|rosanista.tripod.com||Simplified Scientific Christianity|
The lectures here presented in book form were first written in twenty lectures and delivered during the month of November, 1908, in Columbus, Ohio, by Max Heindel. He also mimeographed them and distributed copies to all who attended his lectures in that city, and in other cities. After his lectures in Seattle, Washington, a friend, Mr. William M. Patterson, traveled with him to Chicago, Illinois, where he not only financed the publishing, but also assisted Mr. Heindel in proofreading both The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception and these Twenty Lectures. The latter were then printed in paper-covered pamphlets while the Cosmo-Conception was bound in cloth.
Max Heindel had spent the winter of 1907-1908 in Europe where he contacted the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order under whose tuition he received the contents of these lectures as well as the wonderful truths contained in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. At the time he received this instruction he little realized the extent of the work given into his keeping with the command to disseminate the teachings to a soul-sick world.
Since the introduction of the Rosicrucian Philosophy and the opening of a World Headquarters in Oceanside, California, in 1911, books and pamphlets by Max Heindel have been translated and printed in many languages. People from far and wide are calling for and becoming interested in these advanced Christian teachings, which are leading mankind back to the Bible and bringing to their understanding the satisfying truths contained in the Christian religion through the explanation of the mysteries hidden in the Bible.
This book of lectures gives in a very simple manner the truths of man's own being, explaining the why and wherefore of mysteries which have driven millions of souls to materialism and caused them to repudiate the Bible.
The spiritual value of Astrology as a key to the soul is brought out in one lecture; in another the Astronomical Allegories of the Bible are clearly defined. The esoteric value of the Lord's Prayer and the meaning of the Star of Bethlehem are clearly interpreted for the reader; also the Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus and its esoteric significance. Life Here and Hereafter, the Angels and their Work with Man, Parsifal and the Mysteries of the Holy Grail, the Science of Nutrition and Protracted Youth, and many other subjects are covered in an authentic manner by a Seer who was the chosen messenger of those great ones, the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order.
—Mrs. Max Heindel, October, 1939
Table of Contents
Note: These diagrams were taken from The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, by Max Heindel, and in some instances are numbered as in that book.
The Riddle of Life and Death
At every birth, what appears to be a new live comes into the world. Slowly the little form grows, it lives and moves among us, it becomes a factor in our lives; but at last there comers a time when the form ceases to move and decays. The love that came, whence we know not, has again passed to the invisible beyond. Then, in sorrow and perplexity we ask ourselves the three great questions concerning our existence: Whence have we come? Why are we here? Whither are we going?
Across every threshold the fearsome specter of Death throws his shadow. It visits alike the palace and the poorhouse. None are safe: old or young, well or ill, rich or poor. All alike must pass through this gloomy portal, and down the ages has sounded the piteous cry for a solution of the riddle of life, the riddle of death.
Unfortunately there has been much vague speculation by people who did not know, and it has therefore come to be the popularly accepted opinion that nothing definite can be known about the most important part of our existence: Life prior to its manifestation through the gate of birth and beyond the portal of death.
That idea is erroneous. Definite firsthand knowledge may be had by anyone who will take the trouble to cultivate the "sixth sense" which is latent in all. When it is acquired it opens our spiritual eves so that we perceive the Spirits who are about to enter physical live by birth, and those who have just re-entered the beyond after death. We see them as clearly and definitely as we cognize physical beings by our ordinary sight. Nor is firsthand information about the inner worlds indispensable to satisfy the inquiring mind any more than it is necessary to visit China to learn about conditions there. We learn about foreign countries through the reports of returned travelers There is as much knowledge concerning the world beyond as about the interior or Africa, Australia, or China.
The solution of the problem of Life and Being advocated in the following pages is based upon the concurrent testimony of many who have cultivated the above-mentioned faculty and are qualified to investigate the superphysical realms in a scientific manner. It is in harmony with scientific facts, an eternal truth in Nature which governs human progress, as the law of gravity serves to keep the stars unchangeably in their orbits about the Sun.
Three theories have been brought forward to solve the riddle of life and death, and it seems to be universally agreed that a fourth is an impossible conception. If so, one of the three theories must be the true solution, or it remains insoluble; at least by man.
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The riddle of life and death is a basic problem; everyone must solve it at some time, and it is of the utmost importance to each individual human being which of these theories he accepts; for his choice will color his whole life. In order that we may make an intelligent choice, it is necessary to know them all, to analyze, compare, and weigh them, holding the mind open and free from the bias of preconceived ideas, ready to accept or reject each theory upon its merits. Let us first state the three theories and then let us see how they agree with established facts of life and how far they are in harmony with other known laws of Nature, as we should reasonably expect them to be, if true, for discord in Nature is impossible.
1. The Materialistic Theory holds that life is a journey form the womb to the tomb; that mind is the product of matter; that man is the highest intelligence in the cosmos; and that intelligence perishes when the body dissolves at death.
2. The Theory of Theology asserts that at each birth a newly-created soul enters the arena of life fresh from God; that at the end of one short span of life in the material world it passes through the gate of death into invisible beyond, there to remain; and that its happiness or misery there is determined for all eternity by its belief just prior to death.
3. The Theory of Rebirth teaches that each Spirit is an integral part of God; that if enfolds the plant; that by means of repeated existences in a gradually improving earthly body those latent powers are being slowly unfolded into dynamic energy; that none are lost, but that all Egos will ultimately attain the goal of perfection and reunion with God, bringing with them the cumulative experience which is the fruitage of their pilgrimage through matter.
Comparing the materialistic theory with the known laws of Nature, we find that it is contrary to such well-established laws as those which declare matter and force indestructible. According to those laws mind cannot be destroyed at death as the materialistic theory asserts, for when nothing can be destroyed mind must be included.
Moreover, mind evidently is superior to matter, for it molds the face so that it mirrors the mind; also, we know that the particles of our bodies are constantly changing; that an entire change takes place at least once in seven years. If the materialistic theory were true, our consciousness ought also to undergo an entire change, with no memory of what preceded; so that now one could remember an event more than seven years.
We know that is not the case. We remember our whole life; the smallest incident, though forgotten in ordinary life, is vividly remembered by a drowning person; also in the trance state. Materialism takes no account of these states of subconsciousness or superconsciousness; it cannot explain them, so it ignores them, but in the face of scientific investigations which have established the verity of psychic phenomena beyond cavil, the policy of ignoring rather than disproving these alleged facts is a fatal defect in a theory which lays claim to solve the greatest problem of life: Life itself.
The materialistic theory has many more defects which render it unworthy of our acceptance; but sufficient has been said to justify us in casting it aside and turning to the other two.
One of the greatest difficulties in the doctrine of the theologians is its entire and confessed inadequacy. According to their theory that a new soul is created at each birth, myriads of souls have been created since the beginning of existence (even if that beginning goes back only 6,000 years). According to certain sects, only 144,000 are to be saved; the rest are to be tortured forever. And that is called "God's plan of salvation"; extolled as proof of God's wonderful love.
Let us suppose a wireless message is received at New York, stating that a large transatlantic liner is sinking just outside Sandy Hook; that 3,000 people are in danger of drowning. Would we hail it as a glorious plan of salvation of a small, fast motorboat were sent to their relief, and succeeded in rescuing two or three people? Certainly not. Only when some adequate means was provided to save the great majority at least would it be hailed as a plan of salvation."
The "plan of salvation" which the theologians are offering is worse than sending a motorboat to save the people on Atlantic liner, for two or three are a larger proportion saved out of a total of 3,000 than 144,000 of all the myriads of souls created on the plan of theology. If God had really evolved that plan, it would seem to the logical mind that He cannot be good. If He cannot help Himself, He is not all-powerful. In neither case can He therefore be God. Such suppositions are, however, unthinkable as actualities, for that cannot be God's plan, and it is a gross libel to attribute it to Him.
