From the esotericist's standpoint there are four classes of insanity. Insanity is always caused by a break in the chain of vehicles between the Ego and the physical body. This break may occur between the brain centers and the vital body, or it may be between the vital and desire body, between the desire body and the mind, or between the mind and the Ego. The rupture may be complete or only partial.
When the break is between the brain centers and the vital body, or between that and the desire body, we have the mentally disabled. When the break is between the desire body and the mind, the violent and impulsive desire body rules and we have the raving maniac. When the break is between the Ego and the mind, the mind is the ruler over the other vehicles and we have the cunning maniac, who may deceive his keeper into believing that he is perfectly harmless until he has hatched some diabolical, cunning scheme. Then he may suddenly show his deranged mentality and cause a dreadful catastrophe.
There is one cause of insanity that it may be well to explain, as it is sometimes possible to avoid it. When the Ego is returning from the invisible world toward re-embodiment, it is shown the various incarnations available. It sees the coming life in its great and general events, much as a moving picture passing before its vision. The it is given the choice, usually, of several lives. It sees at that time the lessons it has to learn, the fate it has generated for itself in past lives, and what part of that fate it will have to liquidate in each of the embodiments offered. Then it makes its choice and is guided by the agents of the Recording Angels to the country and family where it is to live its coming life.
The panoramic view is seen in the Third Heaven where the Ego is naked and feels spiritually above sordid material considerations. It is much wiser then that is appears here on Earth, where it is blinded by the flesh to an inconceivable extent. Later, when conception has taken place and the Ego draws into the womb of its mother, on about the 18th day after that event, it comes in contact with the etheric mold of its new physical body which has been made by the Recording Angels to give the brain formation that will impress upon the Ego the tendencies necessary to work out its destiny.
There the Ego sees again the pictures of its coming life as the drowning man perceives the pictures of his past life — in a flash. At that time the Ego is already partially blind to its spiritual nature, so that if the coming life seems to be a hard one, it will oftentimes shrink from entering the womb and making the proper brain connections. It may endeavor to draw itself out quickly and then, instead of being concentric as the vital and dense bodies should be, the vital body formed of ether may be drawn partially above the head of the dense body. In that case the connection between the sense centers of the vital body and the dense body are disrupted and the result is congenital mental disability, epilepsy, St. Vitus Dance, and similar nervous disorders.
The inharmonious relation between the parents which sometimes exists is often the last straw that makes an Ego feel that it cannot enter such an environment. Therefore, it cannot be too seriously impressed upon prospective parents that during the gestatory period it is of the utmost importance that every thing should be done to keep the mother in a condition of contentment and harmony. For it is a very hard task for the Ego to go through the womb; it taxes all its sensibilities to the very utmost, and inharmonious conditions in the home it is entering are, of course, an added source of discomfort, which may result in the above named dreadful state of affairs.
Black magic in its minor forms, such as hypnotism, for instance, sometimes causes congenital mental disability in a future life. The hypnotist deprives his victims of the free use of their bodies. Under the law of consequence he is then tied to a body with a malformed brain, which prevents his expression. We must not infer, however, that every case of congenital mental disability is due to such malpractice on the part of the Ego in a past life; there are also other causes which may bring congenital mental disability as a result.
Drugs and breathing exercises, such as the Eastern aspirant uses, have a dreadfully destructive effect upon the body, and it will therefore be seen that their use is altogether undesirable. Many a man is today in the insane asylum or in the grave of the consumptive on account of breathing exercises, and the effects of drugs are well known. The atoms of the Western body have been highly sensitized in the ordinary course of evolution, and the exercises which may be used with impunity by an Eastern person, will cause the atoms of the Western body to run riot. It is extremely difficult to bring them into proper repose again.
Where a person becomes a medium for a disembodied Spirit which enters the body, as in the case of the trance medium where it takes possession of the body and uses it as the owner might do, there is little if any harm done, provided the Spirit control does not abuse his privilege. In fact, there are some cases where Spirit controls have better idea of caring for a body than the owner himself, and may sometimes improve the health. But Spirits of a high ethical nature do not usually control a medium, it is rather earthbound and low Spirits such as Indians and others of a like nature who obtain a control over mediumistic persons, and when in possession of the body they may use it to gratify their low passions for drink and sex. Thus they cause a disturbance to the system and a deterioration of the instrument.
In the case of the materializing medium, we may say that the influence is always injurious. The materializing Spirit entrances the victim and then draws the ether of the vital body out through the spleen, for the difference between the materializing medium and the ordinary person is the fact that the connection between the vital body and the dense body is exceedingly lax, so that it is possible to withdraw this vital body to a very great extent.
The vital body is the vehicle whereby the solar currents which give us vitality are specialized. Deprived of the vitalizing principle, the body of the medium at the time of the materialization sometimes shrinks to almost one-half its usual size; the flesh becomes flabby and the spark of life burns very low. When the séance is over and the vital body replaced the medium is awakened and in normal consciousness. He then experiences a feeling of the most terrible exhaustion and sometimes, unfortunately, resorts to drink to revive the vital forces. In that case, of course, the health will very soon suffer and the medium will become a total wreck. At any rate, mediumship should be avoided, for apart from this danger to the instrument there are other and far more serious considerations in connection with the more subtle bodies, and particularly in connection with the after-death state.
Obsession is a state where a discarnate Spirit has taken permanent possession of the body of someone after dispossessing the owner. But sometimes people who have formed the habit of drunkenness or some other low vice seek to excuse themselves by claiming to be obsessed. Wherever a person makes that statement concerning himself, one may nearly always be sure that it is nothing but an excuse, for a thief who has stolen something here in the material world does not go about and tell people of his theft, neither does an obsessing entity go around proclaiming the fact. It is very certain that such an entity does not care what is thought about the man whose body he has stolen, so that there is no reason why he should tell and risk being exorcised.
There is an infallible means of knowing whether a person is really obsessed, namely, by diagnosis of the eye. "The eye is the window of the soul," and only the true owner is capable of contracting and expanding the iris, or pupil of the eye, so that if we take a person who claims to be obsessed or whom we think is obsessed, to a room which is darkened, we shall find that the pupil of his eye will not expand if he is obsessed. Neither will the pupil contract when we bring him into the sunlight, nor expand if we ask him to look at an object at a distance or contract when he is asked to read small type. In short, the pupil of the eye will respond neither to light nor to distance when a person is obsessed, but there is also a certain disease called locomotor ataxia, where the iris will not respond to distance but is responsive to light.
No one who maintains a positive attitude of mind can ever become obsessed, for so long as we assert our individuality that is strong enough to keep all outsiders away. But in spiritualistic seances where the sitters are negative there is always a great danger. The best way to avoid becoming obsessed would be to maintain this positive attitude, and anyone who is at all negatively inclined should avoid going to spiritualistic séances, crystal gazing, and other methods of evoking spirits. This is bad practice, anyway, for those who have gone beyond have their work to do there and should not be brought back here.
At the moment of death when the seed atom in the heart, which contains all the experiences of the past life in a panoramic picture, is ruptured, the spirit leaves its physical body taking with it the finer bodies. It then hovers over the dense body which is now dead, as we call it, for a time varying from a number of hours to three and one-half days. The determining factor as to the time is the strength of the vital body, the vehicle which constitutes the soul body spoken of in the Bible. There is then a pictorial reproduction of the life, a panorama in reverse order from death to birth, and the pictures are etched upon the desire body through the medium of the reflecting ether in this vital body. During this time the consciousness of the Spirit is concentrated in the vital body, or at least it should be, and it has therefore no feeling about the matter. The picture that is impressed upon the vehicle of feeling and emotion, the desire body, is the basis of subsequent suffering in the life in Purgatory for evil deeds, and of enjoyment in the First Heaven on account of the good done in the past life.
The investigations of later years have revealed the additional fact that there is another process going on during these important days following death. A cleavage takes place in the vital body similar to that made by the process of initiation. So much of this vehicle as can be termed "soul," coalesces with the higher vehicles and is the basis of consciousness in the invisible worlds after death. The lower part which is discarded, returns to the physical body and hovers over the grave in the great majority of cases, as stated in the Cosmo. This cleavage of the vital body is not the same in all persons but depends upon the nature of the life lived and the character of the person that is passing out. In extreme cases this division varies very much from normal. This important point was brought out in many cases of supposed spirit obsession which have been investigated from Headquarters; in fact it was these cases which developed the far-reaching and astounding discoveries brought out by our most recent researches into the nature of the obsession from which the people who appealed to us were suffering. As might be expected, of course, the division in these cases showed a preponderance of evil, and efforts were then made to find out if there were not also another class of people where a different division with a preponderance of good takes place. It is a pleasure to record that this was found to be the case, and after weighing the facts discovered, balancing one with another, the following seems to be a correct description of the conditions and their reasons:
The vital body aims to build the physical, whereas our desires and emotions tear down. It is the struggle between the vital body and the desire body which produces consciousness in the Physical World, and which hardens the tissues so that the soft body of the child gradually becomes tough and shrunken in old age, followed by death. The morality or immorality of our desires and emotions acts in a similar manner on the vital body. Where devotion to high ideals is the mainspring to action, where the devotional nature has been allowed for years to express itself freely and frequently, and particularly where this has been accomplished by the scientific exercises of Retrospection and Concentration, the quantity of the chemical and life ethers gradually diminishes as the animal appetites vanish, and an increased amount of the light and reflecting ether takes their place. As a consequence, the physical health is not as robust among people who follow the higher path as among people whose indulgence of the lower nature attracts the chemical and life ethers, in proportion to the extent and nature of their vice, to the partial or total exclusion of the two higher ethers.
Several very important consequences connected with death follow this fact. As it is the chemical ether which cements the molecules of the body in their places and keeps them there during life, when only a minimum of this material is present, disintegration of the physical vehicle after death must by very rapid. This the writer has not been able to verify because it is difficult to find men of high spiritual proclivities who have passed out recently, but it would seem that this is so from the fact recorded in the Bible that the body of Christ was not found in the tomb when the people came to look for it. As we have said before in relation to this matter, the Christ spiritualized the body of Jesus so highly, made it so vibrant, that it was almost impossible to keep the particles in place during His ministry. As stated before, a worldly life increases the proportion of the lower ethers in the vital body to that of the higher. Where, in addition, a so-called "clean life" is lived and excesses avoided, the health during life is more robust than that of the aspirant to the higher life, because the latter's attitude to life builds a vital body composed principally of the higher ethers. He loves "the bread of life" more than physical sustenance and therefore his instrument becomes increasingly high-strung, nervous, and delicate, a sensitive conditions which greatly furthers the objects of the Spirit, but which is a hardship from the physical viewpoint.
In the majority of mankind there is such a preponderance of selfishness and a desire to get the most out of life as they view that matter, that either they are busy keeping the wolf from the door or accumulating possessions and taking care of them, and hence they have very little time or inclination to undertake the soul culture so necessary to true success in life.
