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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.

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[From The Banner of Light, Oct. 24th, 1876.]

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 day’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 Lancasters were always given to creating dissensions and provoking strife among peaceable folk. From ancient York the War of the Roses is now transferred to Middle-sex, and Lankester (whose name is a corruption), instead of uniting himself with the hereditary foe, has joined his idols with those of Donkin (whose name is evidently also a corruption). As the hero of the hour is not a knight, but a zoölogist deeply versed in the science to which he devotes his talents, why not compliment his ally by quartering the red rose of Lancaster with the downy thistle so delicately appreciated by a certain prophetic quadruped, who seeks for it by the wayside? Really, Mr. Editor, when Mr. Lankester tells us that all those who believe in Dr. Slade’s phenomena "are lost to reason," we must accord to biblical animals a decided precedence over modern ones. The ass of Balaam had at least the faculty of perceiving spirits, while some of those who bray in our academies and hospitals show no evidence of its possession. Sad degeneration of species!

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. Slade. More than any advocates of phenomenalism, they bring its marvels into public notice by their pyrotechnic exposures.

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 séances, 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 materializing 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 America which have reminded me of those that the Adepts of India evoke. Like the latter, they formed and dissolved before my eyes, their substance rising mist-like from the floor, and gradually condensing. Their eyes moved and their lips smiled; but as they stood near me their forms were so transparent that through them I could see the objects in the room. These I call genuine spiritual substances, whereas the opaque ones that I have seen elsewhere were nothing but animated forms of matter—whatever they be—with sweating hands and a peculiar odour, which I am not called upon to define at this time.

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 New York, where no one knew me, I received upon his slate a long communication in Russian. I had purposely avoided giving either to Dr. Slade or his partner, Mr. Simmons, any clue to my nationality, and while, from my accent, they would of course have detected that I was not an American, they could not possibly have known from what country I came. I fancy that if Dr. Lankester had allowed Slade to write on both knees and both elbows successively or simultaneously, the poor man would not have been able to turn out Russian messages by trick and device.

In reading the accounts in the London papers, it has struck me as very remarkable that this "vagrant" medium, after baffling such a host of savants, should have fallen so easy a victim to the zoölogico-osteological 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 Bow Street will listen to a voice that comes from a city proverbially held in small esteem by British scientists. When Prof. Tyndall asks Prof. Youmans if the New York carpenters could make him a screen ten feet long for his Cooper Institute lectures, and whether it would be necessary to send to Boston for a cake of ice that he wished to use in the experiments; and when Huxley evinces grateful surprise that a "foreigner" could express himself in your (our) language in such a way as to be so readily intelligible, "to all appearance," by a New York audience, and that those clever chaps—the New York reporters—could report him despite his accent, neither New York "spooks," nor I, can hope for a standing in a London court, when the defendant is prosecuted by English scientists. But, fortunately for Dr. Slade, British tribunals are not inspired by the Jesuits, and so Slade may escape the fate of Leymarie. He certainly will, if he is allowed to summon to the witness-stand his Owasso and other devoted "controls," to write their testimony inside a double slate, furnished and held by the magistrate himself. This is Dr. Slade’s golden hour; he will never have so good a chance to demonstrate the reality of phenomenal manifestations, and make Spiritualism triumph over scepticism; and we, who know the doctor’s wonderful powers, are confident that he can do it, if he is assisted by those who in the past have accomplished so much through his instrumentality.

Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society.
New York, Oct. 8th, 1876.