If we turn to the doctrine of reincarnation (rebirth in human bodies) which postulates a slow process of development carried on with unwavering persistence through repeated embodiment in human forms of increasing efficiency, whereby all beings are in time brought to a height of spirituality inconceivable to our present limed understanding, we can readily perceive its harmony with nature's methods. Everywhere in nature is found this slow and persistent striving for perfection; and nowhere is found a sudden process of either creation or destruction analogous to the plan which the theologians and materialists would have us believe.
Science recognizes the process of evolution as Nature's method of developement alike for the star and the starfish, the microbe and the man. It is the progression of spirit in time, and as we look about and note evolution in our three-dimensional universe, we cannot escape the obvious fact that its path is also three-dimensional, a spiral; each loop of the spiral is a cycle, and cycle follows cycle in unbroken progression, as the loops of the spiral succeed each other, each cycle being the improved product of the preceding and the basis of progress in the succeeding cycles.
A straight line is but the extension of a point, and analogous to the theories of the materialistic and the theologians. The materialistic line of existence goes from birth to death the theologian commences the lines at a point just previous to birth and carries it into the invisible beyond at death.
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There is no return. Existence thus lived would extract but a minimum of the experience from the school of life, such as might be had by one-dimensional beings incapable of broadening out or rising to sublime heights of attainment.
A two-dimensional zigzag path for the evolving life would be no better, a circle would mean a never-ending round of the same experiences. Everything in Nature has a purpose, the third dimension included. In order that we may live up to the opportunities of a three dimensional universe, the path of evolution must be a spiral. So it is. Everywhere in heaven and on earth all things are going onward, upward forever.
The modest little plant in the garden and the giant redwood of California with its forty-foot diameter alike show the spiral in the arrangement of their branches, twigs, and leaves. If we study the great vaulted arch of heaven and examine the spiral nebulae, which are worlds in the making, or the path of the solar systems, the spiral is evidently the way of progression.
We find another illustration of spiral progression in the yearly course of our planet. In the spring she emerges from her period of rest, her wintry sleep. We see the life budding everywhere. All the activities of Nature are exerted to bring forth. Time passes; the corn and the grape are ripened and harvested, and again the silence and inactivity of winter take the place of the activity of the summer; again the snowy coverlet wraps the Earth. But she will not sleep forever; she will wake again to the song of a new spring, and will then be a little farther progressed along the pathway of time.
Is it possible that a law, universal in all other realms of Nature, should be abrogated in the case of man? Shall the Earth wake each year form its wintery slumber; shall the tree and the flower live again, and man die? No, that is impossible in a universe governed by immutable law. The same law that wakes the life in the plant to new growth must wake the human being to further progress toward the goal of perfection. Therefore the doctrine of rebirth, or repeated human embodiment in gradually improving vehicles, is in perfect accord with evolution and the phenomena of Nature, when it states that birth and death follow each other in succession. It is in full harmony with the Law of Alternation Cycles which decrees that activity and rest, ebb and flood, summer and winter, must follow each other in unbroken sequence. It is also in perfect accord with the spiral phase of the Law of Evolution when it states that each time the Spirit returns to a new birth it takes on a better body, and as man progresses in mental, moral, and spiritual attainment in consequence of the accumulated experiences of past lives he comes into an improved environment.
When we seek to solve the riddle of life and death; to find an answer that shall satisfy both head and heart as to the difference in the endowment of human beings, and give a reason for the existence of sorrow and pain; when we ask why one is reared in the lap of luxury while another receives more kicks than crusts; why one obtains a moral education, but another is taught to steal and lie; why one has the face and figure of a Venus, while another has the head of a Medusa; why one has perfect health and another never knows a moment's rest form pain; why one has the intellect of a Socrates, and another can only count "one, two, many," as do the Australian aborigines, we receive no satisfaction from the materialist or the theologian. Materialism gives the law of heredity as the reason for sickness, and in regard to economic conditions a Spencer tells us that in the animal world the law of existence is "eat, or be eaten"; in civilized society it is "cheat, or be cheated."
Heredity accounts partly for the physical constitution. Like begets like, so for as the form is concerned, but heredity does not account for the moral proclivities and mental trend, which differ in each human being. Heredity is a fact in the lower kingdoms where all the animals of a certain species look nearly alike, eat the same kind of food, and act similarly in similar circumstances, because they have no individual will, but are dominated by a common Group Spirit. In the human kingdom it is different. Each man acts differently form others. Each requires a different diet. As the years of infancy and youth pass the indwelling Ego molds its instrument so that it reflects itself in the features. Thus no two look exactly alike. Even twins who could not be distinguished in childhood grow to look different as the features of each express the thought of the Ego within.
On the moral plane a like condition prevails. Police records show that though the children of habitual criminals generally possess criminal tendencies, they invariably keep out of the courts, and in the "rogues' galleries" of Europe and America it is impossible to find both father and son. Thus criminals are the sons of honest people, and so heredity is unable to account for moral proclivities.
When we come to a consideration of the higher intellectual and artistic faculties we find that the children of a genius are mediocre and often even idiots. Cuvier's brain was the greatest brain ever weighed and analyzed by science. His five children died of paresis. The brother of Alexander the Great was an idiot, and so cases could be cited ad lib. to show that heredity only partially accounts for similarity of Form, and not at all for mental and moral conditions. The Law of Attraction, which causes musicians to congregate in concert halls, and brings about meetings of literary people because of similarity of tastes; and the Law of Consequence, which draws one who has developed criminal tendencies into association with criminals, that he may learn to do good by beholding the trouble incident to wrong-doing, account more logically than heredity for the facts of associations and character.
The theologian explains that all conditions are made by the will of God, who in His inscrutable wisdom has seen fit to make some rich and poor; some clever and others dull, etc.; that He sends trouble and trials to all, much to the many and little to a favored few, and they say we must accept our lot without murmur. But it is hard to look with love to the skies when one realizes that thence, according to divine caprice, comes all our misery, be it little or much, and the benevolent human mind revolts at the thought of a father who lavishes love, comfort, and luxury upon a few, and sends sorrow, suffering, and misery to millions. Surely there must be another solution to the problems of life than this. Is it not more reasonable to think that the theologians may have misinterpreted the Bible than to saddle such monstrous conduct upon God?
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The Law of Rebirth offers a reasonable solution to all the inequalities of life, its sorrow and pains, when coupled with its companion law—the Law of Consequence—besides showing the road to emancipation.
The Law of Consequence is Nature's law of justice. It decrees that whatever a man sows, he reaps. What we are, what we have, all our good qualities are the result of our labor in the past, thence our talents. What we lack in physical, moral, or mental accomplishments is due to neglect of opportunities in the past or to lack of them, but sometime, somewhere, we shall have other chances, and retrieve the loss. As to our obligations to others or their debts to us, the Law of Consequence also takes care of that. What cannot be liquidated in one life holds over to future lives. Death does not cancel our obligations any more than moving to another city pays our debts here. The Law of Rebirth provides a new environment, but in it are our old friends, and our old enemies. We know them, too, for when we meet a person for the first time, yet feel as if we had known him all our lives, that is but the recognition of the Ego who pierces the veil of flesh and recognizes an old friend. When we meet a person who at once inspires us with fear or repugnance, it is again a message from the Ego, warning us of our old-time enemy.
