phenomena. Like attracts like. There are several high-minded, pure, good men and women, known to me personally, who have passed years of their lives under the direct guidance and even protection of high "Spirits," whether disembodied or planetary. But these Intelligences are not of the type of the John Kings and the Ernests who figure in seance rooms. These Intelligences guide and control mortals only in rare and exceptional cases to which they are attracted and magnetically drawn by the Karmic past of the individual. It is not enough to sit "for development" in order to attract them. That only opens the door to a swarm of "spooks," good, bad and indifferent, to which the medium becomes a slave for life. It is against such promiscuous mediumship and intercourse with goblins that I raise my voice, not against spiritual mysticism. The latter is ennobling and holy; the former is of just the same nature as the phenomena of two centuries ago, for which so many witches and wizards have been made to suffer. Read Glanvil and other authors on the subject of witchcraft, and you will find recorded there the parallels of most, if not all, of the physical phenomena of nineteenth century "Spiritualism."
ENQUIRER. Do you mean to suggest that it is all witchcraft and nothing more?
THEOSOPHIST. What I mean is that, whether conscious or unconscious, all this dealing with the dead is necromancy, and a most dangerous practice. For ages before Moses such raising of the dead was regarded by all the intelligent nations as sinful and cruel, inasmuch as it disturbs the rest of the souls and interferes with their evolutionary development into higher states. The collective wisdom of all past centuries has ever been loud in denouncing such practices. Finally, I say, what I have never ceased repeating orally and in print for fifteen years: While some of the so-called "spirits" do not know what they are talking about, repeating merely -- like poll-parrots -- what they find in the mediums' and other people's brains, others are most dangerous, and can only lead one to evil. These are two self-evident facts. Go into spiritualistic circles of the Allan Kardec school, and you find "spirits" asserting re-incarnation and speaking like Roman Catholics born. Turn to the "dear departed ones" in England and America, and you will hear them denying re-incarnation through thick and thin, denouncing those who teach it, and holding to Protestant views. Your best, your most powerful mediums, have all suffered in health of body and mind. Think of the sad end of Charles Foster, who died in an asylum, a raving lunatic; of Slade, an epileptic; of Eglinton -- the best medium now in England -- subject to the same. Look back over the life of D. D. Home, a man whose mind was steeped in gall and bitterness, who never had a good word to say of anyone whom he suspected of possessing psychic powers, and who slandered every other medium to the bitter end. This Calvin of Spiritualism suffered for years from a terrible spinal disease, brought on by his intercourse with the "spirits," and died a perfect wreck. Think again of the sad fate of poor Washington Irving Bishop. 1 knew him in New York, when he was fourteen, and he was undeniably a medium. It is true that the poor man stole a march on his "spirits," and baptised them "unconscious muscular action," to the great gaudium of all the corporations of highly learned and scientific fools, and to the replenishment of his own pocket. But de mortuis nit nisi bonum; his end was a sad one. He had strenuously concealed his epileptic fits -- the first and strongest symptom of genuine mediumship -- and who knows whether he was dead or in a trance when the post-mortem examination was performed? His relatives insist that he was alive, if we are to believe Reuter's telegrams. Finally, behold the veteran mediums, the founders and prime movers of modern spiritualism -- the Fox sisters. After more than forty years of intercourse with the "Angels," the latter have led them to become incurable sots, who are now denouncing, in public lectures, their own life-long work and philosophy as a fraud. What kind of spirits must they be who prompted them, I ask you?
ENQUIRER. But is your inference a correct one?
THEOSOPHIST. What would you infer if the best pupils of a particular school of singing broke down from overstrained sore throats? That the method followed was a bad one. So I think the inference is equally fair with regard to Spiritualism when we see their best mediums fall a prey to such a fate. We can only say: -- Let those who are interested in the question judge the tree of Spiritualism by its fruits, and ponder over the lesson. We Theosophists have always regarded the Spiritualists as brothers having the same mystic tendency as ourselves, but they have always regarded us as enemies. We, being in possession of an older philosophy, have tried to help and warn them; but they have repaid us by reviling and traducing us and our motives in every possible way. Nevertheless, the best English Spiritualists say just as we do, wherever they treat of their belief seriously. Hear "M. A. Oxon." confessing this truth: "Spiritualists are too much inclined to dwell exclusively on the intervention of external spirits in this world of ours, and to ignore the powers of the incarnate Spirit." (Second Sight, "Introduction.") Why vilify and abuse us, then, for saying precisely the same? Henceforward, we will have nothing more to do with Spiritualism. And now let us return to Re-incarnation.