Who, what is this?
Site Features:
ask Blavatsky Net
free course
research tools
Original Text
Secret Doctrine
HP Blavatsky
WQ Judge
Masters of Theosophy
other authors
collections of articles
Real World
start a study class
near death experiences
Theosophy on the Bible
Theosophy in religions
proofs of Theosophy
pebbles of truths
prophecies fulfilled
Theosophical movement
statement of purpose
Theosophy online
related sites
Contact Us
To make a donation

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.

Home | Seekerbooks.com| H.P.B. Articles | BN Publications | Contact BN | Who Are We?|



I have lately been engaged in devoting a few evenings' study to your admirable article, "FRAGMENTS OF OCCULT TRUTH," which deserves far more attention than a mere casual reading. It is therein stated that the translated Ego cannot span the abyss separating its state from ours, or that it cannot descend into our atmosphere and reach us; that it attracts but cannot be attracted, or, in short, that no departed SPIRIT can visit us.

In Vol. I., page 67, of "Isis," I find it said that many of the spirits, subjectively controlling mediums, are human disembodied spirits, that their being benevolent or wicked in quality largely depends upon the medium's private morality, that "they cannot materialise, but only project their ætherial reflections on the atmospheric waves." On page 69: "Not every one can attract human spirits, who likes. One of the most powerful attractions of our departed ones is their strong affection for those whom they have left on earth. It draws them irresistibly, by degrees, into the current of the astral light vibrating between the person sympathetic to them and the universal soul." On page 325: "Sometimes, but rarely, the planetary spirits . . . produce them (subjective manifestations); sometimes the spirits of our translated and beloved friends, &c."

From the foregoing it would appear as if both teachings were not uniform, but it may be that souls, instead of spirits, are implied, or that I have misunderstood the meaning.

Such difficult subjects are rather puzzling to Western students, especially to one who, like myself, is a mere tyro, though always grateful to receive knowledge from those who are in a position to impart such.

Yours, &c.,
9th January, 1882

EDITOR'S NOTE. --It is to be feared that our valued Brother has both misunderstood our meaning in "Isis" and that of the "Fragments of Occult Truth." Read in their correct sense, the statements in the latter do not offer the slightest discrepancy with the passages quoted from "Isis," but both teachings are uniform.

Our "Caledonian" Brother believes that, because it is stated in "Isis," that "many, among those who control the medium subjectively, are human disembodied spirits," and in the "Fragments," in the words of our critic, that "the Ego cannot span the abyss separating its state from ours . . . cannot descend into our atmosphere, . . . or, in short, that no departed SPIRIT can visit us"--there is a contradiction between the two teachings? We answer--"None at all." We reiterate both statements, and will defend the proposition. Throughout "Isis"--although an attempt was made in the Introductory Chapter to show the great difference that exists between the terms "soul" and "spirit"--one the reliquiœ of the personal EGO, the other the pure essence of the spiritual INDIVIDUALITY--the term "spirit" had to be often used in the sense given to it by the Spiritualists, as well as other similar conventional terms, as, otherwise, a still greater confusion would have been caused. Therefore, the meaning of the three sentences, cited by our friend, should be thus understood:

On page 67 wherein it is stated that many of the spirits, subjectively controlling mediums, are human disembodied spirits," &c., the word "controlling" must not be understood in the sense of a "spirit" possessing himself of the organism of a medium; nor that, in each case, it is a "spirit"; for often it is but a shell in its preliminary stage of dissolution, when most of the physical intelligence and faculties are yet fresh and have not begun to disintegrate, or fade out. A "spirit," or the spiritual Ego, cannot descend to the medium, but it can attract the spirit of the latter to itself, and it can do this only during the two intervals--before and after its "gestation period." Interval the first is that period between the physical death and the merging of the spiritual Ego into that state which is known in the Arhat esoteric doctrine as "Bar-do." We have translated this as the "gestation" period, and it lasts from a few days to several years, according to the evidence of the adepts. Interval the second lasts so long as the merits of the old Ego entitle the being to reap the fruit of its reward in its new regenerated Ego-ship. It occurs after the gestation period is over, and the new spiritual Ego is reborn--like the fabled Phœnix from its ashes--from the old one. The locality, which the former inhabits, is called by the northern Buddhist Occultists "Deva-chan," the word answering, perhaps, to Paradise or the Kingdom of Heaven of the Christian elect. Having enjoyed a time of bliss, proportionate to his deserts, the new personal Ego gets re-incarnated into a personality when the remembrance of his previous Egoship, of course, fades out, and he can "communicate" no longer with his fellowmen on the planet he has left forever, as the individual he was there known to be. After numberless re-incarnations, and on numerous planets and in various spheres, a time will come, at the end of the Maha-Yug or great cycle, when each individuality will have become so spiritualised that, before its final absorption into the One All, its series of past personal existences will marshall themselves before him in a retrospective order like the many days of some one period of a man's existence.

The words--"their being benevolent or wicked in quality largely depends upon the medium's private morality"--which conclude the first quoted sentence mean simply this: a pure medium's Ego can be drawn to and made, for an instant, to unite in a magnetic (?) relation with a real disembodied spirit, whereas the soul of an impure medium can only confabulate with the astral soul, or "shell," of the deceased. The former possibility explains those extremely rare cases of direct writing in recognized autographs, and of messages from the higher class of disembodied intelligences. We should say then that the personal morality of the medium would be a fair test of the genuineness of the manifestation. As quoted by our friend, "affection to those whom they have left on earth" is "one of the most powerful attractions" between two loving spirits--the embodied and the disembodied one.

Whence the idea, then, that the two teachings are "not uniform"? We may well be taxed with too loose and careless a mode of expression, with a misuse of the foreign language in which we write, with leaving too much unsaid and depending unwarrantably upon the imperfectly developed intuition of the reader. But there never was, nor can there be, any radical discrepancy between the teachings in "Isis" and those of this later period, as both proceed from one and the same source--the ADEPT BROTHERS.

H. P. Blavatsky
Theosophist, June, 1882

print version

"No Religion Higher Than Truth"
Support this site by visiting our donation page.
Site copyright © 1996-2014 by Estela Carson-Priede

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