The esoteric teaching regarding life, which bases its solution upon the twin Laws of Consequence and Rebirth, is simply that the world about us is a school of experience; that even as we send a child to school day after day and year after year in order that it may learn more and more as it advances through the different grades from kindergarten to college, so the Ego in man, as a child of the Father, goes to the school of life, day after day. But in that larger life of the Ego, each day at school is a life on earth and the night which intervenes between two days at the child's school corresponds to the sleep of death in the larger life of the human Ego (the Spirit in man).
In a school there are many grades. The older children who have attended school many times have very different lessons from the tots in the kindergarten. So in the school of life, those in high positions, endowed with great faculties, are our Elder Brothers, and the savages are but entering the lowest class. What they are we have been, and all will in time reach a point where they will be wiser than the wisest we know. Nor should it surprise the philosopher that the powerful crush the weak; the elder children are cruel to their younger brothers at a certain stage of their growth because they have not at that time evolved the true sense of right, but as they grow they learn to protect weakness. So will the children of the larger life. Altruism is flowering more and more everywhere, and the day will come when all men will be as good and benevolent as are the greatest saints.
There is but one sin—Ignorance; and but one salvation—Applied Knowledge. All sorrow, suffering and pain are traceable to ignorance of how to act, and the school of life is as necessary to bring out our latent capabilities as is the daily school which evokes those of the child.
When we realize that this is so, life will at once take on an altogether different aspect. It does not matter then what the conditions are in which we find ourselves, the knowledge the we have made them helps us to bear them in patience; and, best of all, the glorious feeling that we are masters of our destiny and can make the future what we will, is of itself a power. It rests with us to develop what we lack. Of course we still have the past to reckon with, and perhaps much misfortune may yet accrue from wrong deeds, but if we will cease to do evil we may look with joy to every affliction as liquidating an old score and bringing the day nearer when we shall have a clear record. It is no valid objection, that often the most upright suffer the greatest. The great intelligences who apportion to each man the amount of his past score which is to be liquidated in each life always help the man who pays the debts of his past without adding new delinquencies, by giving him as much as he can bear, to hasten the day of emancipation; and in that sense it is strictly true that "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth."
The doctrine of rebirth is sometimes confounded with the theory of transmigration, which teaches that a human soul may incarnate in an animal. That has no foundation in Nature. Each species of animal is the emanation from a Group Spirit, which governs them from the outside, by suggestion. It functions in the Desire World; and as distance does not exist there, it can thus influence its members, not matter where located. The human Spirit, the Ego, on the other hand, enters right into a dense body; there is an individual Spirit in each person, dwelling in its instrument and guiding it from within. These are two entirely different stages of evolution, and it is as impossible for man to incarnate in a animal in an animal body as for a Group Spirit to take human shape.
The question, "Why do we not remember our past existences?" is another apparent difficulty. But if we realize that we have an entirely new brain at each birth, and that the human Spirit is weak and engrossed in its new environment, so that if fails to make a full impression on the brain in the days of childhood, when it is most sensitive, it is not so surprising after all. Some children do remember the past, especially in the earliest years, and it is one of the most pathetic phases of childhood that they are so thoroughly misunderstood by their elders. When they speak of the past, they are ridiculed, and even punished for being "imaginary." If children speak of their invisible playmates, and of "seeing things," for many children are clairvoyant, they met the same harsh treatment, and the inevitable result is that the little ones learn to keep still until they lose the faculty. Sometimes it happens, however, that the prattle of a child is listened to and results in some wonderful revelations. The writer heard of such a case a few years ago on the Pacific Coast.
A little child in Santa Barbara ran up to a gentleman by the name of Roberts on the street and called him papa, resisting that she had lived with him and another mama in a little house by a brook, and that one morning he had left the cabin and never returned. She and her mother had both died of starvation and the little one finished quaintly, "But I didn't die; I came here." The story was not told at once, or succinctly, but in the course of an afternoon, by intermittent questioning it came out. Mr Roberts' story of an early elopement, marriage and emigration from England to Australia, of the building of a cabin by a stream with no other houses near, of leaving his wife and baby, of being arrested, denied permission to notify his wife because the officers feared a trap, of being driven to the coast at the point of a gun, of being taken to England and tried for a bank robbery committed the night he sailed for Australia, of proving his innocence; of how only then notice was taken of his persistent ravings about a wife and child who must starve to death, of the telegram sent, the search party organized and the answer that they had found but the skeletons of a woman and a child. All these things corroborated the story of the little three-year-old tot; and being shown some photographs in a casual way, she picked out the pictures of Mr. Roberts and his wife, though Mr. Roberts had altered much in the eighteen years which intervened between the tragedy and the Santa Barbara incident.
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It must not be supposed, however, that all who pass through the gate of death reenter as quickly as that. Such a short interim would give the Ego no chance to do the important work of assimilating experiences and preparation for a new Earth-life. But a three year old child has had no experience to speak of, so it seeks a new embodiment quickly, often incarnation in the same family as before. Children often die because a change in the parents' habits has frustrated the working out of their past acts. It is then necessary to seek another chance, or they are born and die to teach the parents a needed lesson. In one case an Ego incarnated eight times in the same family for that purpose before the lesson was learned. Then it incarnated elsewhere. It was a friend of the family who acquired great merit by thus helping them.
The Law of Rebirth, where it is not modified by the Law of Consequence to such an extent as in the above cases, works according to the movement of the Sun known as the precession of the equinoxes, by which the Sun goes backward through the twelve signs of the zodiac in the so-called sidereal or world-year comprising 25,868 of our ordinary solar years.
As the passage of the Earth in her orbit around the Sun makes the climatic changes which alter our conditions according to seasons and change our our activities, so the passage of the Sun through the great world-year makes still greater changes in climate and topographical conditions, in respect to civilization, and it is necessary that the Ego should learn to cope with it all.
Therefore the Ego incarnates twice in the time it takes the Sun to go through each one of the signs of the zodiac, which is about 2,100 years. There are thus normally about 1,000 years between two incarnations and, while the experiences of a man are widely different from those of a woman, the conditions are not materially different in a thousand years, so the Spirit usually incarnates alternately as a man and a woman. But that is not a hard and fast rule; it is subject to modification when such is required by the Law of Consequence.
Thus esoteric science resolves the riddle of life into the Ego's quest for experience, all conditions having that purpose in view, and all being automatically determined by desert; it robs death of its terror and its sting, by placing it where it belongs, as an incident in a larger life, similar to the removal to another city for a time; it makes the parting from loved ones easier by assuring us that the very love we feel will be the means of re-uniting us, and it gives us the grandest hope in life that some day we shall all obtain the knowledge which illumines all problems, links all our lives, and best of all, as taught by esoteric science ,we have it in our own power, by application, to hasten that glorious day when faith shall be swallowed up in knowledge. Then we shall realize in a higher sense the beauty of Sir Edwin Arnold's poetic statement of the doctrine of rebirth:
Where Are the Dead?
A little thought will soon make it apparent to any investigator that we live in a world of effect which is the result of invisible causes. Matter and form we see, but the force which molds the matter into form and quickens it is invisible to us. Life can not be cognized directly by the senses; it is invisible and self-existent, independent of the varied forms we see as its manifestations.
Electricity, magnetism, and steam are names given to forces never seen with physical eyes, though, by conforming to certain laws discovered by experiment, we have made them our most valuable servants. We see their manifestations in moving streetcars, in railways and steamships; they light our path at night and carry our message around he globe with a speed that annihilate space, bringing the antipodes to our very doors in seconds of time. They are at our beck and call at any and all hours, tireless and faithful in the performance of innumerable tasks, yet, as said, we have never seen these, our most faithful and valuable servants.