Therefore there is so little that persists in each life of the majority and evolution is so frightfully slow that until one is able to view the act of death from the higher regions of the World of Concrete Thought and, so to say, look downwards, it does not appear that anything is saved of the vital body. This body seems to return complete to the physical body and hover over the grave, there to disintegrate simultaneously with the latter. As a matter of fact, an increasing part cleaves to the higher vehicles and goes with them into the desire world, there to be a basis of consciousness in, and to live through, the purgatorial and heaven lives, generally persisting until man enters the second heaven and unites with the nature forces there in his efforts to create for himself a new environment. By that time, it has been absorbed by the spirit or almost so, and whatever may remain of a material nature will quickly fade away.
But there are some people who are of such an evil nature that they enjoy a life spent in vice and degenerate practices, a brutal life, and who delight in giving pain. Sometimes they even cultivate the esoteric arts for evil purposes so that they may have a greater power over their victims. Then their fiendish, immoral practices result in hardening their vital body.
In such extreme cases where the animal nature has been paramount, where there has been no soul expression in the preceding Earth life, the division in the vital body spoken of before cannot take place at death, for there is no dividing line. In such a case, if the vital body should gravitate back to the dense body and there gradually disintegrate, the effect of a very evil life would not be so far-reaching, but unfortunately there is in such cases an interlocking grip of the vital and the desire bodies which prevents separation. We have seen that where a man lives mostly in the higher nature, his spiritual vehicles are nourished to the detriment of the lower. Conversely, where his consciousness is centered in the lower vehicles, he strengthens them immeasurably. It should be understood that the life of the desire body is not terminated by the departure of the spirit; it has a residual life and consciousness. The vital body is also able to sense things in a slight measure for a few days after death in ordinary cases (hence the suffering caused by embalming, post-mortem examinations, etc., immediately after death), but where a low life has hardened and endued it with great strength, it has a tenacious hold on life and an ability to feed on odors of foods and liquors. Sometimes, as a parasite, it even vampirizes people with whom it comes in contact.
Thus an evil man may live for many, many years unseen in our very midst, yet so close that he is nearer than hands and feet. He is far more dangerous than the physical criminal for he is able to prompt others of a similar bent to criminal or degenerate practices without fear of detection or punishment by law.
Such beings are therefore one of the greatest menaces to society imaginable. They have sent countless victims to prison, broken up homes and caused an unbelievable amount of unhappiness. They always leave their victims when the latter have come into the clutches of the law. They gloat over their victims's sorrow and distress, this being a part of their fiendish scheme. It is amazing when one searches the Memory of Nature of the past to find how prevalent this interlocking condition of the desire and vital bodies was in former centuries and millenniums. We realize, of course, in a sort of an abstract way, that the farther we go back into the history of men the more savage we find them, but that in our own historical times this savagery should have been so common and so brutal and that might was the measure of right absolutely and beyond dispute, was, to say the least, quite a shock to the writer. It has been taught that selfishness and desire were purposely fostered under the regime of Jehovah to give incentive to action. This in the course of time had so hardened the desire body that when the advent of Christ took place, there was almost no heaven life among the people then living.
Earthbound Spirits, such as previously mentioned, gravitate to the lower regions of the Desire World which interpenetrates the ether, and are in constant and close touch with those people on Earth most favorably situated for aiding them in their evil designs. They usually stay in the earthbound condition for fifty, sixty, or seventy-five years, but extreme cases have been found in which such people so remain for centuries.
When the Spirit has left the sin body, as we call this body in contrast to the soul body, to ascend to the Second Heaven, it does not disintegrate as quickly as the ordinary shell left behind by normal people, for the consciousness in it is enhanced by its dual composition; that is to say, being composed of both a vital and desire body, it has an individual or a personal consciousness that is very remarkable. It cannot reason, but there is a low cunning present which makes it seem as though it were actually endowed with a spiritual presence, an Ego, and this enables it to live a separate life for many centuries. The departed Spirit meanwhile enters the Second heaven, but having done no work on Earth to desire or merit a prolonged stay there or in the Third heaven, it only stays there sufficiently long to create a new environment for itself and it is then reborn much earlier than usual — to satisfy the cravings for material things which draw it so strongly.
When the Spirit returns to Earth, this sin body is naturally attracted towards it, and usually stays with it all its life as a demon. Investigations have proved that this class of soulless creatures were very prevalent during Biblical times, and it was to them that our Savior referred as devils, they being the cause of various obsessions and bodily ills such as are recorded in the Bible.
In addition to the entities already mentioned who dwell in a sin body made by themselves, and who thus suffer entirely from their own deeds in the period of expiation, two classes were found which were similar in certain respects although different in others. In addition to the divine Hierarchies and the four life waves of Spirits now evolving in the Physical World through the mineral, plant, animal, and human kingdoms, there are also other life waves which express themselves in the various invisible worlds. Among them there are certain classes of sub-human spirits which are called elementals. It sometimes happens that one of these elementals takes possession of the sin body of someone in a savage tribe, and thus adds extra intelligence to that being. At the rebirth of the spirit that generated this sin body, the usual attracting brings them together, but on account of the elemental ensouling the sin body, the spirit becomes different from the other members of the tribe, and we find them then acting as medicine men or in a similar capacity. These elemental spirits ensouling the sin bodies of Indians also act upon mediums as spirit controls, and having obtained power over the medium during life, when he dies, these elemental controls oust him from the vehicles which contain his life experience. Thus the medium may be retarded in evolution for ages, for there is no power that can compel these spirits to let go, once they have gained control of such a body. Therefore, though mediumship may produce no seeming evil effect in a lifetime, there is a very, very grave danger after death to the person who allows another to take possession of his body.
Hysteria, epilepsy, tuberculosis, and cancer were all found to result from the erratic propensities of a past life. It was noticed that though many of the subjects had been, in the past lives investigated, almost maniacal in the gratification of their lasciviousness, they were at the same time of a highly devotional and religious nature. In such cases, it seems that the physical body generated in the present life was normally healthy and their disability altogether mental, while in other cases where the indulgence of the passional nature was coupled with a vile character and a cruel disregard of others, epilepsy together with rachitis, hysteria, and a deformed body were the present result. Frequently, cancer, especially cancer of the liver or breast resulted.
In this connection, however, we wish again to warn students not to draw hasty conclusions that these are hard and fast conditions. The number of investigations made, though very large and an arduous task for one researcher to handle, are too few to be really conclusive in matters involving millions of human beings. They are, however, in line with the teachings of the Cosmo given by the Elder Brothers regarding the effect of materialism in bring about rachitis, a softening of a part of the body that should be hard, and tuberculosis, which hardens tissues that should be soft and pliable. Cancer is essentially similar in effect; and when we consider that the sign Cancer is ruled by the Moon, the planet of generation, and that the lunar sphere is under the sway of Jehovah, the God of generation, whose Angels announce and preside over birth as instanced in the case of Isaac, Samuel, John the Baptist, and Jesus, we readily see that abuse of the creative function can cause both cancer and lunacy in the most differentiated forms.
Regarding lack of vision or disabilities or the organ of sight, it has long been known among researches that it is the effect of extreme cruelty in a past life. Recent investigations have developed the further information that much of the eye trouble now prevalent among people is due to the fact that our eyes are changing; they are, in fact, becoming responsive to a higher octave of vision than before, because the ether surrounding the Earth is becoming more dense and the air is growing more rarer. This is particularly true in certain parts of the world, Southern California among others. It is noteworthy in this connection that the Aurora Borealis is becoming more frequent and more powerful in its effects upon the Earth. In the early years of the Christian Era this phenomenon was almost unknown, but in the course of time as the Christ wave which descends into the Earth during part of the year, infuses more and more of its own life into the dead, earthly lump, the etheric vital rays become visible at intervals. Later they became more and more numerous and are now commencing to interfere with our electric activities, particularly with telegraphy, which service is sometimes completely demoralized by these radiating streamers.
It is also noteworthy that the disturbances are confined to wires going east and west. Rays or lines of force from the plant Group Spirits, radiate in all directions from the center of the Earth towards the periphery and then outwards, passing through the roots of plants or trees, then upwards towards the top of same.
The currents of the animal Group Spirits, on the other hand, encircle the Earth. The comparatively weak and invisible currents generated by the Group Spirits of the plants, and the very strong powerful rays of force generated by the Christ Spirit now becoming visible as the Aurora Borealis, have hitherto been of about the same nature as static electricity, while the currents generated by the animal Group Spirits and which encircle the Earth may be likened to dynamic electricity which gave the Earth its power of motion in bygone ages. Now, however, the Christ currents are becoming more and more forceful and their static electricity is being liberated. The etheric impulse which they give will inaugurate a new era, and the sense organs now possessed by mankind must accommodate themselves to this change. Instead of the etheric rays which emanate from an object bringing a reflected image to the retina of our eyes, the so-called "blind spot" will be sensitized and we shall look out through the eye and see directly the thing itself instead of the image upon our retina. Then we shall not only see the surface of the thing we observe, but we shall be able to see through it as those who have cultivated the etheric vision do now.
As time goes on and the Christ by His beneficent ministration attracts more and more of the interplanetary ether to the Earth, thus making its vital body more luminous, we shall be walking in a sea of light, and when we learn to forsake our ways of selfishness and egotism through the constant contact with these beneficent Christ vibrations, we shall also become luminous. Then the eye as it is now constituted would not be of service to us, therefore it is now beginning to change and we are experiencing the discomfort incident to all reconstruction.
It was found by examining a number of people in normal health that each of the prismatic atoms composing the lower ethers radiated from itself the lines of force which set spinning the physical atom in which it is inserted, enduing the whole body with life. The united trend of all these units of force is toward the periphery of the body, where they constitute what has been called the "Odic Fluid," also designated by other names. When the air pressure from without is lowered by residence in a high altitude, a tendency to nervousness becomes manifest because the etheric force from within rushes outward unchecked; and were the man not able to shut off the outflow of solar energy in part by an effort of will to overcome the difficulty, no one could live in such a place.
We have heard of "shell shock" and we are aware that numbers of people who had not even the slightest wound were found dead on the battlefield. In fact, we had seen and spoken with people who had passed out in this manner but were at a loss to know why death had resulted. They all disclaimed fear and were unanimous in their assertion that they had suddenly become unconscious and a moment later they had found themselves in their present condition. They were unlike their fellows in that they had not a single scratch on their bodies. Our preconceived idea that it must have been a momentary fear at a particularly close call which, though unrealized, had caused their demise, prevented a full investigation; but the ascertained results of the consequences of a fall led us to believe that something similar might take place in this connection; this surmise was correct.
One night some time ago while in transit to a place in a far country where I had a mission to perform, I heard a cry. Though the human voice can be heard only in air, there are overtones which are heard in the spiritual realms at distances exceeding those traversed by wireless messages. The cry was close by, however, and I was on the scene in an instant, but not soon enough to give the needed help. I found a man sliding down a slanting embankment, bare of vegetation, perhaps a dozen feet in width, and as it proved on subsequent examination, almost smooth, and without a fissure which would have afforded a hold for his fingers. To have saved him would have involved materialization of both hands and shoulders, but there was no time. In a moment he had slid over the overhanging precipice and was falling to the floor of the canyon below, probably several thousand feet.
