THEOSOPHY, Vol. 25, No. 2, December, 1936
(Pages 72-77; Size: 18K)


(December, 1936)

LEADING physicians sometimes admit that in spite of the advance of science during recent times, and the thousands of medical students engaged in research, as a people we are as far from anything like real health as ever. What is fundamentally the trouble?

Although thousands of capable medical men have been painstakingly and earnestly laboring through research for the goal of better health, and have evolved many effective cures and preventives for human disease, the possibility of perfect health seems as remote as ever. This is not a rash mis-statement, nor a single opinion, but a conclusion reached by some of our most respected authorities, such as Alexis Carrel, who has said that while a person today runs less risk of being exterminated by common diseases such as smallpox than he would have fifty years ago, he is nevertheless exposed to an increase in other types of diseases, such as mental disorders and glandular ailments. Science and medicine have been so busily engaged in dealing with man from a materialistic basis that they have completely overlooked the possibility that they may be attempting to remedy effects without any investigation as to causes. Psychology enters somewhat into the world of cause but has not advanced far enough to realize that man is not an animal but a self-conscious being, one who affects his body with every thought and feeling. True health, then, can be gained only from within outward, with care of the physical form necessary but incidental to a true state of mental health. Therefore, while medicine succeeds in producing what seem to be tangible and noticeable improvements through physical remedies alone, it often succeeds only in curbing forces outwardly, which inevitably spring up elsewhere, to scientific dismay and consternation.

It is only when science and medicine depart from a materialistic basis long enough to see that a grand concept of the universe with a true explanation of life is necessary, that they will be able to work from a true basis. Then healing will be based on knowledge of man's real nature and his relation to the world around him. It is only when such a basis is universally reached by mankind that such a thing as real and complete health will be possible.

Why are Theosophists so against vaccination? Almost everyone except fanatics admits that it has wiped out diphtheria, smallpox, and other diseases. Doctors say that it is a duty to the community to be vaccinated. Should we not have some faith in the medical profession?

Let us consider the question from three points of view: (a) the attitude of theosophists toward vaccination; (b) has it wiped out the diseases named? and (c) to what extent should we act in faith and obedience to our doctors?

Anyone who knows more of the true inner nature of man than the average doctor is revolted by the unnatural and unclean method of treatment that includes vaccination and the various inoculations known as serum therapy. To prevent an ailment that may never be contracted, and for which there are no symptoms, a healthy bloodstream is infected with matter and bacteria from an animal bloodstream in the hope of producing "immunity." To what an inverted and materialistic way of thinking have the modern medicos sunk! A study of the inner planes of man's nature shows that disease is the result of impure mental and moral living, as well as physical wrongdoing. To close the door to impurities on their natural way out is to stop up the "sewers" of nature. Sooner or later they will burst forth, possibly in much more violent form. Disease is the safety valve which restores health to man's principles when by improper thinking, hence living, he has destroyed his inner harmony. Does this mean we should have no doctors and allow the sick to suffer unattended? No; it means simply to wait for the natural development, crisis and decline of an illness, giving all possible aid to the sick one in throwing off his accumulated impurities with the least pain and discomfort, so that he may arise strong and free of just so much internal trouble. And if in this life the opportunity is his to pay off some old debt -- by death, if need be, then this account with nature will be settled when he comes again for a new birth. There are those who prefer death to an artificial prolongation of life -- physical life for its own sake.

Vaccination is merely the replanting of disease. In order to prevent a certain known ailment, animal serums are injected into the body. These foreign elements may form combinations in the human bloodstream producing unexpected and unseen reactions, and years later the unfortunate human "guinea-pig" is victim of some new malignant disease the cause of which is "unknown." Theosophists note the sinister connection between the increase and apparently spontaneous eruption of diseases such as cancer, sleeping sickness, infantile paralysis, and others, and the recent widespread use of animal vaccines. Theosophical objections to such treatment are based upon knowledge which points to the double menace of vaccination; first, its purpose is to eradicate diseases which should be allowed to exhaust themselves according to Nature's laws; second, the effect is detrimental in the extreme, whether showing forth in some strange and virulent disease or remaining hidden to ramify on inner planes.