These Nature Forces are neither blind nor unintelligent as we mistakenly think; there are many classes of them and they work along different avenues of life. Perhaps an illustration will make clear their status in relation to us. Let us suppose a carpenter is making a fence and a dog is standing by watching him. The dog sees both the carpenter and his work, though it does not fully comprehend what he is doing. If the carpenter were invisible to the dog it would see the fence being slowly built, it would see every nail driven, it would perceive the manifestation but not the cause, and it would then be in the some relation to the carpenter as we are to the Nature Forces which manifest about us as gravity, electricity, and magnetism.
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During the past few centuries, but particularly in the last sixty years, science has made giant strides in the investigation of the world in which we live, and the result has been to reveal in all directions a hitherto invisible world. With telescopes of increasing power the astronomers have been reaching out into space, discovering more and more worlds; with admirable ingenuity they have attached the camera to the telescope, and have thus been able to photograph suns at such enormous distances from us that their rays make no impression on our eyes, and can only be caught by hours of exposure of a sensitize photographic plate.
In the direction of the minutely small, the increasing perfection of the microscope has achieved similar results; a world that was hitherto invisible to us has been discovered, containing an exceeding activity of life and marked by a diversity of form scarcely less complex than the world we behold through our unaided senses.
The effort of making such investigations through the eyepiece of a microscope is a severe one, causing intense strain on the eyes; but here also the camera lends its aid to man. With proper mechanical attachments and lightning speed it can make permanent records of microscopic phenomena at the rate of perhaps seventy negatives per second. These may then be magnified and projected upon a screen as moving pictures; they may be seen by hundreds of people at the same time in comfort and ease.
We may see how the sap slowly circulates through the veins of a leaf, or watch the way the blood races like a millstream through the semitransparent veins of a frog's leg. Maggots in cheese appear as large as gray crabs meandering hither and thither in search of prey. A drop of water contains many dark colored balls which grow and burst, throwing out numerous tiny globes which in their turn expand and fling out offspring. Dr. Bastian of London has even seen how a little black spot on the spine of a cyclop (of which there are many in a drop of water) developed into a parasite which fed on the cyclop.
By means of the X-ray science has been able to invade the innermost recesses of the dense body of the living human, photographing the skeleton and any foreign substance which may have become located there by accident.
Thus in many directions a hitherto invisible world has presented itself to the gaze of the persistent investigators. Who shall say the end has been reached; that there are no other worlds in space beyond those now photographed by astronomers; no life dwelling in forms more minute than those discovered by the best microscopes of today? Tomorrow an instrument may be designed that will reach beyond all previous devices and show much of what is hidden today. The infinitude of space, of the great and of the small seems to be beyond question and independent of our cognition.
In looking over the marvelous achievements of physical science, there is one characteristic particularly worth while to note; namely, that each new discovery has been made through the invention of new or the improvement of previously existing devices to aid the senses; and for that reason the investigations of science have been limited to the world of sense the dense Physical World. Scientists have dealt with the chemical elements: solids, liquids, and gases; but beyond that they have no instruments capable of reaching, although forced to postulate a still finer matter they call "ether," because without this finer medium they find it impossible to account for light, electricity, etc. Thus we see that physical science inductively recognizes the existence of an invisible world as a necessity in the economy of Nature.
Both physical and esoteric science are therefore agreed on that point and both reach into the invisible world for solutions to problems. They differ as to the method of investigation and the credence to be given evidence thus obtained. Material science seeks only for explanation to problems insoluble on a purely physical basis, such as the passage of light waves through a vacuum or the resemblance of the flowers of the present season to those of past summers. In such cases science readily postulates an invisible, intangible something like ether or heredity and prides itself on its acumen and the ingenuity of its explanations.
Esoteric science asserts that there is an invisible cause at the root of all visible phenomena, which when known will afford a more thorough knowledge of the facts of life than a mechanical concept, and that the most comprehensive idea of life is obtained by the study of both phenomena of the visible and the noumena or underlying causes of the invisible world. It therefore investigates the invisible worlds and offers a more thorough and reasonable solution to the problems of life than mere facts of science derived only through observation of the physical phenomena.
Material science postulates ether and heredity as solutions to the above problems, though unable to offer actual proof of the truth of its hypotheses except their seeming reasonableness. Yet when esoteric science employs similar methods and declares the existence of the Spirit, its immorality, its pre-existence to birth, and persistence after death, its independence of the body, etc., physical science sneers and inconsistently speaks of superstition and ignorance. It demands proof, though the evidence offered is at least as good as the scientific evidence of the existence of ether, heredity, and numerous other ideas advanced by science, implicitly believed in by the multitude that admiringly bows its head in the dust before any dictum supported by the magic word Science.
No one can demonstrate the truth of a proposition in geometry to a person unacquainted with the principles of mathematics. For similar reasons the facts of the inner worlds cannot be proved to the material scientist. If the person devoid of mathematical knowledge studies that science he will be easily satisfied as to the solution of the problem. When the physical scientist has fitted himself for the apprehension of superphysical facts he will have the proof and be compelled to uphold the very theories he now combats as superstition.
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Esoteric science commences its investigations at the point where material science leaves off, at the door to the superphysical realms, mistakenly called supernatural. There is nothing "supernatural" or "unnatural"; nothing whatever can be outside Nature, although it may easily be superphysical, for the Physical World is the smallest part of the Earth. Unlike the material scientist, however, the esoteric scientist does not pursue his investigations by means of mechanical instruments, but by improving himself; by cultivating faculties of perception latent in every human being and capable of being awakened by proper training. The words of Christ, "Seek and ye shall find," were particularly applied to spiritual qualities, and directed to "whosoever will." All depends upon oneself; there is none to hinder and many to help the earnest seeker after knowledge. The discussion of the means and ways are, however, outside the present topic, and must be left for elucidation in future essays. (Nos. 3 and 11.)
"But," someone will say, "what is the use of troubling about an invisible world? We are placed here in this workaday material world; what have we to do with an invisible world? And even though it may be true that we go there after death, why not take one world at a time? 'Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof'; why borrow more?"
Surely such a view is a most shortsighted one. In the first place, a knowledge of the after-death state would take away the fear of death which haunts so many people even while they are in the most vigorous health. In the most careless life there are times when the thought of the leap in the dark which must some time be taken dulls the sense of joy in life; and any explanation offering definite, reliable knowledge upon this important subject surely ought to be eagerly welcomed.
Besides, as we look about us in the world, we see there is one law that must be apparent even to the most callous: the law of causation. Each day our work and condition depend upon what we did or did not do the day before; it is absolutely impossible for us to tear ourselves away from our past; to "start afresh." We cannot perform an act that is not connected in some way with our previous acts, limited and hedged about by former conditions; and it must surely appear as reasonable to suppose that, whatever may be the mode of expression of life in the invisible world, it will be in some way determined by our present mode of life. It would be logical, also, to declare that if reliable information about this invisible world were available it would be wise to prepare oneself with it for the same reason that when we wish to travel in a foreign country we acquaint ourselves with its geography, laws, customs, language, or other necessary information. We do this because we know that the more thoroughly we are primed with this knowledge the more we shall profit by our travel and the less will be the annoyances due to changed conditions. The same must logically hold as regards the post-mortem state.
Again some objector will say: "Ah, but that is just the rub! Whatever the condition after death may be no one knows for certain. Those who profess to know all differ from each other in their stories, many of which are unreasonable, impossible—"
In the first place, no man has a moral right to assert that no one knows, except he himself is omniscient and knows the extent of the knowledge ofall who live; and it is the height of arrogance to attempt to judge the mental capacity of all others by the exceedingly narrow ideas which wiseacres who make such statements generally have. The wise man will always have an ear open for new evidence, he will be willing and eager to investigate; and even though there were but one man who professed knowledge of the invisible worlds, that would not necessarily prove him mistaken. Did not Galileo stand alone in asserting his theory concerning the movement of the heavenly bodies, to which the whole western world has since become converted?