Prompted by a natural spirit of fellow feeling I followed and on the way observed the phenomenon which is the basis of this article, namely, that when the body had attained a considerable velocity, the ethers composing the vital body commenced to ooze out, and when the body crashed to rocks below, a mangled mass, there was very little if any ether left in it. Gradually, however, the ethers drifted together, took form, and hovered with the finer vehicles above the mangled corpse; but the man was in a stupor and unable to sense or realize the fact of his altered condition.
As soon as I saw that he was beyond help, I went on; but on thinking the matter over it dawned on me that something unusual had happened and that it was my duty to find out if the ethers left that way in everyone who fell, and if so, why. Under old time conditions this would have been difficult, but the advent of the flying machine claims many victims. It was therefore easy to ascertain the fact that when a falling body has attained a certain velocity, the higher ethers leave the dense body, and the falling man becomes insensible. As the body reaches the ground, it is mangled, but the poor man may regain consciousness when the ether has reorganized itself. He will then begin to suffer from the physical consequences of the fall. If the fall continues after the higher ethers have left, the increased velocity dislodges the lower ethers, and the silver cord is all that remains attached to the body. This is ruptured at the moment of impact with the ground, and the seed atom passes on to the breaking point, where it is held in the usual way.
From these facts we came to the conclusion that it is the normal air pressure which holds the vital body within the dense. When we move with an abnormal velocity, the pressure is removed from some parts of the body and a partial vacuum formed, with the further result that the ethers leave the body and flow into this vacuum. The two higher ethers, which are most loosely bound, are the first to disappear and leave the man senseless after they have produced the panorama of life in a flash. Then if the fall continues to increase the air pressure in front of the body and the vacuum behind, the more closely bound lower ethers are also forced out, and the body is dead before it reaches the ground.
When a large projectile passes through the air, it creates a vacuum behind it by the enormous velocity wherewith it moves, and if the person is within this vacuum zone while the shell is passing, he suffers in a measure determined by his own nature and his proximity to the center of suction. His position is in fact a reverse replica of the man who falls; for he stands still while a moving body removes the air pressure and allows the ethers to escape. If the amount of ether dislocated is comparatively slight and is composed only of the third and fourth ethers which govern sense perception and memory, he will probably suffer only a temporary loss of memory and inability to sense things or move. This disability will disappear when the extracted ethers are again fitted inside the dense body — a much more difficult achievement than where the physical body succumbs and the reorganization takes place without reference to that vehicle.
Our bodies are gradually hardening from childhood to old age, on account of the chalky substances contained in most of the foods we usually nourish our bodies upon. This calcareous matter is primarily deposited in the walls of the arteries and veins, causing what is known to the medical profession as arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. The arteries of a little child are exceedingly soft an elastic, like a rubber tube, but gradually as we advance through childhood, youth, and on toward old age, the walls of the arteries become harder in consequence of the deposits of chalk left by the passing blood. Thus in time they may become as stiff and inelastic as a pipe stem. There is a condition which is called pipe-stem artery. The arteries then become brittle and may break, causing hemorrhage and death. Therefore it is truly said that a man is as old as his arteries. If we can clear the arteries and capillaries of this earthy matter, we may gradually prolong life and the usefulness of our body.
From the esoteric standpoint, of course, it is no matter whether we live or die, as the saying is, for death to us does not mean annihilation but only the shifting of the consciousness to other spheres; nevertheless, when we have brought a vehicle through the useless years of childhood past the hot years of youth, and have come to the time of discretion when we are really beginning to gain experience, then the longer we can prolong the time of experience the more we may gain. For that reason it is of a certain value to prolong the life of the body.
In order to accomplish that result, we must first select the foods that are least impregnated with the choking substances which cause the induration of arteries and capillaries. These may be briefly stated to be the green vegetables and all fruits. next, it is of importance to seek to eradicate the choking matter which we have already absorbed, if that is possible, but science has not yet found any food or medicine that will with certainty produce that effect. Electric baths have been found to be exceedingly beneficial but not entirely satisfactory. Buttermilk is the best agent for eradicating this earthy substance and next comes grape juice. If taken continually and in generous quantities, these substances will considerably ameliorate the hardened condition of the arteries.
Unfortunately, people seem to lay their bad traits to heredity, blaming their parents for their faults, while taking to themselves all the credit for the good. The very fact that we differentiate between that which is inherited and that which is our own shows that there are two sides to man's nature, the side of the form, and the life side.
We are drawn to certain people by the law of causation, and the law of association. The same law which causes musicians to seek the company of one another in concert halls, gamblers to congregate at the race tracks or in pool rooms, people of a studious nature to flock to libraries, etc., also causes people of similar tendencies, characteristics, and tastes to be born in the same family. When we hear a person say, "Oh, yes, I know I am extravagant, but I just cannot help it. It runs in the family," it is the law of association; and the sooner we recognize, that instead of making the law of heredity an excuse for our evil habits, we should seek to conquer them and cultivate virtues instead, the better for us.
Man is essentially spirit and he comes here equipped with a mental and moral nature, which are entirely his own, taking from his parents only the material for the physical body. Thus while heredity in the first place is true only as regards the material of the dense body and not the soul qualities, which are entirely individual, the incoming Ego also does a certain amount of work on its dense body, incorporating in it the quintessence of its past physical qualities. No body is an exact mixture of the qualities of its parents, although the Ego is restricted to the use of the materials taken from the bodies of the father and mother. Hence a musician incarnates where he can get the material to build the slender hand and the delicate ear, with its sensitive fibers of Corti and its accurate adjustment of the three semicircular canals. The arrangement of these materials, however, is to the extent named, under the control of the Ego.
In the fetus, in the lower part of the throat just above the sternum or breast bone, there is a gland called the thymus gland, which is largest during the period of gestation and which gradually atrophies as the child grows older and disappears entirely by or before the fourteenth year, very often when the bones have been properly formed. Science has been very much puzzled as to the use of this gland, and few theories have been advanced to account for it. Among these theories one is that it supplies the material for the manufacture of the red blood corpuscles until the bones have been properly formed in the child so that it may manufacture its own blood corpuscles. That theory is correct.
During the earliest years the Ego which owns the child-body is not in full possession, and we recognize that the child is not responsible for its doings, at any rate not before the seventh year, and later we have extended it to the fourteenth year. During that time no legal liability for its action attaches to the child, and that is as it should be, for the Ego being in the blood can only function properly in blood of its own making, so that where, as in the child-body, the stock of the blood is furnished by the parents through the thymus gland, the child is not yet its own master or mistress. Thus it is that children do not speak of themselves so much as "I" in the earlier years, but identify themselves with the family; they are Papa's girl and Mama's boy. The young child will say "Mary wants this" or "Johnny wants that," but as soon as they have attained the age of puberty and have begun to manufacture their own blood corpuscles, then we hear the boy or girl say, "I" will do this or "I" will do that. From that time they begin to assert their own identify, and to tear themselves loose from the family.
Seeing, then, that the blood throughout the years of childhood, as well as the body, is inherited from the parents, the tendencies to disease are also carried over, not the disease itself, but the tendency. After the fourteenth year, when the indwelling Ego has commenced to manufacture its own blood corpuscles, it depends a great deal upon itself whether or not these tendencies shall become manifested actualities in its life.
Flesh and alcohol have the tendency to make man ferocious and to turn his spiritual sight away from the higher worlds and focus vision upon the present material plane. Therefore the Bible tells us that at the beginning of the rainbow age, the age where we live in an atmosphere of clear and pure air, so different from the misty atmospheric condition of Atlantis spoken of in the second chapter of Genesis, Noah first brewed wine. Material development has taken place in consequence of the present focusing of our energies upon the material world, which resulted from partaking of meat and wine.
Christ's first miracle changed water into wine. He had received the Universal Spirit at the baptism, and had no need of artificial stimulants. He changed the water to wine to give to others less advanced. But no wine-bibbers can inherit the kingdom of God. The esoteric reason is this, that while the lower ethers vibrate to the seed atoms in the solar plexus and the heart, and thus keep the physical body alive, the higher ethers vibrate to the pituitary body and pineal gland. By imbibing this false rebellious spirit that is fermented outside the body, and is different from the spirit that is fermented inside, by sugar, these organs are temporarily dazed and cannot vibrate to the higher world, and so because of age-long abuse, man has ceased to function in the higher worlds. If he takes too much of this spirit of alcohol, the organs named may be slightly awakened so that he sees the lowest realms of the desire world and all the evil things therein; that happens in the disease known as delirium tremens. To sum up, as the evolution of soul depends upon acquisition of the two higher ethers from which the beautiful wedding garment is made, and as these ethers are attuned to the organs named in the same manner that the lower ethers are attuned to the seed atom in the heart and the seed atom in the solar plexus, you will readily understand the deadly effects to the spiritual man, of alcohol and drugs. To elucidate further I quote an incident of life.
There is an old saying: "Once a Mason always a Mason"; that means that when anyone has received the initiation of the Masonic Order, and by virtue of that becomes a Mason, he cannot resign, for he cannot give up that knowledge and the secrets which he has learned any more than a person who goes to college can give back his learning received at that institution and therefore, once a Mason always a Mason, and likewise, once a pupil, a lay brother, of a mystery school, always a pupil and a lay brother of said same mystery school. But though that holds good and life after life we come back connected with the same order that we have been affiliated with in previous lives, we may in any one life so conduct ourselves that it is impossible for us to realize this in our physical brains, and I will, as said, cite for the benefit of all students a case which is very much to the point.
When I was taken into the Temple of the Rosicrucian order in Germany I was surprised to see a man whom I had known on the Pacific Coast; that is to say I had seen him a few times; we had never spoken. He seemed at that time to be in a station in the society, where we were connected, much above mine, and I had never had personal acquaintance with him. However, he greeted me there warmly, and seemed to understand all about his connection with said society, about our meeting there, and so forth; and I looked forward upon my return to America to getting much information from this brother when I should be fortunate enough to meet him here in the West. When I arrived at the city where he was, I was told by mutual friends that he had been expecting me and was looking forward anxiously to meeting me. Therefore, when I did meet the gentleman, I at once went up to him and shook him by the hand. He also seemed to recognize me and called me by name. It seemed there was every indication that he knew all that had happened while we were both out of the body. Besides, he had told me in the Temple that he remembered everything that happened to him when out of the body; this of course I believed for he was of a much higher degree than the first, into which I had just been admitted.
