Science and Human Nature

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SCIENCE AND HUMAN NATURE


  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.

Shankaracharya


 Madmen are they, who, speculating but upon the present, wilfully shut their eyes to the past when made already to remain naturally blind to the future! . . . The inexorable shadow which follows all human innovations moves on, yet few are they who are ever conscious of its approach and dangers. What are then to expect they who would offer the world an innovation which, owing to human ignorance, if believed in, will surely be attributed to those dark agencies the two-thirds of humanity believe in and dread as yet? You say - half London would be converted if you could deliver them a Pioneer on its day of publication. I beg to say that if the people believed the thing true they would kill you before you could make the round of Hyde Park; if it were not believed true, the least that could happen would be the loss of your reputation and good name - for propagating such ideas.

 The success of an attempt of such a kind as the one you propose must be calculated and based upon a thorough knowledge of the people around you. It depends entirely upon the social and moral conditions of the people in their bearing on these deepest and most mysterious questions which can stir the human mind - the deific powers in man and the possibilities contained in Nature. How many, even of your best friends, of those who surround you, who are more than superficially interested in these abstruse problems? You could count them upon the fingers of your right hand. Your race boasts of having liberated in their century the genius so long imprisoned in the narrow vase of dogmatism and intolerance - the genius of knowledge, wisdom and free thought. It says that in their turn ignorant prejudice and religious bigotry, bottled up like the wicked Jin of old, and sealed up by the Solomons of science, rests at the bottom of the sea and can never, escaping to the surface again, reign over the world as it did in days of old; that the public mind is quite free, in short, and ready to accept any demonstrated truth. Aye; but is it verily so, my respected friend? Experimental knowledge does not quite date from 1662, when Bacon, Robert Boyle and the Bishop of Rochester transformed under the royal charter their 'Invisible College' into a Society for the promotion of experimental science.

 Ages before the Royal Society found itself becoming a reality upon the plan of the 'Prophetic Scheme', an innate longing for the hidden, a passionate love for and the study of Nature, had led men in every generation to try and fathom her secrets deeper than their neighbours did. Roma ante Romulum fuit - is an axiom taught to us in your English schools. Abstract enquiries into the most puzzling problems did not arise in the brain of Archimedes as a spontaneous and hitherto untouched subject, but rather as a reflection of prior enquiries in the same direction and by men separated from his days by as long a period - and far longer - than the one which separates you from the great Syracusan. The vril of the 'Coming Race' was the common property of races now extinct. And, as the very existence of those gigantic ancestors of ours is now questioned - though in the Himavats, on the very territory belonging to you we have a cave full of the skeletons of these giants - and their huge frames when found are invariably regarded as isolated freaks of Nature, so the vril or Akash - as we call it - is looked upon as an impossibility, a myth. And, without a thorough knowledge of Akash, its combinations and properties, how can Science hope to account for such phenomena?

 We doubt not but the men of your science are open to conviction; yet facts must be first demonstrated to them, they must first have become their own property, have proved amenable to their own modes of investigation, before you find them ready to admit them as facts. If you but look into the Preface to the "Micrographia" you will find in Hooke's suggestions that the intimate relations of objects were of less account in his eyes than their external operation on the senses - and Newton's fine discoveries found in him their greatest opponent. The modern Hookes are many. Like this learned but ignorant man of old your modern men of science are less anxious to suggest a physical connexion of facts which might unlock for them many an occult force in Nature, than to provide a convenient "classification of scientific experiments"; so that the most essential quality of an hypothesis is not that it should be true but only plausible - in their opinion.

 So far for Science - as much as we know of it. As for human nature in general, it is the same now as it was a million of years ago: prejudice based upon selfishness; a general unwillingness to give up an established order of things for new modes of life and thought - and occult study requires all that and much more; pride and stubborn resistance to Truth if it but upset their previous notions of things - such are the characteristics of your age, and especially of the middle and lower classes. What then would be the results of the most astounding phenomena, supposing we consented to have them produced? However successful, danger would be growing proportionately with success. No choice would soon remain but to go on, ever crescendo, or to fall in this endless struggle with prejudice and ignorance killed by your own weapons. Test after test would be required and would have to be furnished; every subsequent phenomenon expected to be more marvellous than the preceding one. Your daily remark is, that one cannot be expected to believe unless he becomes an eye-witness. Would the lifetime of a man suffice to satisfy the whole world of skeptics? It may be an easy matter to increase the original number of believers at Simla to hundreds and thousands. But what of the hundred of millions of those who could not be made eye-witnesses?