As to the difference of the stories told by those who profess to know about the invisible worlds, this is not only to be expected but is a valuable feature, as an illustration from daily life will show.
Supposing San Francisco had been entirely rebuilt on an imposing scale with all the latest and most modern improvements, and had decided to celebrate the occasion by a grand festival. Many thousands would flock to the Golden Gate to rejoice in the new Phoenix which had arisen from the ashes of that beautiful city, so suddenly swept from the face of the earth in a fiery death. Among others would probably come a considerable number of newspaper men, reporters from different parts of the country, for the purpose of sending reports to their respective publications. It is a foregone conclusion that although reporters are trained observers, no two reports would be alike. Some might have certain points in general. Some would be unlike the others in every respect, for the simple reason that every reporter saw the city from his own particular viewpoint and noted only what appealed to him. Thus, instead of the diversity of reports being an argument against their accuracy it will readily be seen that they would all be valuable as different phases of the one whole; and it is safe to say that a man who read all the different reports would have a vastly more comprehensive idea of San Francisco than if he had read only one report subscribed to by all the reporters.
The same principle holds good concerning the different stories describing the invisible worlds; they are not necessarily untrue because varying, but form collectively a more complete narrative.
As to the "impossible" stories, let us suppose that one of our San Francisco reporters instead of observing had spent the time enjoying himself, and sent in an imaginary report; surely that would not invalidate the honest reports. Or let us suppose that one was wearing a pair of yellow spectacles put on him without his knowledge and he sent a report that the houses and streets were of gold; that would only show his ignorance in not knowing that the glasses were that color and not the city; and his report should not reflect on the sanity and veracity of the others. Lastly, let us remember that even though some things are at present beyond our reasoning power that does not prove that they are unreasonable. The fact that a baby cannot understand square root constitutes no valid argument against mathematics. In short, no reasonable argument can be made by the materialist to prove that there is no invisible world any more than the man born blind can successfully debate against the existence of light and color in the world about him. If his sight is obtained he will see them. So no argument from those blind to the invisible world can convince the seer of the nonexistence of what he sees, and if the proper sense is awakened in such people they too will perceive a world to which they have previously been insensible, though it was all about them, as light and color pervade the sense-world, whether perceived or not.
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Passing onward from this negative testimony to the existence of the superphysical realms, to more positive evidence, an everyday illustration will show how matter is constantly changing from denser to finer states in Nature. If we take a block of ice we have a "solid"; by applying heat to it we raise the vibrations of the atoms which compose it, and it becomes a "liquid"—"water." If we apply more heat we raise the vibrations of the atoms in the water to such a rate that it becomes invisible to the eye; then we have a "gas" which we call "steam." The same matter which was visible in the ice and in the water has passed from our sight but not out of existence; for by the application of cold it will be condensed into water, and then may again be frozen into ice.
Though matter may pass beyond the range of our perception it still persists. So does consciousness continue though it may be unable to give to me the slightest sign of existence. That has been proven in cases where a person has seemingly died, where not the faintest flutter of the heart or the slightest respiratory movement could be perceived, and perhaps at the last moment before interment, the supposedly dead would come to life, repeat every word and describe every action of those who had been around him while entranced.
Therefore, when matter, which is indestructible, is known to exist in states invisible and intangible, and when consciousness is as alert, or even keener when the dense body is entranced than in ordinary waking life, is it not reasonable to suppose that this consciousness may mold the matter invisible to us and function in it when excarnate (as it shapes during earth-life the matter of this world), thus bringing into existence another world of form and consciousness as real to the excarnate Spirit as this world is to the eyes dwelling in fleshly bodies?
Even during life in the dense body we know and deal with the invisible world at every moment of our existence, and the life which we live there is the most important part of our being—the basis of our life in the dense world.
We all have an inner life where we live amidst our thoughts and feelings in scenes and under conditions unknown to our outside environment. There the mind shapes our ideas into thought pictures which we afterwards externalize. All everything we see about us and contact with our senses and call real, is but the evanescent shadow of the intangible, invisible world. The visible world has consolidated from the invisible realms in essentially the same manner that the hard and flinty house of the snail has crystallized from the juices of its soft body. Moreover, as the house of the snail is inert and would remain motionless did not the snail move it about, so the bodies of plant, animal, and man are but inert emanations from the Spirit which dwells in the invisible world, and except this indwelling life galvanizes the form into action it is incapable of movement. These bodies are preserved only so long as they serve the purpose of the Spirit; when that leaves there is nothing to hold the form together, so it decays.
Furthermore, all that we see about us, as houses, streetcars, steamboats, telephones, in short, all objects that have been fashioned by the hand of man are crystallized imaginations which had their origin in the invisible world. If Graham Bell had not been able to imagine the telephone it would never have come into existence. It was Fulton's "inner life" that first witnessed the birth of the steamboat, long before it became the visible "Clermont."
As to the reality and permanence of the objects in the invisible world, they are far more so than the visible conditions which we mistakenly think of as the acme of "reality." We regard our mental pictures and imaginations as less real than a mirage and speak of them in a slighting manner as a "mere thought" or "just an idea," when in truth they are the underlying realities of all that we see in the world about us. An illustration will further emphasize the point:
When an architect wishes to build a house he does not order lumber and other material sent to the building site, hire workmen and tell them to go ahead and build! He formulates an idea, thinks it out, first building the house "in his mind" with as much detail as possible, and from this mental model the house might be built if it could be seen by the workmen, but it is yet in the invisible world; and although the architect perceives it plainly, "the veil of flesh" prevents others seeing it. Thus it becomes necessary to bring it within the sense world and make a visible plan which the workmen may follow. This is the first consolidation of the thought picture of the architect and when the house is built we see in wood and stone what was first an idea in the architect's mind and invisible to us.
As the relative stability of the idea and building; it is plain that the house may be destroyed by dynamite or some other powerful element of destruction, but the "idea" in the architect's mind even he cannot destroy; and from that "idea" a similar house may be built at any time while the architect lives. Even after his death the idea may be found in the Memory of Nature (of which more will be explained in the next essay), by anyone qualified for this research; for no matter how long ago the impression was formed it is never lost or destroyed.
While we may thus inductively "infer" the existence of an invisible world this is not the only means of proof. There is an abundance of direct testimony to show that there is such a world, testimony from men and women of unquestioned integrity whose truth and accuracy are never questioned regarding other matters, who state that this invisible world is inhabited by those whom we call dead, who are living there in full possession of all their mental and emotional faculties, living under conditions which make their life as real and profitable as ours, perhaps more so. It is further capable of proof that at least some of them take considerable interest in the affairs of the Physical World. Suffice it to take two instances of world-wide fame.
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There is first the testimony of Jeanne D'Arc, the "maid of Orleans," to hearing "voices which spoke to and directed her." Let us consider the story of her life and see if it does not bear the stamp of truth. Here we have a simple, pure, and unsophisticated peasant girl, scarcely more than a child, who had never been outside her native village before going upon her "mission." She was extremely timid, afraid of disobeying her father, yet the imperious "voices" drove her to brave his displeasure and she set out to find the King of France. After much trouble but constantly guided by voices, she was finally granted an audience by the King. When she entered the King stood in the midst of his courtiers, a puppet was seated on the throne, and everyone expected to see her discomfited, for she had never seen the King, but, guided by the faithful voices, Jean unhesitatingly walked up to him and saluted. She convinced him of the truth of her mission by whispering in his ear an exceedingly weighty secret known only to himself.
In consequence of this proof the command of the French army was taken out of the hands of the experienced generals, who had been defeated by the English at every turn, and placed in the hands of this child who knew nothing of warcraft herself, yet, taught by her invisible prompters, led the French troops to victory. Her knowledge of military tactics was the constant wonder of her associates, and in itself a proof of the guidance she claimed.