On the day of our physical meeting, after a few moments' conversation I said something which caused him to stare at me blankly. I had referred to some incident of our meeting in the Temple, and he showed plainly that he knew nothing whatever of it. I had, however, said so much that I was forced to say more, or appear very foolish so I told him that he had professed to remember everything. This he denied, and at the end of the interview he begged me very earnestly to endeavor to find out why it was that he was a lay brother of the Rosicrucian Order, yet could not remember that which took place during his absence from the body. He was as I knew at various Temple services. He took part, yet in his physical brain he was absolutely ignorant of that which had occurred. The mystery was solved a little later when I learned from him, out of the body, the fact that he smoked cigarettes and used drugs which clouded his brain to such an extent that it had become impossible for him to carry anything through of his psychic experiences. When I told him that in the body, he made a valiant effort to rid himself of the habit which he acknowledged. This case illustrates how careful we should be to be clean in our habits; in everything to regard this body of ours as the Temple of God, and refrain from defiling it as we would refrain from defiling a house of God built of stone and mortar, which is not one millionth part as holy as the body wherewith we have been endowed. The brain, in particular, is the great and important instrument whereby we are doing our work in the Physical World, and we obviously should not use any intoxicants or drugs which muddle it and thus prevent our making the progress we expect.
It is a trite saying that "man is of few days and full of trouble." Among all the vicissitudes of life none affects us more powerfully than loss of health. We may lose fortunes or friends with comparative equanimity, but when health fails and death threatens, the strongest falter; realizing human impotence we are more ready to turn to divine power for succor then than at other times. Therefore, the office of spiritual adviser has always been closely associated with healing.
Among savages the priest was also "medicine man." In ancient Greece, Aesculapius was particularly sought by those in need of healing. The church followed in his steps. Certain Catholic orders have continued the endeavor to assuage pain during the centuries which have intervened between that day and the present. In times of sickness the "good Father" came as a representative of our Father in Heaven, and what he lacked in skill was made up by love and sympathy — if he was indeed a true and holy priest — and by the faith engendered in the patient by the priestly office. His care of the patient did not commence at the sick bed, nor was it terminated at recovery. The gratitude of the patient toward the physician was added to the veneration felt for the spiritual adviser, and as a consequence the power of the priest to help and uplift his erstwhile patient was enormously increased, and the tie between them was closer than possible where the offices of spiritual and medical adviser are divorced.
It is patent that the art of medicine has reached a stage of efficiency which could not have been attained save by devotion to that one particular end and aim. The safeguards of sanitary laws, the extinction of insect carriers of disease are monumental testimonies to the value of modern scientific methods. Thus it may seem as if all were well and there were no need of further effort. But in reality, until humanity as a whole enjoys perfect health, there is no issue more important than the question, How may we attain and maintain perfect health?
In addition to the regular school of surgery and medicine, which depends exclusively upon physical means for the care of disease, other systems have sprung up which depend entirely on mental healing. It is the custom of organizations which advocate "mind cure," "nature cure," and other like methods to hold experience meetings and publish journals with testimonials from grateful supporters who have benefited by their treatments, and if physicians of the regular school did likewise there would be no lack of similar testimonies of their efficiency.
The opinion of thousands is of great value, but it does not prove anything, for thousands may hold an opposite view. Occasionally a single man may be right and the rest of the world wrong, as when Galileo maintained that the Earth moves. Today the whole world has been converted to the opinion for which he was persecuted as a heretic. We maintain that as man is a composite being, cures are successful in proportion as they remedy defects on the physical, moral, and mental planes of being.
As the great majority of people do not make a distinction between curing and healing, it may be well to explain the difference which is primarily one of cooperation or the lack thereof. One person may undertake to "cure" another by massage or drugs; the patient in either of these cases is passive as the clay that is being molded by the potter. There is no doubt that under such treatment trouble may disappear and the person be made well, but this is only a temporary relief: he has not received the proper appreciation of the underlying cause of his disease, he does not understand that the illness was a consequence of breaking the laws of Nature, and is therefore very liable to go and do the same things over again with the result that his malady returns. A "cure" is a physical process. Healing is radically different; there the sufferer is always required to cooperate both spiritually and physically with the healer.
To make this clear we can do not better than view the life and work of our great Leader, the Christ. When people came to Him to be healed they did not expect a physical treatment, but knew that relief would be given through the power of the Spirit. They had unlimited confidence in Him, and that this was essential we see from the incidents recorded in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew where He is said to have gone among the people with whom Jesus, the original owner of the body, had dwelt in early youth. They saw only the outward man: "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph; are not his brethren with us?" etc. They believed that nothing great could come out of Nazareth, and according to their faith it was done unto them, for we read that "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
But faith without works is dead, and in every case where Christ healed anyone, this person had to do something; he had to cooperate actively with the great Healer before his cure could be accomplished. He said, "Stretch forth thy hand," and when the man did so the hand was healed; to another, "Take up thy bed and walk," and when he did so the malady disappeared; to the blind, "Go and bathe in the pool of Siloam"; to the leper, "Show thyself to the priest, offer your gifts," etc. In every case there was active cooperation upon the part of the one to be healed, which helped the Healer. They were simple requirements, but such as they were they had to be complied with, so that the spirit of obedience could aid the Healer's work. When Naaman came to Elijah and thought that this prophet was going to come out with a great show of magic and ceremony to dispel the leprous spots from his body he was domed to disappointment. And when the prophet sent word to him, "Go and wash seven times in the river Jordan," he was enraged to the point of crying out, "Have we not great rivers in Assyria and why should I go and wash in the Jordan? What nonsense!" He lacked the spirit of submission which is absolutely necessary in order that the work may be done, and it is safe to say that had he persisted he would not have received the healing of his malady. Neither would any of those who were healed by the Christ have been affected unless they had obeyed and had done as they were bidden. This is a law of Nature that is absolutely sure. It is disobedience that brings disease. Obedience, no matter whether that involves washing in the Jordan or stretching forth a hand, shows a change of mind, and the man is therefore in a position to receive the healing balm which may come through the Christ, or through a healer of one kind or another as the case may be. Primarily, in all cases, the healing force comes our Heavenly Father, Who is the Great Physician.
These are the three great factors in healing: first, the power, from our Father in Heaven; next, the healer, and third, the obedient mind of the patient upon which the power of the Father can act through the healer in such a way as to dispel all bodily ills.
Let us now understand that the whole universe is pervaded with the power of the Father, always available to cure all ills of whatever nature; that is the great certainty.
The healer is the focus, the vehicle through which the power is infused into the patient's body. If he is a proper instrument, consecrated, harmonious, really and truly in tune with the Infinite, there is no limit to the wonderful works of the Father which may be performed through him when opportunity presents a patient of a properly receptive and obedient mind.
Among all the foolish and fallacious nonsense which has been circulated concerning the Rosicrucians during the past centuries, there is one great truth: "Members of the Order aim to heal the sick and have superior means of accomplishing this benevolent purpose." Earlier religious orders have sought to advance spiritually by castigating and abusing the body, but the Rosicrucians exhibit the tenderest care for this instrument. There are two reasons for their healing activities. Like all other earnest followers of Christ they are longingly looking for "the day of the Lord." They know that Lucifer, the false Light of Lemuria, implanted passion, inaugurating begettal in sin, and caused sorrow, pain and death; also that Christ, the true Light of the coming New Galilee, inaugurated the Immaculate Conception, and preached the gospel of redemption from sin by love. Celibacy is expedient for the aspirants in the East, but is contrary to the scheme of evolution for the West, because a new race is to be cradled here, and generative purity is therefore the watchword of the Disciple in this part of the world. A new race is to be loved into existence, and thus the ills that now afflict humanity through generations of begettal in passion will cease; even Death will at last be overcome in the new dispensation, because the ethereal purity of the bodies will obviate necessity for renewal.
While there is much definite information about that age in the Bible, one point is shrouded in insoluble mystery: "The day knoweth no man, not even the Angels in Heaven, nor the Son." Christians in all ages since the Gospel was first preached have yearned for that day when the Sons of Light shall be manifest. The Father alone, being Highest Initiate among the Lords of Mind, is able to foresee the time when the separative, self-seeking mind will yield to the self-negating, unifying spirit of love. One point is very clear, however: It will be just as impossible for anyone to live under the conditions of the New Heaven and the New Earth who has not the properly constituted body, called "Wedding Garment" in the Bible, as it was for the degenerate Atlanteans who lacked lungs to breathe when the atmospheric change came.
It is a scientific fact that the state of the blood affects the mind and vice versa. A sound body is therefore indispensable to sane mentality. Only a sane mind can transcend passion; only a sound body can generate another that is as pure. The Rosicrucians have aimed to heal the body that it may harbor a sane mind and a pure love, for each conception under those conditions is a step toward the day of the lord for which we all long so ardently. This is the reason for the healing activities, and it is the meaning of our motto, "A Sane Mind, a Soft Heart, a Sound Body."
It has been written in various works that the members of the order took a vow to heal others free of charge. This statement is somewhat garbled. The lay brothers took a vow to minister to all according to the best of their ability free of charge. That vow included healing, of course, in the case of such men as Paracelsus, who had ability in that direction; by the combination method of physical remedies applied under favorable stars and spiritual counsel he was highly successful. Others were not suited to be healers but labored in other directions, but all were alike in one particular — they never charged for their services, and they labored in secret without flourish of trumpet or sound of drum.
Christ gave two commands to His messengers: "Preach the Gospel" (of the coming Age) and "Heal the sick." One is as binding as the other, and, for the foregoing reasons, as necessary. To comply with the second command the Elder Brothers have evolved a system of healing which combines the best points in the various schools of today with a method of diagnosis and treatments as certain as it is simple, and thus a long step has been taken to lift the art of healing from the sands of experiment to the rock of exact knowledge.
It is a true, good and valid reason when we say that we want to help others for Christ's sake. He is now immured in the Earth, groaning and travailing and waiting for liberation. Pain and sickness are caused by transgression of the laws of life, therefore, they crystallize the dense body, give a firmer grip on the vital body and retard the day of our liberation, as well as His. By helping the sick to attain health and by teaching them to live in harmony with the laws of life so that they may maintain health, we are hastening the day of His coming. May God bless our efforts and strengthen our hands in the Good Work.
Our method of healing is not altogether a spiritual matter. We use physical means wherever it is possible. There are times even when we send our patients to a doctor in order that they may obtain quick relief from him by a certain treatment which we cannot give as promptly by other methods. Also, the diet of patients receives careful attention, for naturally, as the body is built up of physical substances, we are giving medicine by using the right food. But in addition, healing is carried on by the Elder Brothers through a band of Invisible Helpers whom they are instructing.
These Invisible Helpers are Probationers who during the daytime live a worthy life of helpfulness and thereby fit themselves or earn for themselves the privilege of being helpful through the instrumentality of the Elder Brothers at night. These Probationers are gathered together in bands according to their temperaments and ability. They are under instruction of other Probationers who are doctors, and all of them work under the guidance of the Elder Brothers, who naturally are the moving Spirits in the whole work.