 The ignorant - unable to grapple with the invisible operators - might someday vent their rage on the visible agents at work; the higher and educated classes would go on disbelieving as ever, tearing you to shreds as before. In common with many, you blame us for our great secrecy. Yet we know something of human nature, for the experience of long centuries - aye, ages - has taught us. And we know, that so long as science has anything to learn, and a shadow of religious dogmatism lingers in the hearts of the multitudes, the world's prejudices have to be conquered step by step, not at a rush. As hoary antiquity had more than one Socrates, so the dim Future will give birth to more than one martyr. Enfranchised science contemptuously turned away her face from the Copernican opinion renewing the theories of Aristarchus Samius, who "affirmeth that the earth moveth circularly about her own centre" years before the Church sought to sacrifice Galileo as a holocaust to the Bible.

 The ablest mathematician at the Court of Edward VI - Robert Recorde - was left to starve in jail by his colleagues, who laughed at his Castle of Knowledge, declaring his discoveries "vain phantasies". Wm. Gilbert of Colchester - Queen Elisabeth's physician - died poisoned, only because this real founder of experimental science in England has had the audacity of anticipating Galileo; of pointing out Copernicus' fallacy as the "third movement", which was gravely alleged to account for the parallelism of the earth's axis of rotation! The enormous learning of the Paracelsi, of the Agrippas and Dees was ever doubted. It was science which laid her sacrilegious hand upon the great work "De Magnete", "The Heavenly White Virgin" (Akash) and others. And it was the illustrious "Chancellor of England and of Nature" - Lord Verulam-Bacon - who, having won the name of the Father of Inductive Philosophy, permitted himself to speak of such men as the above named as the "Alchemicians of the Fantastic Philosophy".

 All this is old history, you will think. Verily so; but the chronicles of our modern days do not differ very essentially from their predecessors. And we have but to bear in mind the recent persecutions of mediums in England, the burning of supposed witches and sorcerers in South America, Russia and the frontiers of Spain - to assure ourselves that the only salvation of the genuine proficients in occult sciences lies in the skepticism of the public: the charlatans and the jugglers are the natural shields of the 'adepts'. The public safety is only ensured by our keeping secret the terrible weapons which might otherwise be used against it, and which, as you have been told, became deadly in the hands of the wicked and selfish.

 I conclude by reminding you that such phenomena as you crave have ever been reserved as a reward for those who have devoted their lives to serve the goddess Saraswati - our Aryan Isis. Were they given to the profane what would remain for our faithful ones? Many of your suggestions are highly reasonable and will be attended to. I listened attentively to the conversation which took place at Mr. Hume's. His arguments are perfect from the stand-point of exoteric wisdom. But, when the time comes and he is allowed to have a full glimpse into the world of esotericism, with its laws based upon mathematically correct calculations of the future - the necessary results of the causes which we are always at liberty to create and shape at our will but are as unable to control their consequences which thus become our masters - then only will both you and he understand why to the uninitiated our acts must seem often unwise, if not actually foolish. . . .

 In regard to the production of newly devised and still more startling phenomena demanded of her with our help, as a man well acquainted with strategy you must remain satisfied with the reflection that there is little use in acquiring new positions until those that you have already reached are secured, and your Enemies fully aware of your right to their possession. In other words, you had a greater variety of phenomena produced for yourself and friends than many a regular neophyte has seen in several years. . . . Several cases combining to fortify your position as truthful and intelligent witness to the various occurrences, each of these gives you an additional right to assert what you know. It imposes upon you the sacred duty to instruct the public and prepare them for future possibilities by gradually opening their eyes to the truth. The opportunity should not be lost through a lack of as great confidence in your own individual right of assertion as that of Sir Donald Stewart. One witness of well-known character outweighs the evidence of ten strangers. . . .

 TRY - and first work upon the material you have and then we will be the first to help you to get further evidence. Until then, believe me, always your sincere friend,

Simla, circa October 15, 1880

Mahatma K.H.