Next we see her imprisoned, subjected for years to threats or cajolery, as the mood of her cruel persecutors prompted, to induce her to acknowledge that there had been no voices, but the records of the proceedings of her different trials show in her answers a singleness of mind, an innocence and a straightforwardness unequaled in the annals of history, which confounded her judges at every turn. Not even death at the stake could make her abjure the truth as she knew it, and to this day her testimony to the guiding voices from the invisible world stands unshaken, sealed with her life blood. This martyr to truth has lately been canonized a saint by the church which slew her.
"Ah, but," some one may say, "while she was no doubt honest, she was but a simple peasant girl, unaware that she was suffering from hallucinations!" Strange hallucinations which enabled her to unhesitatingly pick out the King she had never seen and tell him a secret unknown to any other person, to accurately describe battles while they were being fought many miles away, as afterwards verified by participants.
But let us pass on to our second witness, who is by no means of the "simple minded." In that respect Socrates is an absolute contrast to Jeanne d'Arc, for his was the keenest intellect, the greatest mind we know, unexcelled to the present day. He also sealed his testimony to the voice of guidance from the invisible world with his life blood, and we may take it as a self-evident fact that it must have been an exceedingly intelligent voice or it would never have been able to counsel so great a sage as Socrates.
To hold that he was insane or suffering from hallucinations will hardly meet the case, for a man who, like Socrates, would weigh all other matters with such nicety, is above suspicion in that respect, and the more reasonable course it to acknowledge that "there are more things in heaven and earth" than we know individually or collectively, and then start to investigate.
That is indeed what the most advanced people are doing in our day and age, realizing that it is just as foolish to be too skeptical to investigate as to be overcredulous and take for gospel truth everything we hear. Only by properly informing ourselves is it possible for us to arrive at a conclusion worth of our manhood or womanhood, no matter whether we decide one way or the other.
Recognizing this principle, and the signal importance of the subject, the Society for Physical Research was formed more than a quarter of a century ago and numbers among its members some of the brightest minds of our time. They have spared no pains to sift truth from error in the many thousands of cases brought to their attention, and as a result we find that one of the most prominent scientists of our time, Sir Oliver Lodge, as president of the society, gave to the world several years ago the statement that "the existence of an invisible world, inhabited by the so-called dead, and their power to communicate with this world, had been established beyond peradventure in such an abundance of cases as to leave no room for doubt."
Coming as that statement does, from one of the greatest of modern scientists, one who has brought to his psychic studies a mind sharpened by science, who was well protected against being duped in any way, such testimony should command the highest respect among all who are seeking for truth.
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Having thus submitted inductive, deductive, and direct evidence, we may add that the existence of another world, intangible to the five senses but readily investigated by means of a "sixth sense," is a fact in Nature, whether we recognize it or not, as light and color exist around "blind" and "seeing" alike. It is the blind man's loss that he cannot see the light and color all about him. It is ours if we are "blind" to the superphysical realms; but to all who will take the trouble to awaken their latent faculties, the opening of the proper sense is but a matter of time. When that time comes we shall see that the so-called "dead" are all about us, and that in fact "there is no death," as John McCreery says in the following beautiful poem:
Spiritual Sight and the Spiritual Worlds
In the first lecture we saw that the only theory of life which will bear the searchlight of reason is the theory That the human Ego is immortal, That Earth-life is a school and that the Ego returns to that school life after life to learn its lessons under the twin laws of Nature: the Laws of Consequence and Rebirth, thus progressing steadily towards the goal of Perfection.
The foregoing solution to the riddle of life naturally elicits the question: But if those whom we call dead are really alive, why do we not see them and where are They? That question was answered in the second lecture where it was shown inductively, deductively, and by direct incontrovertible testimony that there is an invisible world about us inhabited by the so-called dead who are living there in full possession of their every faculty, and that the only reason why we do not ordinarily perceive them is because we lack the necessary sense. The blind fail to observe light and color because they lack physical sight. We are blind to the spiritual worlds because we lack spiritual sight. All have this "sixth" sense latent and it is capable of being awakened in all without exception by proper methods, as shown in Lecture No. 11 of this series.
In the present lecture we are to investigate the inner worlds and it may not be out of place to give a general idea of how the clairvoyant knows about the invisible worlds and to show the scope and limitations of clairvoyance.
"Clairvoyant" is the name given to persons who see objects invisible to ordinary humanity. The name means simply "clear-sighted," and contrary to the generally accepted idea, there are different kinds of clairvoyants. Some are like a prisoner behind a barred window, who can see everything within his limited range of vision, and according to whether his window chances of face upon a narrow prison-yard or upon a wide expanse of country, will be his scope of vision. If his view is further hampered by a shutter which he cannot control, which opens and shuts independently of his will, we shall understand That his observation is of little value to himself or others. Some clairvoyants are like this prisoner. When the shutter is opened They have a view of whatever happens to be going on in That part of the inner world which They chance to see at a given time and place. They cannot help seeing whether the vision pleases them or not; They must endure it until it passes away of itself. Such people are called negative, involuntary clairvoyants.
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Others again, while limited in the scope of their vision, have control of the shutter, which They open and shut at will, seeing anything which comes within range. They are also negative, but are able to see "at will" and are called voluntary clairvoyants.
Then again others have a faculty which may be likened to the state of a prisoner whose prison is a glass house situated upon a hill and supplied with telescopes of the highest magnitude, shaded by blinds of such a construction that they would open as soon as he looked at them, and close as soon as he turned away. Thus he would have perfect control over his vision, being able to see or not and to turn his gaze to any subject he desired to investigate and would therefore be a voluntary, trained clairvoyant.
There is a higher stage where the prison doors are opened, and the man is able to leave the dense body at will, go into the invisible worlds and investigate at close range the things he wishes to know about, which the last named class could view only from a distance. Leaving the dense body at will is of course the ideal method—then the man is not only a clairvoyant; he is a citizen of two or more worlds. That stage is not generally reached by a mere investigator, but by such as have taken a vow to dedicate their lives to the service of humanity. They are then called Invisible Helpers, and work under the guidance of the great Leaders of Humanity—our Elder Brothers.
While many people make the mistake of being incredulous of the existence of supersensible worlds, there are also people who go to the other extreme—when they have become convinced of the verity of the invisible world—and think that when anyone can "see" clairvoyantly all truth is open to his vision and he at once "knows all about" those higher worlds.
That is a great mistake—the fallacy of such an idea is readily understood by comparison with everyday affairs. We do not consider That because a man who was born blind has been made to see, he at once "knows all about" everything in the Physical World; nay, more, we know that even those of us who have had our eyesight all our lives are far from having a universal knowledge of the things about us. Logic and analogy are violated by applying such a supposition to the inner worlds. In fact, no clairvoyant, however accomplished, has a knowledge of everything there, but only knows what he has investigated. A blind person who has obtained sight must learn to use his eyes to gauge distance, etc.; so must the infant; and so the clairvoyant must be trained before his faculty becomes of value, and it is invariably the case that the more proficient people become the more modest They are in their statements and the more willing to defer to the versions of others, knowing how much is unknown and realizing how few of the many sides of a subject the single investigator can cover.
Besides, in the Physical World forms are stable and do not easily change, but in the inner worlds everything is in the most intense motion. Forms change in a way and with a faculty that is but dimly pictured in our fairy tales. The wonder is not that involuntary or untrained clairvoyants often sadly mix things, but rather that they ever see anything right. The training consists in teaching the neophyte how to look beyond the form which is evanescent and illusory to the life which is the same no matter what "form" it may take. For only when the "life" can be seen is there safety from glamor.