The system of forming and organizing a band of Invisible Helpers is accomplished by the use of the effluvia from their vital bodies. The first of this is obtained at the time when the Probationer signs his obligation and it is renewed every day when he makes the record upon his report blank. So long as he is faithful and lives the life of purity and service it forms an unbroken link between him and the Elder Brothers. Each group of healers usually consists of twelve Probationers besides their instructor and they are generally taken from the same locality because the night is the same for them all. It would not be feasible to group one living in Australia with one living in Alaska for one would be going about his daily work while the other is taking his nightly rest. But people taken from almost anywhere in North or South America spend about the identical hours in rest and recuperation and these Probationers are then grouped according to their rising signs so that they may form a complete circle.
Regarding the system used to find those who have written to Headquarters for help, the same method is followed as in finding the Probationers. That is to say, applicants for relief are required to write the letter of request with pen and ink. Thus the paper is impregnated with a part of their vital body and this is taken from the letter by the Elder Brothers. It contains an accurate gauge of the condition of the individual from whom it came and it also acts as an "open sesame" to the Helpers who are given charge of this case. Through that they have free access to his body, and a considerable number of patients who come for healing write that they have both seen and felt the Helpers working both inside and outside their bodies. As the condition of the patient changes so does the record. Therefore the patients are required to write with pen and ink a few words every week and mail it to Headquarters. Thus the Elder Brothers are in constant touch with their condition and are able to direct intelligently the work of restoration to health.
This work never ceases. It is continuous, as the Sun is always absent from a part of the globe and the Probationers in that part are active in the work of healing and helping during the hours of bodily rest.
Anatomically man belongs to the mammals, whose blood corpuscles are not nucleated. The nuclei found in the blood of lower animals are the vantage ground of the Group Spirits, but the higher animals are so far advanced upon the road to individualization that their blood is free from this influence. In the fetus where the mother acts as a Group Spirit for the first few weeks, she nucleates the blood, but as soon as the Ego begins work, the first thing it does is to disintegrate these nucleated blood corpuscles, and at the time of the quickening not a single such corpuscle remains. The Ego is master of its vehicle, a heritage which no one may take from it under any pretense whatever. To do so is black magic, whether the person knows it or not, and though the benevolent motive would of course have a certain mitigating effect in another direction, the fact nevertheless remains that one is upon dangerous ground when attempting to meddle with the blood of anyone who does not desire it and who has not asked for such treatment.
There is only one exception to this rule. Children until the age of puberty are, so to say, a part of their parents, because there is stored in the thymus gland an essence of the parental blood which the child uses in manufacturing its own supply during the years of childhood, while the desire body is in the course of gestation. As time goes on the supply in the thymus gland becomes smaller and smaller and the child attains more and more to a realization of its own individuality. By the time the thymus gland has disappeared the desire body has matured sufficiently to take part in the alchemy of transmuting the Saturnine skeleton into the Jupiterian vehicle which will thus incorporate the essence of the present physical body. Interference with the blood stops this process; therefore it is only until the time of puberty that the parent may act for the child in giving the ether which admits the Invisible Helper.
The greatest drawback to our healing activity comes from the negligence of patients. Our requirements are very simple. We only ask them to write once a week with pen and ink, so that the etheric effluvia coming from the hand during writing may furnish our Invisible Helpers with a key of admission to the patient's system. But simple as is this rule, some fail to write. Here is a case where a person who had for many years had vertebrae displaced and who was cured by our treatment, though osteopaths, chiropractors, and several others who had tried, had found it impossible to replace these vertebrae. The poor man was therefore in constant pain and sick in bed most of the time, entirely unable to work. The treatment of our Invisible Helpers replaced the vertebrae, and they are still in place. The man went to work and it seemed wonderful. But becoming so elated at the idea that he was so entirely free, he disregarded our instruction to keep on writing, so that our Invisible helpers might have the chance to keep his vertebrae in place for a sufficient length of time till they would stay put. Now comes the following letter showing that we were right in requesting him to do this, and he did wrong not to obey. He says: "A short time ago I wrote that I was cured, and would discontinue my weekly letters, but I see now that I have made a big mistake. Since then my back has pained me nearly all the time and I am getting round-shouldered again, though the vertebrae are in place where the injury was. It seems as though I am asking a lot of you to take this up the second time, but I did not realize the influence the Invisible Helpers had over me and how much I was dependent on them."
In the coming of the Christ to Earth we have an analogy between it and the administering of the spiritual Panacea, according to the law, "As above, so below." There is in every little cell of the human body a separate cell life, but over and above that is the Ego which directs and controls all cells so that they act in harmony. During certain protracted illnesses the Ego becomes so intent upon the suffering that it ceases to vivify the cells fully; thus bodily ailment breeds mental inaction and it may become impossible to throw off disease without a special impulse to dispel the mental fog and start the cell activities anew. That is what the spiritual Panacea does. As the inrushing Christ Life on Golgotha commenced to dispel the shell of fear bred by inexorable law that hung like a pall about the Earth; as it started the millions of human beings upon the path of peace and good will, so also when the Panacea is applied does the concentrated Christ Life therein contained rush through the patient's body and infuse each cell with a rhythm that awakens the imprisoned Ego from its lethargy and gives back life and health.
In order to describe the Panacea an experience of the author will be related: A substance was shown to him in the Temple of the Rosicrucians on a certain memorable night, with which the Universal Spirit could be combined as readily as great quantities of ammonia combine with water. Three spheres were suspended one above the other in the center of the Temple, the middle sphere being about half way between the floor and ceiling. It was much larger than the other two, which hung one above and one below. Inside the large central sphere was a smaller container which held a number of packages filled with that substance. When the Brothers had placed themselves in certain positions, when the harmony of certain music had prepared the way, suddenly the three globes began to glow with the three primary colors, blue, yellow, and red. To the vision of the writer it was plain how during the incantation of the formula the container having in it the before mentioned packages became aglow with a spiritual essence that was not there before. Some of these were later used by the Brother with instantaneous success. Before them the crystallizing particles enveloping the spiritual centers of the patient scattered like magic, and the sufferer awoke to a recognition of physical health and well-being.
If we begin with the dense vehicle and consider the physical means available to improve it and make it the best possible instrument for the Spirit and afterward consider the spiritual means to the same end, we shall be including all the other vehicles as well; therefore we shall follow that method.
The first visible state of a human embryo is a small, globulous, pulpy or jelly-like substance, similar to albumen, or the white of an egg. In this pulpy globule various particles of more solid matter appear. These gradually increase in bulk and density until they come in contact with one another. The different points of contact are slowly modified into joints or hinges and thus a distinct framework of solid matter, a skeleton, is gradually formed.
During the formation of this framework the surrounding pulpy matter accumulates and changes in form until at length that degree of organization develops which is known as a fetus. This becomes larger, firmer, and more fully organized up to the time of birth, when the stage of infancy begins.
The same process of consolidation which commenced with the first visible stage of existence, still continues. The being passes through the different stages of infancy, childhood, youth, manhood or womanhood, old age, and at last comes to the change that is called death.
Each of these stages is characterized by an increasing degree of hardness and solidity.
There is a gradual increase in density and firmness of the bones, tendons, cartilages, ligaments, tissues, membranes, the coverings and even the very substance of the stomach, liver, lungs, and other organs. The joints become rigid and dry. They begin to crack and grate when they are moved, because the synovial fluid, which oils and softens them, is diminished in quantity and rendered too thick and glutinous to serve that purpose.
The heart, the brain, and the entire muscular system, spinal cord, nerves, eyes, etc., partake of the same consolidating process, growing more and more rigid. Millions upon millions of the minute capillary vessels which ramify and spread like the branches of a tree throughout the entire body, gradually choke up and change into solid fiber, no longer pervious to the blood.
The larger blood vessels, both arteries and veins, harden, lose their elasticity, grow smaller, and become incapable of carrying the required amount of blood. The fluids of the body thicken and become putrid, loaded with earthy matter. The skin withers and grows wrinkled and dry. The hair falls out for lack of oil. The teeth decay and drop out for lack of gelatin. The motor nerves begin to dry up and the movements of the body become awkward, and slow. The senses fail; the circulation of the blood is retarded; it stagnates and congeals in the vessels. More and more the body loses its former powers. Once elastic, healthy, alert, pliable, active, and sensitive, it becomes rigid, slow, and insensible. Finally, it dies of old age.
The question now arises, What is the cause of this gradual ossification of the body, bringing rigidity, decrepitude and death?
From the purely physical standpoint, chemists seem to be unanimous in the opinion that it is principally an increase of phosphate of lime (bone matter), carbonate of lime (common chalk), and sulfate of lime (plaster of Paris), with occasionally a little magnesia and an insignificant amount of other earthy matters.
The only difference between the body of old age and that of childhood is the greater density, toughness and rigidity, caused by the greater proportion of calcareous, earthy matter entering into the composition of the former. The bones of a child are composed of three parts of gelatin to one part of earthy matter. In old age this proportion is reversed. What is the source of this death-dealing accumulation of solid matter?
It seems to be axiomatic that the entire body is nourished by the blood and that everything contained in the body, of whatever nature, has first been in the blood. Analysis shows that the blood holds earthy substances of the same kind as the solidifying agents — and mark! — the arterial blood contains more earthy matter than the venous blood.
This is highly important. It shows that in every cycle the blood deposits earthy substances. It is therefore the common carrier that chokes up the system. But its supply of earthy matter must be replenished; otherwise it could not continue to do this. Where does it renew its deadly load? There can be but one answer to that question — from the food and drink; there is absolutely no other source.
The food and drink which nourish the body must be, at the same time, the primary source of the calcareous, earthy matter which is deposited by the blood all over the system, causing decrepitude and finally death. To sustain physical life it is necessary that we eat and drink, but as there are many kinds of food and drink, it behooves us, in the light of the above facts, to ascertain, if possible, what kinds contain the smallest proportion of destructive matter. If we can find such food we can lengthen our lives, and from an esoteric standpoint, it is desirable to live as long as possible in each dense body, particularly after a start has been made toward the path. So many years are required to educate, through childhood and hot youth, each body inhabited, until the Spirit can at least obtain some control over it, that the longer we retain a body that has become amenable to the Spirit's promptings, the better. Therefore it is highly important that the pupil partake of such food and drink only as will deposit the least amount of hardening matter and at the same time keep the excretory organs active.
The skin and the urinary system are the saviors of man from an early grave. Were it not that by their means, most of the earthy matter taken from our food is eliminated, no one would live ten years.
It has been estimated that ordinary, undistilled spring water contains carbonate and other compounds of lime to such an extent that the average quantity used each day by one person in the form of tea, coffee, soup, etc., would in forty years form a block of solid chalk or marble the size of a man. It is also a significant fact that although phosphate of lime is always found in the urine of adults, it is not found in the urine of children, because in them the rapid formation of bone requires that this salt be retained. During the period of gestation there is very little earthy matter in the urine of the mother, as it is used in the building of the fetus. In ordinary circumstances, however, earthy matter is very much in evidence in the urine of adults and to this we owe the feat that physical life reaches even its present length.