The questioner contends that by such immunization, smallpox, diphtheria, and other diseases have been "wiped out." Where facts are concerned there is no need to be fanatical, though in this case the facts support the "fanatics" rather than "everyone." We mention a few examples and for further study refer the reader to the pamphlet, The Laws of Healing, published by Theosophy Company. In Germany, one of the first countries to enforce vaccination (Bavaria, in 1807, Wurtemburg, Hesse and other German states, in 1818) there occurred an epidemic of smallpox in 1871. Prussia lost 69,839 persons and at Liegnitz 224 vaccinated persons contracted the disease before one unvaccinated one. Between 1888 and 1908 Japan lost 48,000 -- all of whom had been vaccinated.

Finally, how can we have faith in a composite group such as the medical profession while the doctors themselves have differing theories which change frequently and are often mutually contradictory. Let us put our faith rather where our understanding gives us convictions. What H. P. Blavatsky wrote of the medical world in 1877 is as shamefully true today:

"Theoretically the most benignant, at the same time no other school of science exhibits so many instances of petty prejudice, materialism, atheism, and malicious stubbornness as medicine."
It is often observed by radical friends that before Theosophy can be taught to the masses it is necessary to heal the sick and feed the hungry, who are too preoccupied with their physical needs to pay attention to anything else. What about this?

Our radical friends very often are guilty of speaking with conviction and an assumed knowledge on things which they know nothing about. Having superficially examined the teachings of Theosophy, they feel that they know all about its doctrines and are competent to pass judgment. Yet so unaware are they of even the simplest ideas of Theosophy that they see no relation between ignorance of Spiritual Truth and sickness and hunger.

Theosophy is a complete system of knowledge. In its teaching is to be found the true history of man, from his descent into the physical world, some 18,000,000 years ago to the present day. It explains the purpose of life and Man's mission in the world. To hold that it is first necessary to heal the sick and feed the hungry, before the truth about life is generally understood and practiced, is as illogical and impossible as the construction of a building without plan or purpose. The majority of people are absorbed and preoccupied with their physical needs, not because it is the prime concern of life, but because they know no better. They have been taught to look at life as a matter of a few score years and then -- extinction! Therefore every effort is made to prolong and make enjoyable existence here on earth. If mankind is to wait for the teaching of Truth until hunger and sickness disappear from the world, then Truth will never be known. For to imagine that the ills of mankind can be eliminated before the causes which brought them about are eradicated is a hope that cannot be realized.

Theosophy, the knowledge of the laws which govern man and nature, endeavors to awake in humanity at large a vision of the true relationship among beings of every grade by drawing the developing intelligence of the race to a study of causes. From its universal outlook this philosophy views panoramically the past and the present and points to the ultimate goal of all human experience -- the realization of universal Brotherhood. It shows, by pointing to the known history of nations and races, that inequality, misery, hunger and sickness are due to the neglect and heedless disregard of Life's fundamental law -- Interdependence. It teaches that the great heresy of separateness predominant in the western world is the cause of the sufferings of humanity and the result of the ignorance of the masses regarding the meaning of life.

So long as people persist in living for themselves alone, without thought of the well-being of their fellow-men, so long will the evils which haunt man continue. Reforms which are instituted with a view to eliminating these effects without regard to true progress, must be only temporary and unavailing. Like the Hydra, the monster of the ancient world, the same evils will reappear under other forms. What is necessary for the people to know, then, is the truth about man's real nature as a Spiritual being. When the universal dissemination of this knowledge is accomplished and humanity commences to apply principles to the problems of life, then, and not till then, will sickness and hunger be forever banished.

Why is it claimed that the cause of all sickness lies on the moral plane? A man may have little or no sense of right and wrong, and still be very healthy. There doesn't seem to be any connection.