Before proceeding to the investigation of the invisible worlds, we must first state the Rosicrucian conception of the Physical World, as it differs somewhat from the generally accepted views.
The Chemical Region of the Physical World
In everyday life we distinguish between solids, liquids, and gases. These are grouped by science into about seventy inorganic elements, such as hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon. From these elements all forms are built.
We also discriminate four kingdoms: mineral, plant, animal, and human, but that distinction has reference to four streams of evolving Spirits at various states of development, manifesting as life, which molds the chemical elements into the multitudinous forms we see about us.
This fourfold stream of life is more or less firmly enmeshed in the forms it has build according to the stage of development reached by the various streams of Spirits.
The Spirits which compose the Mineral Life-Stream are so feeble, and hence so closely allied with the matter they shape into inorganic crystals, that they seem inseparable from it. This life-stream is known as chemical force.
The Spirits in the Plant Life-Stream assimilate the crystallized chemical elements and modify the crystals into crystalloids when building their more complex bodies.
These plant-forms, when taken in turn by the Animal and Human Life-Streams, are grouped as cells and organs which collectively compose the more intricate vehicles of the two higher kingdoms.
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While the three more evolved streams of life are working with the chemical matter, the mineral-life embedded therein becomes inert, or, in a certain sense, it dies; but the moment the plant-life, animal-life, or human-life has departed from a form, which we then call "dead," the mineral-life native to the chemical matter is once more free to assert itself and manifest as the chemical forces which make for decay and resolve the form into its original constituents.
Some scientists attribute feeling to minerals, to "dead" plants and "dead" animal tissue. The observations of science are correct, but it is a serious misnomer to call That "feeling" which is merely a response to impacts of the mineral-life which ensouls the form when not appropriated to the use of one of the higher life-streams. The mineral life-stream embodied in the tissue which the scientific experimenters use merely registers an impression; it is incapable of true feeling, such as pleasure and pain. These are soul qualities and predicate an "inner" consciousness capable of "working over" the impressions made upon it. This is as yet beyond the mineral-life, and therefore all forms as such are as devoid of feeling as the chemical elements of which they are composed. Science recognizes this when it states That there is no feeling in a finger which is hurt, but inconsistently relegates the feeling of pain to the brain. The esoteric scientist holds that all form, brain, brawn, or bone, equally lack feeling, for feeling is a life-process neither inherent in the solids, liquids, or gases, nor acquired by them during the time They are appropriated by the evolving life-streams to furnish the substance for the various forms through which these life-streams express themselves in the dense visible Physical World.
Thus, if man possessed no more than the dense body he would be as incapable of manifesting life as are the chemical substance of which That body is composed, and if there were only this visible Physical World, there could never have been any other forms than the inert crystals. Plants, animals, and man would have been impossible achievements in Nature.
The Etheric Region of the Physical World
The Rosicrucians, in harmony with other esoteric schools, divide each world into seven "regions" or states of matter. Our visible world comprises but three such regions, viz.: Solid, Liquid, and Gaseous. The invisible ether occupies the four remaining regions, and it is with the investigation of this fourfold ether that the research of esoteric science begins.
These four states of ether are called the Etheric Region. Either is the medium through which the solar energy flows into the dense bodies of plant, animal, and man, and thus it forms a basis for the manifestation of life and vitality. The names and specific functions of these four states of ether, counting from below, are as follows:
(1) The Chemical Ether is the medium of manifestation for the chemical forces which cause the formation of crystals, manifesting as the loves and hates of the atoms, the "elective affinity" spoken of by Goethe whereby alcohol and water readily mix, but oil and water refuse to commingle. Other forces manifest in this ether to promote assimilation, growth, and excretion as seen in the higher kingdoms of plant, animal, and man. The chemical ether alone is active in the mineral chemical elements in their native state.
(2) The Life Ether. A fish can live and move in water; animal and man cannot. They live in air which suffocates the fish. So each realm of Nature is the medium of manifestation for intelligences of diverse constitution, at varying stages of development and having different missions in the economy of Nature. While the forces operating in the chemical ether are solely concerned with the maintenance of the separate form, the life ether is the vantage ground for the propagative forces which have for their object the perpetuation of the species or race. It is thus active in plant, animal, and man.
(3) The Light Ether is the medium of manifestation of the forces which produce heat, motion, and the circulation of the blood in animal and man and of the sap in plants. Through it the green chlorophyll is deposited on the leaves, and so is the coloring on flowers, animal, and man. It is the avenue of ingress for the solar force which builds the eye and is the avenue of sight. The forces in this ether are only partially operative in the plant, fully in animal and man.
(4) The Reflecting Ether is the substance of the highest region of the Physical World, and the images or records of all that is or ever has been in the Physical World can be found there. Therefore we say That it contains "the Memory of Nature." Here the architect's idea for a building spoken of in the second essay is recoverable at any time, whether he is dead or living. But the Reflecting Ether deserves its name in more than one way, for the images found there, though reproducing objects found in the Physical World, are nevertheless but reflections of images in a much higher world, where the records are permanent, much clearer, and more definite. The record in the reflecting ether is only read by involuntary clairvoyants and psychometrists who have no choice, even though they may have heard of the existence of the higher records. Sometimes the esoteric pupil also reads the record in the reflecting ether when he first starts to investigate the invisible realms, but he is instructed as to its scope and does not deceive himself into thinking that it is the ultimate of perfection, and in time learns to use the higher record.
This ether is a most important realm in Nature; it is the avenue of ingress whereby the Ego manipulates the brain and the nervous system and controls its dense body; and in the reflecting ether the Ego in man makes the record of its experiences which we call memory.
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Science teaches that alike in the densest solid and in the rarest gas no two atoms touch, but all float, as it were, in a sea of ether. That is true, but it is only part of the story; if that were all, it would be impossible to explain logically the difference between the four kingdoms.
We know that in order to function in the visible world it is necessary to have a dense body. Without such a body we would be "ghosts," invisible to other physical beings.
The same is true of the other worlds. In order to function in them or express their peculiar qualities, we must first have a vehicle made of their materials; and as it is necessary to have a dense body before we can act in the Physical World, so we must have a vital body before we can show life, assimilate, grow, or propagate. The mineral stream of life at present embodied in the matter of the Chemical Region, has no separate vital body. The plant, animal, and man have vital bodies, but they are as differently constructed as their respective dense bodies, varying as to the quality, quantity, and organization of their component etheric matter.
Yet even the possession of a dense body and a vital body is not sufficient to account for all the facts of life. If there were no other realms in Nature, movable animal and human bodies would be impossibilities; and even if such had been created, having the power to move, the incentive to motion and action would be lacking. The esoteric scientist finds action has its inception in
The Desire World
Like the Physical World, this realm of Nature is also composed of seven regions which divide the matter according to relative density and other qualities.
When we speak of matter there, it is something very different from that of the Physical world. The difference is very hard to describe, because all our terms are coined with reference to the sense world, and the best That can be done is to give some faint idea of what it is or is not like.
In the first place, though desire matter is one degree less dense than physical matter, desire stuff is not by any means "finer" physical matter. It is true That the ultimate atom of all physical forms is the same; That the mountain, the mayflower, the mouse and the man are all built of the same kind of atoms; yet we do not say that the mouse is a "finer" degree of mountain. A similar difference is embodied in the statement of the relative density of the two kinds of matter, which makes one amenable to law inoperative in the other.