Undistilled water, when taken internally, is man's worst enemy, but used externally, it becomes his best friend. It keeps the pores of the skin open, induces circulation of the blood and prevents the stagnation which affords the best opportunity for the depositing of the earthy, death-dealing phosphate of lime.
Harvey, who discovered the circulation of the blood, said that health denotes a free circulation and disease is the result of an obstructed circulation of the blood.
The bathtub is a great aid in keeping up the health of the body and should be freely used by the aspirant to the higher life. Perspiration, sensible and insensible, carries more earthy matter out of the body than any other agency.
As long as fuel is supplied and the fire kept free from ashes, it will burn. The kidneys are important in carrying away the ashes from the body, but despite the great amount of earthy matter carried away by urine, enough remains in many cases to form gravel and stone in the bladder, causing untold agony and often death.
Let no one be deceived into thinking that water contains less stone because it has been boiled. The stone that forms on the bottom of the teakettle has been left there by the evaporated water which escaped from the kettle as steam. If the steam were condensed, we should have distilled water, which is an important adjunct in keeping the body young.
There is absolutely no earthy matter in distilled water, nor in rain water, snow or hail (except what may be gathered in contact with house-tops, etc.), but coffee, tea, or soup made with ordinary water, no matter how long boiled, is not purified of the earthy particles; on the contrary, the longer they are boiled, the more heavily charged with ash they become. Those suffering from urinary diseases should never drink any but distilled water.
It may be said generally of the solid foods we take into our systems, that fresh vegetables and ripe fruits contain the greatest proportion of nutritious matter and the least of earthy substances. Proper food given at the right time and under the right conditions will not only cure but prevent disease.
It is popularly supposed that sugar or any saccharine substance is injurious to the general health, and particularly to the teeth, causing their decay and the resulting toothache. Only under certain circumstances is this true. It is harmful in certain diseases, such as biliousness and dyspepsia, or if held long in the mouth as candy, but if sparingly used during good health and the amount gradually increased as the stomach becomes accustomed to its use, it will be found very nourishing. Horses, cows, and other animals, which are all fond of the refuse syrup fed to them during sugar-cane harvest time grow fat, their coats becoming sleek and shining. Horses fed on boiled carrots for a few weeks will get a coat like silk, owing to the saccharine juices of that vegetable. Sugar is a nutritious and beneficial article of diet and contains no ash whatever.
Fruits are an ideal diet. They are in fact evolved by the tree to induce animal and man to eat them, so that the seed may be disseminated, as flowers entice bees for a similar purpose.
Fresh fruit contains water of the purest and best kind, capable of permeating the system in a marvelous manner. Grape juice is a particularly wonderful solvent. It thins and stimulates the blood, opening the way into capillaries already dried and choked up — if the process has not gone too far. By a course of unfermented grape juice treatment, people with sunken eyes, wrinkled skins and poor complexions become plump, ruddy, and lively. The increased permeability enables the Spirit to manifest more freely and with renewed energy.
Considering the body from a purely physical standpoint, it is what we might call a chemical furnace, the food being the fuel. The more the body is exercised, the more fuel it requires. It would be foolish for a man to change an ordinary diet which for years had adequately nourished him, and take up a new method without due thought as to which would be the best for serving his purpose. To simply eliminate meats from the ordinary diet of meat-eaters would unquestionably undermine the health of most persons. The only safe way is to experiment and study the matter out first, using due discrimination. No fixed rules can be given, the matter of diet being as individual as any other characteristic. All that can be done is to describe the general influence of each chemical element, allowing the aspirant to work out his own method.
Neither must we allow the appearance of a person to influence our judgment as to the condition of his health. Certain general ideas of how a healthy person should look are commonly accepted, but there is no valid reason for so judging. Ruddy cheeks might be an indication of health in one individual and of disease in another. There is no particular rule by which good health can be known except the feeling of comfort and well-being which is enjoyed by the individual himself, irrespective of appearances.
Water is the great solvent.
Nitrogen or protein is the essential builder of flesh, but contains some earthy matter.
Carbohydrates or sugars are the principle power-producers.
Fats are the producers of heat and the storers of reserve force.
Ash is mineral, earthy, and chokes the system. We need have no fear of not obtaining it in sufficient quantities to build the bones; on the contrary, we cannot be too careful to get as little as possible.
The calorie is the simple unit of heat. In a pound of Brazil nuts, for instance, when bought at the market, 49.6 per cent of the whole is waste (shells), but the remaining 50.4 per cent contains 1485 calories. That means that about one-half of what is bought is waste, but the remainder contains the number of calories named. That we may get the nearest amount of strength from our food we must pay attention to the number of calories it contains, for from them we obtain the energy required to perform our daily work.
Chocolate is the most nutritious food we have; also cocoa, in its powdered state, is the most dangerous of all foods, containing three times as much ash as most of the others, and ten times as much as many. It is a powerful food and also a powerful poison, for it chokes the system more quickly than any other substance.
Of course, it will require some study at first to secure the best nourishment, but it pays in health and longevity and secures the free use of the body, making study and application to higher things possible. After a while one will become so familiar with the subject that he will need to give it no particular attention.
It must be remembered that not all of the chemical substances contained in each article of food are available for use in the system, because there are certain portions which the body refuses to assimilate.
Of vegetables we digest only about 83 per cent of the proteins, 90 per cent of the fat, and 95 per cent of the carbohydrates.
Of fruits we assimilate about 85 per cent of the proteins, 90 per cent of the fat, and 90 per cent of the carbohydrates.
Phosphorus is the particular element by means of which the Ego is able to express thought and influence the dense physical body. It is also a fact that the proportion and variation of this substance is found to correspond to the state and stage of intelligence of the individual. Idiots have very little phosphorus; shrewd thinkers have much; and in the animal world, the degree of consciousness and intelligence is in proportion to the amount of phosphorus contained in the brain.
It is therefore of great importance that the aspirant who is to use his body for mental and spiritual work, should supply his brain with the substance necessary for that purpose. Most vegetables and fruits contain a certain amount of phosphorus, but it is a peculiar fact that the greater proportion is contained in the leaves, which are usually thrown away. It is found in considerable quantities in grapes, onions, sage, beans, cloves, pineapples, in the leaves and stalks of many vegetables, and also in sugar-cane juice, but not in refined sugar.
The following table shows the proportions of phosphoric acid in a few articles:
100,000 parts of:
Barley, dry, contains of phosphoric acid: 210 parts
Beans: 292 parts
Beets: 167 parts
Beets, Leaves of: 690 parts
Buckwheat: 170 parts
Carrots, dry: 395 parts
Carrots, Leaves of: 963 parts
Linseed: 880 parts
Linseed, Stalks of: 118 parts
Parsnips: 111 parts
Parsnips, Leaves of: 1784 parts
Peas: 190 parts
In conclusion, let the aspirant choose such food as is most easily digested, for the more easily the energy in food is extracted, the longer time will the system have for recuperation before it becomes necessary to replenish the supply. Milk should never be drunk as one may drink a glass of water. Taken in that way, it forms in the stomach a large cheese ball, quite impervious to the action of the gastric juices. It should be sipped for it will then form many small globules in the stomach, which are easily assimilated. Citrus fruits are powerful antiseptics, and cereals, particularly rice, are antitoxins of great efficiency.
Having now explained, from the purely material point of view, what is necessary for the dense body, we will consider the subject from the esoteric side, taking into consideration the effect on the two invisible bodies which interpenetrate the dense body.
The particular stronghold of the desire body is in the muscles and the cerebrospinal nervous system, as already shown. The energy displayed by a person when laboring under great excitement or anger is an example of this. At such times the whole muscular system is tense and no hard labor is so exhausting as a "fit of temper." It sometimes leaves the body prostrated for weeks. There can be seen the necessity for improving the desire body by controlling the temper, thus sparing the dense body the suffering resulting from the ungoverned action of the desire body.
Looking at the matter from an esoteric standpoint, all consciousness in the Physical World is the result of the constant war between the desire and vital bodies.
The tendency of the vital body is to soften and build. Its chief expression is the blood and the glands, also the sympathetic nervous system, having obtained ingress into the stronghold of the desire body (the muscular and the voluntary nervous systems) when it began to develop the heart into a voluntary muscle.
The tendency of the desire body is to harden, and it in turn has invaded the realm of the vital body, gaining possession of the spleen and making the white blood corpuscles, which are not "the policemen of the system" as science now thinks, but destroyers. It uses the blood to carry these tiny destroyers all over the body. They pass through the walls of arteries and veins whenever annoyance is felt, and especially in times of great anger. Then the rush of forces in the desire body makes the arteries and veins swell and opens the way for the passage of the white corpuscles into the tissues of the body, where they form bases for the earthy matter which kills the body.
Given the same amount and kind of food, the person of serene and jovial disposition will live longer, enjoy better health, and be more active than the person who worries, or loses his temper. The latter will make and distribute through his body more destructive white corpuscles than the former. Were a scientist to analyze the bodies of these two men, he would find that there was considerably less earthy matter in the body of the kindly disposed man than in that of the scold.
This destruction is constantly going on and it is not possible to keep all the destroyers out, nor is such the intention. If the vital body had uninterrupted sway, it would build and build, using all the energy for that purpose. There would be no consciousness and thought. It is because the desire body checks and hardens the inner parts that consciousness develops.
There was a time in the far, far past when we set out the concretions, as do the mollusks, leaving the body soft, flexible, and boneless, but at that time we had only the dull, glimmering consciousness the mollusks now have. Before we could advance, it became necessary to retain the concretions and it will be found that the stage of consciousness of any species is in proportion to the development of the bony framework within. The Ego must have the solid bones with the semi-fluid red marrow, in order to be able to build the red blood corpuscles for its expression. That is the highest development of the dense body.
Most people feel that a meal without meat is incomplete, for from time immemorial it has been regarded as an axiom that meat is the most strengthening food we have. All other foodstuffs have been looked upon as mere accessories to the one or more kinds of flesh on the menu. Nothing could be more erroneous; science has proved by experiments that invariable the nourishment obtained from vegetables has a greater sustaining power, and the reason is easy to see when we look into the matter from the esoteric side.
The law of assimilation is that "no particle of food may be built into the body by the forces whose task that is until it has been overcome by the in-dwelling spirit," because he must be absolute and undisputed ruler in the body, governing the cell lives as an autocrat, or they would each go their own way as they do in decay when the Ego has fled.
It is evident that the dimmer the consciousness of a cell is, the easier it is to overpower it, and the longer it will remain in subjection. The different kingdoms have different vehicles and consequently a different consciousness. The mineral has only its dense body and a consciousness like the deepest trance. It would therefore be easiest to subject foods taken directly from the mineral kingdom. Mineral food would remain with us the longest, obviating the necessity of eating so often; but unfortunately we find that the human organism vibrates so rapidly that it is incapable of assimilating the inert mineral directly. Salt and like substances are passed out of the system at once without having been assimilated at all; the air is full of nitrogen which we need to repair waste, we breathe it into our system, yet cannot assimilate it or any other mineral till it has first been transmuted in Nature's laboratory and built into the plants.