(a) In a world in which the chief concern is with wealth, position and power the average man seldom pauses long enough to give thought to the "why and wherefore" of his circumstances. His philosophy, if any, is "get what you can while the getting is good." He is blind, therefore, to the fact that the higher parts of his nature are suffering from lack of nourishment. As a flower suffers from lack of water so does the spiritual man suffer from lack of recognition and understanding. His thoughts and acts rarely receive consideration from the moral point of view, and his resulting conception of life is limited to physical existence. He doesn't realize that there is a universal law of harmony which unerringly restores all disturbance to equilibrium, which is alone responsible for all the fortune and misfortune, the happiness and sorrow of each one. Applied to man's moral life, this Law, called Karma in Theosophy, is the law of ethical causation, of justice, reward and punishment -- the exact reaction of the moral value of every thought and act. No act can be performed without a thought at its root, either at the time of performance or as leading to it.

If "as a person thinketh, so he becomes," it is apparent that one who has lived many lifetimes of selfishness and greed gradually causes his moral nature to atrophy, to become inactive. Such tendencies are lodged in that part of man called Manas --the Mind, and there remain as subtle but powerful links with magnetic threads that enmesh the solar system, and through which various effects are brought out. To each embodiment man brings several kinds of Karma, all combining to form the basis of his lifetime ahead. His physical Karma may be excellent, but his mental and moral Karma, due to debasements of the past, just the opposite. Hence his moral perceptions, his knowledge of right and wrong, cannot be clear. But he has every chance to correct himself. The ancient truths say that Man alone is the maker and fashioner of his destiny, the only one who can set in motion the causes of his future happiness and misery, of health, physical, mental or moral.

(b) There are three fields of Karmic operation and in each one a different class of Karma may be operating. So, we can see that an ego inhabiting a diseased body may have a fine mind, and in like manner a healthy body may be accompanied by a distorted moral nature. It may take lives for such inner discord to reach the physical plane. On this subject Mr. Judge wrote:

"As Patanjali put it ages ago, in mind lie planted all seeds with self-reproductive power inherent in them, only waiting for time and circumstances to sprout again. Here are the causes for our diseases. Products of thought truly, but thought long finished and now transformed into cause beyond our present thought. Lying like tigers by the edge of the jungle's pool ready to spring when the hour arrives, they may come forward accompanied by counteractions due to other causes, or they may come alone."
We fail to connect physical disease with moral causes because of the complex relationship of Karmic cycles existing in our own nature. Thus, a man of defective moral nature may be storing up for himself a painful future in lives to come -- effects which at present can find no field of precipitation:
"In the life of worlds, races, nations, and individuals, Karma cannot act unless there is an appropriate instrument provided for its action."
If a man has an increment of good physical Karma to work out, his health will continue to be good until such Karma is exhausted; this done, there then may or may not exist the proper conditions for the "seeds" mentioned in the above quotation to "sprout" in the form of sickness. It is suggested that the questioner study Mr. Judge's Aphorisms on Karma, as this question involves innumerable modifying factors to be considered. This is illustrated by Aphorism 17:
"The appropriateness of an instrument for the operation of Karma consists in the exact connection and relation of the Karma with the body, mind, intellectual and psychical nature acquired for use by the Ego in any life."
As to the ultimate cause of sickness being moral, we have only to look at the animal kingdom for proof that this is so. Animals have no moral nature, and when left alone by human beings they are never sick. In itself health is but a condition of harmony on the physical plane. Matter, left to itself, exists in a state of complete harmony. The same is true of Spirit. Hence purely spiritual beings can no more suffer disharmony than their opposites. These two phases of the One Life are illustrated by H. P. Blavatsky in the centripetal and centrifugal forces in nature. With the incarnation of Man the third factor, Mind, brings them into effective interrelation, producing the vortex we call the moral nature. It is the region and principle of Choice.

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