Arcane Knowledge

by Mahatma K.H.


  The great and peaceful ones live regenerating the world like the coming of the spring; having crossed the ocean of embodied existence themselves, they freely aid all others who seek to cross it. The very essence and inherent will of Mahatmas is to remove the suffering of others, just as the ambrosia-rayed moon of itself cools the earth heated by the intense rays of the sun.


  Only the progress one makes in the study of Arcane knowledge from its rudimental elements, brings him gradually to understand our meaning. Only thus, and not otherwise, does it, strengthening and refining those mysterious links of sympathy between intelligent men – the temporarily isolated fragments of the universal Soul and the cosmic Soul itself – bring them into full rapport. Once this established, then only will these awakened sympathies serve, indeed, to connect MAN with – what for the want of a European scientific word more competent to express the idea, I am again compelled to describe as that energetic chain which binds together the material and Immaterial Kosmos – Past, Present, and Future – and quicken his perceptions so as to clearly grasp, not merely all things of matter, but of Spirit also. I feel even irritated at having to use these three clumsy words – past, present and future! Miserable concepts of the objective phases of the Subjective Whole, they are about as ill adapted for the purpose as an axe for fine carving . . . .

  Such is unfortunately the inherited and self-acquired grossness of the Western mind; and so greatly have the very phrases expressive of modern thoughts been developed in the line of practical materialism, that it is now next to impossible either for them to comprehend or for us to express in their own languages anything of that delicate seemingly ideal machinery of the Occult Kosmos. To some little extent that faculty can be acquired by the Europeans through study and meditation but – that's all. And here is the bar which has hitherto prevented a conviction of the theosophical truths from gaining wider currency among Western Nations; caused theosophical study to be cast aside as useless and fantastic by Western philosophers. How shall I teach you to read and write or even comprehend a language of which no alphabet palpable, or words audible to you have yet been invented! How could the phenomena of our modern electrical science be explained to – say, a Greek philosopher of the days of Ptolemy were he suddenly recalled to life – with such an unbridged hiatus in discovery as would exist between his and our age? Would not the very technical terms be to him an unintelligible jargon, an abracadabra of meaningless sounds, and the very instruments and apparatuses used, but "miraculous" monstrosities? . . .

  So you see, the insurmountable difficulties in the way of attaining not only Absolute but even primary knowledge in Occult Science, for one situated as you are. How could you make yourself understood – command in fact, those semi-intelligent Forces, whose means of communicating with us are not through spoken words but through sounds and colours, in correlations between the vibrations of the two? For sound, light and colours are the main factors in forming these grades of Intelligences, these beings, of whose very existence you have no conception, nor are you allowed to believe in them – Atheists and Christians, materialists and Spiritualists, all bringing forward their respective arguments against such a belief – Science objecting stronger than either of these to such a "degrading superstition"! . . . Do not forget the words I once wrote to you of those who engage themselves in the occult sciences; he who does it "must either reach the goal or perish. Once fairly started on the way to the great Knowledge, to doubt is to risk insanity; to come to a dead stop is to fall; to recede is to tumble backward, headlong into an abyss." . . .

  While the facilities of observation secured to some of us by our condition certainly give a greater breadth of view, a more pronounced and impartial, as a more widely spread humaneness – for answering Addison, we might justly maintain that it is . . . "the business of 'magic' to humanise our natures with compassion" for the whole mankind as all living beings, instead of concentrating and limiting our affections to one predilected race – yet few of us (except such as have attained the final negation of Moksha) can so far enfranchise ourselves from the influence of our earthly connection as to be insusceptible in various degrees to the higher pleasures, emotions, and interests of the common run of humanity. Until final emancipation reabsorbs the Ego, it must be conscious of the purest sympathies called out by the esthetic effects of high art, its tenderest cords respond to the call of the holier and nobler human attachments. Of course, the greater the progress towards deliverance, the less this will be the case, until, to crown all, human and purely individual personal feelings – blood-ties and friendship, patriotism and race predilection – all will give away, to become blended into one universal feeling, the only true and holy, the only unselfish and Eternal one – Love, an Immense Love for humanity – as a Whole! For it is "Humanity" which is the great Orphan, the only disinherited one upon this earth, my friend. And it is the duty of every man who is capable of an unselfish impulse, to do something, however little, for its welfare. Poor, poor humanity! It reminds me of the old fable of the war between the Body and its members: here too, each limb of this huge "Orphan" – fatherless and motherless – selfishly cares but for itself. The body uncared for suffers eternally, whether the limbs are at war or at rest. Its suffering and agony never cease. . . . And who can blame it – as your materialistic philosophers do – if, in this everlasting isolation and neglect it has evolved gods, unto whom "it ever cries for help but is not heard!" . . . Thus –

Since there is hope for man only in man

I would not let one cry whom I could save! . . .

  Theosophy is no new candidate for the world's attention, but only the restatement of principles which have been recognised from the very infancy of mankind. The historic sequence ought to be succinctly yet graphically traced through the successive evolutions of philosophical schools, and illustrated with accounts of the experimental demonstrations of occult power ascribed to various thaumaturgists. The alternate breakings-out and subsidences of mystical phenomena, as well as their shiftings from one centre to another of population, show the conflicting play of the opposing forces of spirituality and animalism. And lastly it will appear that the present tidal-wave of phenomena, with its varied effects upon human thought and feeling, made the revival of Theosophical enquiry an indispensable necessity. The only problem to solve is the practical one, of how best to promote the necessary study, and give to the spiritualistic movement a needed upward impulse. It is a good beginning to make the inherent capabilities of the inner, living man better comprehended. . . . Unity always gives strength: and since Occultism in our days resembles a "Forlorn Hope," union and co-operation are indispensable. Union does indeed imply a concentration of vital and magnetic force against the hostile currents of prejudice and fanaticism.

February 1881


  It is he alone who has the love of humanity at heart, who is capable of grasping thoroughly the idea of a regenerating practical Brotherhood who is entitled to the possession of our secrets. He alone, such a man – will never misuse his powers, as there will be no fear that he should turn them to selfish ends. A man who places not the good of mankind above his own good is not worthy of becoming our chela – he is not worthy of becoming higher in knowledge than his neighbour. If he craves for phenomena let him be satisfied with the pranks of spiritualism. Such is the real state of things. There was a time, when from sea to sea, from the mountains and deserts of the north to the grand woods and downs of Ceylon, there was but one faith, one rallying cry – to save humanity from the miseries of ignorance in the name of Him who taught first the solidarity of all men . . . . The world has clouded the light of true knowledge, and selfishness will not allow its resurrection, for it excludes and will not recognise the whole fellowship of all those who were born under the same immutable natural law.