The plants have a dense and a vital body, which enables them to do this work; their consciousness is as a deep, dreamless sleep. Thus it is easy for the Ego to overpower the vegetable cells and keep them in subjection for a long time, hence the great sustaining power of the vegetable.
In animal food the cells have already become more individualized, and as the animal has a desire body giving it a passional nature, it is easily understood that when we eat meat it is harder to overcome these cells which have animal consciousness resembling the dream state, and also that such particles will not stay long in subjection, hence a meat diet requires larger quantities and more frequent meals than the vegetable or fruit diet. If we should go one step farther and eat the flesh of carnivorous animals, we should find ourselves hungry all the time, for there the cells have become exceedingly individualized and will therefore seek their freedom and gain it so much the quicker. That this is so, is well illustrated in the case of the wolf, the vulture, and the cannibal, which have become proverbs for hunger, and as the human liver is too small to take care of even the ordinary meat diet, it is evident that if the cannibal lived solely upon human flesh instead of using it as an occasional "tidbit," he would soon succumb, for while too much of the carbohydrates, sugars, starches, and fats do little if any harm to the system, being exhaled through the lungs as carbonic acid gas or passing as water by way of the kidneys and the skin, an excess of meat is also burned up, but leaves poisonous uric acid and it is being more and more recognized that the less meat we eat the better for our well-being.
It is natural that we should desire the very best of food, but every animal body has in it the poisons of decay. The venous blood is filled with carbon dioxide and other noxious products on their way to the kidneys or the pores of the skin to be expelled as urine or perspiration. These loathsome substances are in every part of the flesh and when we eat such food we are filling our own bodies with toxic poisons. Much sickness is due to our use of flesh foods.
There is plenty of proof that a carnivorous diet fosters ferocity. We may mention the well-known fierceness of beasts of prey. On the other hand, the prodigious strength and the docile nature of the ox, the elephant, and the horse show the effects of the herb diet on animals.
As soon as we adopt the vegetarian diet, we escape one of the most serious menaces of health, namely the putrefaction of particles of flesh embedded between the teeth, and this is not one of the least arguments why a vegetarian diet should be adopted. Fruits, cereals, and vegetables are from their very natures slow to decay, each particle contains an enormous amount of ether which keeps it alive and sweet for a long time, whereas the ether which interpenetrated the flesh and composed the vital body of an animal, was taken away with the Spirit thereof at the time of death. Thus the danger from infection through vegetable food is very small in the first place, but many of them so far from being poisonous, are actually antiseptic in a very high degree. This applies particularly to the citrus fruits: oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc., not to speak of the king of all antiseptics, the pineapple, which has been used very often with complete success as a cure for the dreaded diphtheria, which is only another name for a septic sore throat. Thus instead of poisoning the digestive tract with putrefactive elements as meats do, fruits cleanse and purify the system, and the pineapple is one of the superior to pepsin, and no fiendish cruelty is used to obtain it.
There are twelve salts in the body; they are very vital and represent the twelve signs of the zodiac. These salts are required for the building of the body. They are not mineral salts as generally supposed, but are vegetable. The mineral has no vital body, and it is only by way of the vital body that assimilation is accomplished; therefore, we have to obtain these salts through the vegetable kingdom.
Doctors claim to do this, but they are not aware that fire used in the process drives out and destroys the vital body of the plant just as cremation treats our body, and leaves only the mineral parts. Therefore, if we desire to renew the supply of any salt in our body we must obtain it from the uncooked plant. To the sick this is the way it should be administered.
But we must not jump to the conclusion that everyone should quit eating meat and live on raw plant life. At our present stage of evolution there are very few who can do so. We must take care not to raise the vibrations of our bodies too rapidly, for we, to continue our labor among present conditions, must have a body fitted for the work, but let us keep the thought always with us.
There is in the skull at the base of the brain a flame. It burns continually in the medulla oblongata at the head of the spinal cord, and like the fire on the altar of the tabernacle, is of divine origin. This fire emits a singing sound like the buzz of a bee, which is the keynote of the physical body, and is sounded by the archetype. It builds in and cements together that mass of cells known as "our body."
The fire burns high or low, clear or dim, according to how we feed it. There is fire in everything in nature except the Mineral Kingdom. It has no vital body and therefore no avenue for the ingress of the Life Spirit, the fire. We replenish this sacred fire partly from the forces from the Sun entering the vital body through the etheric counterpart of the spleen and from there to the solar plexus where it is colored and then carried upward through the blood. We also feed the fire from the Living Fire we absorb from the uncooked food which we eat and thus assimilate.
Looking at the matter of flesh-eating from the ethical side also, it is against the higher conception to kill to eat. In olden times man went out to the chase as any beast of prey, rough and callous; now he does his hunting in the butcher shop, where none of the nauseating sights of the slaughter house will sicken him. If each had to go into one of those blood places where horrors are enacted day after day to be able to satisfy an abnormal injurious habit which causes more sickness and suffering than even liquor craving; if each had to wield the bloody knife and plunge it into the quivering flesh of his victim, how much meat would we eat? Very little. In order to escape doing this nauseating work ourselves on occasion, we force a fellow being to stand in that bloody pen day after day killing thousands of animals every day of the week; we brutalize him to such an extent that the law will not allow him to sit on a jury in a capital case because he has ceased to have any regard for life.
The animals which we kill also cry aloud against this murder; there is a cloud of gloom and hatred over the great slaughter cities. The law protects cats and dogs against cruelty. We all rejoice to see the little squirrels in the city parks come and take food from our hands, but as soon as there is money in the flesh or fur of an animal, man ceases to have regard for its right to live, and becomes its most dangerous foe, feeding and breeding it for gain, imposing suffering and hardships upon a fellow being for the sake of gold. We have a heavy debt to pay to the lower creatures whose mentors we should be; whose murderers we are, and the good law which works ever to correct abuses will also in time relegate the habit of eating murdered animals to the scrapheap of obsolete practices as cannibalism is now.
It is the nature of a beast of prey to eat any animal that comes in its path, and its organs are such that it must have that kind of a diet to exist, but everything is in a stage of becoming; it is always changing to something higher. Man, in his earlier stages of unfoldment, was also like the beasts of prey in certain respects; however, he is to become God-like and thus he must cease to destroy at some time in order that he may commence to create. Flesh food has fostered human ingenuity of a low order in the past; it has served a purpose in our evolution; but we are now standing on the threshold of a new age when self-sacrifice and service will bring spiritual growth to humanity. The evolution of the mind will bring a wisdom beyond our greatest conception, but before it will be safe to entrust us with that wisdom, we must become harmless as doves, for otherwise we should be apt to turn it to such selfish and destructive purposes that it would be an inconceivable menace to our fellow men. To avoid this the vegetarian diet must be adopted.
We have been taught that there is no life in the universe but the life of God; that "in Him we live and move and have our being"; that His life animates everything that is, and therefore we naturally understand that as soon as we take life we are destroying form built by God for his manifestation. The lower animals are evolving Spirits and have sensibilities. It is their desire for experience that causes them to build their various forms, and when we take their forms away from them we deprive them of their opportunity for gaining experience. We hinder their evolution instead of helping them, and the day will come when we shall feel a deep disgust at the thought of making our stomachs the burying ground for the carcasses of murdered animals. All true Christians will be abstainers from flesh foods out of pure compassion; they will realize that all life is God's life, and to cause suffering to any sentient being is wrong.
In a great many places where the Bible speaks of "meat," it is very plain that flesh food is not meant. The chapter in Genesis where man's food is first allotted to him says that he should eat of every tree and herb bearing seed, "and to you it shall be for meat." The most evolved people at all times have abstained from flesh foods. We see, for instance, Daniel, who was a holy man and a wise man, beg that he might not be forced to eat meat, but that he and his companions be given pulse. The children of Israel in the wilderness are spoken of as "lusting after flesh," and their God is angry with them in consequence.
There is an esoteric meaning to the feeding of the multitude where fish was used as food, but looking to the purely material aspect we may sum up the points in our answer by reiterating that we shall some time outgrow flesh and fish eating as we have risen above cannibalism. Whatever license may have been given in the barbaric past will disappear in the altruistic future, when more refined sensibilities shall have awakened us to a fuller sense of the horrors involved in the gratification of a carnivorous taste.
In the most sublime of all prayers, we are taught by the Christ to pray for our daily bread, but under existing modern conditions, alas, how often do we get a stone instead.
Because of our complex civilization, of cold storage methods, and other abominations our food is such that, generally speaking, instead of nourishing the body as it should, it depletes us and makes us subject to various diseases; "indigestible" is a very mild arraignment of the food supply in most places where the public eats.
Even in the home, that which is placed upon the table to nourish and sustain and build the body in health, is often only an apology for food, masquerading under various seasonings and dressings as palatable, for we eat usually to please our palate rather than to nourish our bodies.
On the other hand, there is no denying that some people who profess to cook along scientific lines and with common sense, who profess to be vegetarians and are very strict in their notions of how food should be prepared, seem to lack all appreciation of the fact that food may be made palatable as well as wholesome and nutritious, that there is no incompatibility between the requirements of proper cooking and the pleasure afforded to the palate. Indeed it may be said that unless food is so cooked that it is pleasing to the palate as well as wholesome and nutritious, it falls far short of its full purpose. The palate has been given to us so that we may enjoy our food, that we may, as it were, receive it with gladness and welcome it into our body, for this furthers assimilation and nutrition, whereas unpalatable food is obnoxious to the recipient and therefore not so easily assimilated. This fact should be kept before the mind: It is not how much we eat that counts, but how much we assimilate.
Some who have been improperly instructed in this most important subject of nutrition may have been told that the legumes, peas, beans, etc., will take the place of meat, and they then commenced to devour these vegetables in great quantities after discarding meat. It is perfectly true that beans contain more protein than beefsteak, but the protein contained in the bean is not so readily assimilated. There is heavy waste and also uric acid in such foods that should be reckoned with, for unless counteracted by plenty of green vegetables, disastrous results are bound to follow. It is important to remember, however, that the green vegetables should not be eaten at the same meal with the heavy legumes. There are others who, after leaving the meat diet, start to live on bread, potatoes, and similar starchy foods, with the result that they become undernourished and anemic. A satisfactory diet must be properly balanced in every respect, and only in so far as we study the system of diet required to keep our body in good health can we expect to obtain the proper results.
Diet, like health, is determined individually, and no general standard can be set up. At the same time, it may be safely said that the less meat we can get along with, the better our general health will be. But if we wish to do without it altogether, it is absolutely essential that we should study a table of food values so that we get the necessary proteins from the vegetables we eat. No man can go to the ordinary table and get sufficient nourishment if he eats only the vegetables provided as accessories to the meat; he must have beans, peas, nuts, and like foods which are rich in protein to take the place of the discarded flesh, or he will starve.