Desire matter is particularly characterized by the ease with which it is molded into different forms and is capable of changing from one form to another. Plasticity is far too poor a name for this quality; besides, desire matter is also an embodiment of light and color of such luminosity, such scintillating, iridescent hues as make our brightest colors and our most glorious sunsets seem dull and dead by comparison. It was this dazzling luminosity which caused the medieval alchemists to designate it "astral," "starry," though it has nothing to do with the stars. A faint conception of what it is like may be had by taking an abalone shell and watching the changing play of colors while moving it to and fro in the sunshine.
To obtain a reasonable understanding of the Desire World, we must realize That it is the world of feeling, desire, wishes, and emotions. As our bones, blood, and flesh are formed of chemical matter, so our desires and emotions are formed of the matter of the Desire World; and as our dense bodies are subject to gravity and other physical laws, so our desires, etc., are dominated by Attraction and Repulsion, the two great forces in the Desire World.
Repulsion is the predominant force in the three lower or denser regions. Attraction alone holds sway in the three upper regions where matter is rarest, but is also present to some degree in the three lower regions, where it opposes the force of Repulsion.
The central region is the region of "Feeling." Here "interest in" or "indifference to" an object or idea sways the balance in favor of one or the other of the two forces, attraction or repulsion, thereby relegating the object or idea which engendered the feeling to the three higher or the three lower regions, or, as the case may be, expelling it from our lives. An illustration will show the principle and show how these "twin feelings" are the mainsprings that move the world by means of the "twin forces."
Both animals and man have a desire body and are swayed by the twin feelings and the twin forces. A tigress in the jungle will pass a loaf of bread with indifference, but she will feel interested in the owner. Her interest will rouse the force of attraction, yet she will endeavor to kill him. The destructive act is not the end and the aim, however, but only a necessary step towards assimilation. If she spies another beast of prey having designs on what she considers her booty, that also will cause her to feel interest. But in that case the feeling of interest will arouse the force of repulsion, and if a fight ensues, destruction of her adversary will be an end in itself. In the above case and in cases where the animal desires of man are factors, the twin forces and twin feelings operate alike, but there is a difference in the composition of the desire body of man and animal.
The desire body of an animal is composed solely of matter from the four lower regions of the Desire World. Hence it is incapable of feeling any but the animal desires for food, shelter, and the like. A saint would feel the keenest remorse if he had inadvertently spoken a hasty word; the tigress remains undisturbed by any sense of wrong, though she kill daily. The reason is that man's desire body is composed of the matter of all the seven regions of the Desire World, so that he is capable of feeling in a higher sense than the animal. Another illustration will make the point clear:
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Three men are walking along a road. They see a sick dog, covered with sores, evidently suffering intense pain, and famishing.
This much is evident to all three men; it is the testimony of their senses. Now comes the "feeling." One feels "indifferent" to the animal and passes on without another look, leaving the dog to its fate. Not so the others. They are both interested and remain; but this feeling of interest manifests differently in the two men.
The interest of one man is of a sympathetic, helpful nature, impelling him to care for the poor beast, to endeavor to assuage its pain and nurse it back to health. In him the "feeling" of "interest" has aroused the "force" of attraction."
The other man's interest is of an opposite nature. He sees only a loathsome object, which offends his aesthetic sense, and he wishes to rid himself and the world of such a pest as quickly as possible; he is in favor of killing the animal outright, and burying it. In him the "feeling" of interest has generated the destructive "force": repulsion.
Thus we see that all action or refraining from action (which is negative action) is due to the twin feelings: Interest, which starts the twin forces of Attraction and Repulsion; and Indifference, that simply cuts us off from the object or idea it is directed against. If our interest in an object or idea generates repulsion, that, of course, also causes us to endeavor to expurgate it from our lives, but, as shown by the illustrations, there is a great difference in the action of the force of repulsion and the feeling of indifference.
Thus we see that a dense body formed of the inert substance of the Chemical Region, quickened and vitalized by the vital body composed of the ethers of the Etheric Region, receives the incentive to action from the desire body, an incentive which the animals follow absolutely, but which in man is checked by another factor—reason, which sometimes causes him to act contrary to desire. Were there no other realms in Nature but the Physical World and the Desire World, That factor would be non-existent. We could have mineral, plant, and animal, but man, a thinking, reasoning being, would be an impossibility in Nature.
The World of Thought....
....must be taken into consideration to account for man. For from its substance the mind is formed to act as a brake upon the impulses of the desire body, dictating action contrary to the urge of the twin feelings because of wider viewpoint arrived at by reason.
The World of Thought also consists of seven regions in which the matter is classified according to density and quality; besides, it is divided into two main sections: "The Region of 'Concrete' Thought" and "the Region of 'Abstract' Thought."
In the three lowest divisions of the Region of Concrete Thought are the archetypes of everything we see in the Physical World, as mineral, plant, animal, and man, of the continents, rivers and oceans; and here the trained clairvoyant whose faculty enables him to reach these high realms sees also the universal ocean of flowing life, in which all forms are immersed, sees the same vital impulse moving from form to form in rhythmic cycles, sustaining the form specialized by the Ego of man or the animal and plant Group Spirit.
These archetypes are not merely models in the sense we generally speak of models, as a thing in miniature, or in a finer material; they are creative archetypes, molding all the visible forms, such as we see in the world, in their own likeness, or rather likenesses, for often many of the archetypes work together to form a certain species, each archetype giving part of itself to build the required form. They are marshaled and directed by "The Archetypal Forces" which are found in the fourth division. From the substance of the four lower divisions our mind is formed, enabling man to also form thoughts and make images which he may afterwards reproduce in iron, stone, or wood, so that by means of the mind which he obtains from this world man becomes a creator in the Physical World like the archetypal forces.
But what is that which directs the mind as the Archetypal Forces guide the operations of the archetypes? It is the Ego, and it gathers its clothing or garment from the three highest sections, which are called the Region of Abstract Thought and Ideas.
Thus we see that man is a very complex being, and a citizen of three worlds to which he is correlated by an unbroken chain of five vehicles, thereby giving him a full waking consciousness which enables him to see objects in space outside himself in clear and sharp contours.
The animal has no "individual" Spirit yet, but has a so-called "Group Spirit," which informs all the members of a species. The separate animals have three bodies—a dense, a vital, and a desire body—but lack one link in the chain: Mind. Hence animals do not ordinarily think, but as we "induce" electricity in a wire by bringing it close to another which is charged, so in a similar way by contact with man a semblance of thought has been "induced" in the higher domestic animals, such as the dog, horse, and elephant. The other animals obey the prompting (which we call instinct) of the animal Group Spirit. They do not see objects in such clear outlines as does man; in the lower species the animal consciousness resolves itself more and more into an internal "picture-consciousness," resembling man's dream state, except that their pictures are not confused, but convey perfectly to the animal the promptings of the Group Spirit.
The plants have a dense body and a vital body; hence they can neither feel nor think. They lack desire body and mind, and therefore a greater gap exists between the plant and its Group Spirit than between the animal and its Group Spirit; hence the consciousness of the plants is correspondingly dimmer, resembling our state of dreamless sleep.
The mineral has only a dense body. It lacks three links to connect it with its Group Spirit. It therefore is inert and its unconsciousness resembles That of the dense human body in the "trance" state when the human Spirit, the Ego, has passed correspondingly beyond it.
In conclusion, let us note that the three worlds in which we live are not separated by space. They are all about us, as light and color, embedded in the physical matter; as lines of cleavage in the mineral. If we let a dish of water freeze, and examine it under a microscope, we shall see the ice crystals divided off from one another by lines. These were present though unseen in the water as lines of force, invisible until the proper condition brought them out. So one world lies embedded in the next above, unseen to us until we provide the proper conditions; but when we have fitted ourselves, Nature, who is every ready to unfold to us her wonders, expresses ardent joy over everyone who as a helper in evolution thus attains to citizenship in the invisible realms.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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