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List of Articles
African Magic
Ahkoond of Swat
An Astral Prophet
An Unsolved Mystery
Ancient Doctrines Vindicated
Ancient Magic in Modern Science
Animated Statues
Answers to Queries
Antiquity of the Vedas
Apollonius Tyaneus and Simon Magus
Are Chelas "Mediums"?
Are Dreams but Idle Visions?
Arya Samaj
The Babel of Modern Thought
Black Magic in Science
Blessings of Publicity
Bright Spot of Light
Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism
Buddhism in America
Can the Double Murder?
Can the Mahatmas Be Selfish?
Case of Obsession
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Chinese Spirits
Christmas Then and Christmas Now
Civilization, the Death of Art and Beauty
Claims of Occultism
Classification of "Principles"
Count St. Germain
Cross and Fire
Cycle Moveth
Denials and the Mistakes of the Nineteenth Century
Devil's Own-Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman
Diagnoses and Palliatives
Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life
Dialogues between the Two Editors
Do the Rishis Exist?
Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox?
Dr. Beard Criticized
Dreamland and Somnambulism
Drift of Western Spiritualism
Dual Aspect of Wisdomhe
Echoes from India. What is Hindu Spiritualism?
Eddy Manifestations
Editorial Comment
Editorial Appendix
Eighth Wonder
Electric and Magnetic Affinities between Man and Nature
Esoteric Axioms and Spiritual Speculations
"Esoteric Buddhism" and its Critic
"Esoteric Buddhism" and the "Secret Doctrine"
Esoteric Character of the Gospels
Fakirs and Tables
Fall of Ideals
Fate of the Occultist
Few Thoughts on Some Wise Words from a Wise Man
Force of Prejudice
French View of Women's Rights
Grand Inquisitor
"H. M." and the Todas
H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation and Other Matters
H. P. Blavatsky's Masonic Patent
Have Animals Souls?
Hindu Widow-Marriage
History of a "Book"
History of a Planet
Holmes Controversy
Holmes Controversy(continued)
Huxley and Slade
Hypnotism, and Its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination
Imperfections of Science
Indian Metaphysics
Intro-Version of Mental Vision
Is Creation Possible for Man?
Is Denunciation a Duty?
Is Foeticide a Crime?
"Is it Idle to Argue Further?"
Is Suicide a Crime?
Is the Desire to "Live" Selfish?
Is Theosophy a Religion?
"Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist" on Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
"It's the Cat!"
Jews in Russia
Kabalah and the Kabalists
Kabalistic Views of "Spirits"
Karmic Visions
Knout, The. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist
Kosmic Mind
Lack of Unity among Spiritualists
Lamas and Druses
Land of Mystery
Last Song of the Swan
Le Phare de L'Inconnu
Leaven of Theosophy
Leo Tolstoi and His Unecclesiastical Christianity
"Let Every Man Prove His Own Work"
Life and Death
Life Principle
Literary Jottings on Criticism, Authorities, and Other Matters
Lodges of Magic
Logic versus Peripatetic
Madame Blavatsky on "The Himalayan Brothers"
Mahatmas and Chelas
Memory in the Dying
Mind in Nature
Missing Link
Missionaries Militant
Mistaken Notions on "The Secret Doctrine"
Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs
Mote and the Beam
Mr. A. Lillie's Delusions
My Books
Mysterious Race
Nature's Human Magnets
Negations of Science
New Cycle
(New) York against Lankester. A new War of the Roses
"Not a Christian"!
Note on Eliphas Levi
Note on "Memory"
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets
Notice to Mediums
Number Seven
Number Seven and Our Society
Occult or Exact Science?
Occult Phenomena
Occultism or Magic
Occultism versus the Occult Arts
Old Hindu Ships
Old Philosophers and Modern Critics
On Pseudo-Theosophy
On The New Year's Morrow
"Oppressed Widowhood" in America
Organisation of the Theosophical Society
Origin of Evil
Our Cycle and the Next
Our Three Objects
Paradoxical World
Parting Words
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism
Pertinent Queries
Pertinent Questions
Philosophers and Philosophicules
Popular Idea of Soul-Survival
Posthumous Publication
Practical Occultism
Pralaya of Modern Science
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
Psychic and Noetic Action
Psychic Warning
Psychology - The Science of the Soul
Puzzle from Adyar
Puzzle in "Esoteric Buddhism"
Queries and Answers
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidya
Re-Classification of Principles
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A.
Republican Citizen
Retort Courteous
Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry
Russian Atrocities
Sacred Tree of Kum Bum
Science of Life
Science of Magic
"Scrutator Again"
Search after Occultism
Seeming "Discrepancies"
Seventeen-Rayed Sun-Disc
She Being Dead Yet Speaketh
Signal of Danger
Signs of the Times
Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars
Society Without a Dogma
Some Scientific Questions Answered
Spiritual Progress
Spiritualism and Occult Truth
Spiritualism and Spiritualists
Spiritualism in Russia
Spiritualistic Tricksters
Star-Angel-Worship in the Roman Catholic Church
Stars and Numbers
Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Substantial Nature of Magnetism
Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits
Theory of Cycles
"Theosophical Mahatmas"
Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future
Theosophists and their Opponents
Theosophy and Spiritualism
Theosophy or Jesuitism?
Thoughts of the Dead
Thoughts on the Elementals
Tibetan Teachings
Tidal Wave
"To the Readers of 'Lucifer'"
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Trickery or Magic?
Universe in a Nut-Shell
Views of the Theosophists
War in Olympus
Warning to Mediums
Was Cagliostro a "Charlatan"?
Washing the Disciples' Feet
What Are the Theosophists?
What is Occultism?
What is Theosophy?
"What Is Truth?"
What of Phenomena?
What Shall We Do for Our Fellow-Men?
What's in a Name? - Why the Magazine is called "Lucifer"
Which First - the Egg or the Bird?
Why Do Animals Suffer?
Why I Do Not Return to India
Why the "Vahan"?
"Word with Our Friends"
World-Improvement or World-Deliverance
Year is Dead, Long Live the Year
Year of Theosophy
Yoga Philosophy