The spirit alcohol, which is fermented outside the system, is being superseded by sugar, which ferments within. In the past a stimulant was indispensable in rousing the human Spirit from the lethargy attendant upon a meat diet; the bacchanalian orgies in ancient temples, which properly fill us with horror nowadays, were then of immense value in human development. As consumption of sugar increases, use of alcohol diminishes and, concurrently, the moral standard is gradually elevated. People grow more altruistic and Christlike in proportion to their use of the non-inebriating stimulant, and therefore the temperance movement is one of the most powerful factors to hasten the coming of Christ.
It is evident that evolutionary progress is elevating the lower kingdoms as well as humanity. The animals, particularly the domesticated species, are nearing individualization, and their withdrawal from manifestation has already commenced. As a result it will in time be impossible to obtain flesh food. Then the death knell of "King Alcohol" will have struck, for only flesh eaters crave liquor.
In the meantime plant life is growing more sentient. The lateral limbs of trees produce more abundantly than do vertical branches because in plants, as in us, consciousness results from the antagonistic activities of the desire and vital currents. Lateral limbs are swept through their entire length by desire currents which circle our planet and which act so powerfully in the horizontal animal spines. The desire currents rouse the sleeping plant life in the lateral limbs to a higher degree of consciousness than is the case with the vertical branches, which are traversed lengthwise by vital currents radiating from the center of the Earth. Thus, in time, the plants will also become too sensitive as food and another source must be sought.
Today, we have considerable ability in working with the chemical mineral substances; we mold them into houses, ships, and all outer things which evidence our civilization. We are masters of the minerals outside our body, but powerless to assimilate and use them inside our system to build our organs until the plant life has transmuted crystals into crystalloids. Our work with the minerals in the exterior world is raising their vibration and paving the way for direct interior use. By spiritual alchemy we shall build the temple of the Spirit, conquer the dust whence we came, and qualify as true Master Masons prepared for work in higher spheres.
We may readily conceive that there are more people in the West who die from overeating than from getting too little food. Under certain conditions fasting for a day or two is undoubtedly beneficial, but just as there are gourmands and gluttons, so there are others who go to the opposite extreme and fast to excess. There lies a great danger. The best way is to eat in moderation and to eat the proper kinds of food; then it will not be necessary to fast at all.
If we study the chemistry of food we shall find that certain foods have properties of value to the system under conditions of disorder, and taken properly food is really medicine. All the citrus fruits, for instance, are splendid antiseptics. Thus they prevent disease. All the cereals, particularly rice, are antitoxins; they will kill disease and the germs of putrefaction. Thus, by knowing these medicinal properties of the different foods, we may very readily secure a supply of that which we need to cure our ordinary ailments by food instead of by fasting.
Under the ancient dispensations it was required that sacrifices of bulls and goats should be made as atonement for sin, for man then treasured his material possessions even higher than today, and felt keenly their loss when forced to give them up for such a purpose. Upon the altar of sacrifice men were forced to offer their cherished possessions for every transgression, God appearing to them as a hard taskmaster whose displeasure it was dangerous to incur. But there has always been an esoteric teaching, which is being promulgated exoterically today, and this teaching does not accept the sacrifice of an animal, money, or other possessions, but demands that each one make a sacrifice of himself. This was taught to the aspirants in the ancient Mystery School when they were prepared for the mystic rite of Initiation.
To them were explained the mysteries of the vital body, how it is composed of four ethers, etc. The aspirant was thoroughly instructed in the functions of the two lower ethers as compared with the two higher. He knew that all the purely animal functions of the body depended upon the density of the lower ethers, and that the two upper ethers composed the soul body which was the vehicle of service. He aspired, naturally, to cultivate this glorious garment by self-abnegation, and by curbing the propensities of the lower nature, as we do today.
These facts were kept secret from the masses, as said, or rather they should have been, but some neophytes who were overzealous to attain, no matter how, forgot that it is only by service and unselfishness that the Golden Wedding Garment composed of the two higher ethers is grown. They thought that the esoteric maxim:
"Gold in the crucible,
Wrought in the fire;
Light as the winds,
Higher and higher"
meant only that so long as the lower nature, the dross, was expelled, it did not matter how, and if they could find an easy method, they would have left only the gold composed of the two higher ethers, the soul body, in which they could enter the invisible world without let or hindrance. They reasoned that as the chemical ether is the agent of assimilation, it could be eliminated from the vital body by starving the physical vehicle.
But the result obtained by these misguided people and their followers was far from being what was intended by the training in the Mystery School. The candidate was there taught first and foremost that the body is the Temple of God, and that to defile, destroy, or mutilate it in any manner is a great sin. Indulgence of the appetite is a sin, a defiling practice which brings with it certain retribution, but it is no more to be reprehended than the practice of fasting for soul growth. Right living is neither fasting nor feasting, but giving the body those elements which are necessary to maintain it in the proper form of health, strength, and efficiency as an instrument of the Spirit. Therefore fasting for soul growth is a pseudo-method which has exactly the opposite effect to that which it was designed to accomplish by its shortsighted originators.
It may seem absurd, at the first blush, to say that the more indigestible our foods are the better the health will be; nevertheless, when the statement is slightly qualified, it is true. Foods which are usually regarded as indigestible because we feel distress after eating them, really cause trouble because they have been too thoroughly digested, while other foods which are nearly totally indigestible, and therefore in a sense not foods at all, leave us with all the feelings of health and well-being.
Lack of proper appreciation of these essential facts is at the bottom of the difficulties which many people experience when they adopt what they are pleased to call a vegetarian diet. They have in most cases suffered from digestive troubles before ceasing to eat flesh, and have in many cases adopted a fleshless diet with the expectation that they would work a miracle in restoring their health. They are therefore often bitterly disappointed that they feel no better, nay, in a number of cases they may even feel worse, because they continue their dietetic errors in all other respects, so that in many cases their reformed diet is from a standpoint of health, a thousand times worse than the usual mixed diet of the average person, and goodness knows, that is bad enough. In fact, instead of wondering that the body breaks down under the strain of dietetic indiscretion, it is really wonderful that it can stand up as well as it does in spite of the abuse and ill treatment to which it is subjected.
It happens not infrequently that people who apply to us for healing admit unblushingly the most atrocious dietetic blunders, perfectly oblivious to the fact that they are doing wrong. They will eat four to five meals a day, composed of hot cakes, coffee, eggs, beefsteak, white bread, potatoes, pie, cheese, etc., etc., and then they honestly wonder why they do not feel well. This class of people will claim that they have no bad habits. They smoke a few cigars, drink a few glasses of beer, or perhaps they take a cocktail or two; they live on what they call a "natural diet," go to bed at ten or eleven, and pat themselves on the back with the feeling that they are models. As a rule when it is first brought to their attention that they are committing serious blunders they stare in utter amazement and incredulity; they seem to doubt their senses when told that they are killing themselves with food; actually and in truth digging their graves with their teeth.
Nevertheless, that is absolutely true and it is not so much because their food is indigestible, either, as because of the lack of indigestible materials to mix among the highly concentrated foods which form the chief elements of such a diet. But in that respect that class of people are no worse than people who live on a diet of such concentrated foods as prunes, nuts, raisins, etc.
They also eat highly concentrated food; they get both protein from the nuts and carbohydrates from the raisins, but lack the indispensable though indigestible cellulose to give the necessary amount of bulk and cause irritation in the digestive tract which is absolutely essential to induce peristalsis and secretion of the necessary digestive ferments.
There is no question that whole wheat is much more nutritious, palatable, and healthful than white flour which is composed only of the starchy portions of the grain, but its health value is not particularly great because it is more easily digested than white bread, for as a matter of fact it is not, nor is the great benefit derived from whole wheat bread due to the mineral salts necessary to body building which it contains and which are absent in white bread. For it should be remembered that just as a portion of the protein contained in meat and the phosphorus contained in fish remain undigested, so also with the protein and phosphorus which abound in the whole meal bread. We do not assimilate all the protein and mineral salts which are contained in the coarsest portions of the whole wheat. But while the white bread is almost entirely digested and leaves but little ash, provided of course that it is well made, the coarser particles of the whole wheat flour pass through the intestinal tract undigested; they massage them, so to speak, irritate them and induce a flow of blood which keeps the intestines sweet and healthy. They do not pack as closely as the little residue left from highly concentrated foods, and therefore they take with them in the air spaces noxious gases, leaving the digestive tract pure and clean.
Compare the action on the bowels of such foods as eggs, and meat and cheese, which are almost totally assimilated and leave no coarse bulk to cleanse the bowels after a meal has been digested, with such vegetables as legumes (used sparingly), turnips, carrots, celery, onions, etc., which contain every element found in flesh and in addition the, to health, indispensable bulk composed of coarse fibrous matter which alone can sweep the intestinal tract, clear off all deleterious products of waste and leave the system in a healthy condition.
The archetype determines the form and figure of a person and this will be his normal stature in health, but by our dietetic disorder we often change this, so that the energy of the body is used in the process of eliminating an enormous amount of food which we cannot assimilate and therefore we grow thinner. The reverse happens when the eliminative powers are poor; then surplus flesh, or adipose tissue, is put on because of an unnatural diet.
When a scientifically prepared diet is adopted, the people who have been too thin because of a previous wrong diet, take on flesh, and conversely those who have put on unnatural flesh cease to do so and therefore their weight is reduced.
Another fruitful cause of digestive disorders is the habit of eating every few hours. People who are in the habit of eating five or six times a day frequently assert that they are hungry and must have food or they are sick. As a matter of fact, the craving is due to a diseased condition of the stomach, and the relief results from the weight of food which deadens the stomach.
We call it criminal to give to a person addicted to the morphine habit more just because he craves it, and it would give temporary relief from suffering, and we should apply the same logic and philosophy to people who are poisoned by an excess of food. This is not theory, either, but the result of investigation which cannot be matched by experiments on animals or human beings, where the suffering incident to tabulating the results of investigations causes an unnatural digestive condition. There are no such barriers to one whose spiritual sight is opened and who can see the peristaltic action of the stomach and intestines when the system has been burdened. Then there exudes from the food a black poisonous gas which is thrown outward through the periphery of the aura by the man's vital body so long as he is in good health. But when his vitality becomes enfeebled and the flow of the solar force through the spleen is not as strong as usual, this poisonous gas remains around the abdominal region as a broad black band which poisons all organic activities of the body while it is there. When a person eats three meals a day there is a slight chance for the dissolution of the poison band generated by one meal before the next is taken. But where meals are eaten at intervals of only a few hours there is absolutely no chance for the person to rid himself of this poison cloud, and as a consequence he grows worse and worse, shortening the span of his natural life in a manner that would be a shocking surprise to most of these people could they realize it.
For these reasons anyone who wishes to obtain and maintain health should make it a point to eat only two or three times a day and sparingly, taking care to secure an abundance of bulk rather than nutriment, for it is an actual fact that many, many more people die of too much nourishment than of too little.