A Signal of Danger

    Initiates are sure to come into the company of the gods. – SOCRATES in the Phaedo In the first number of the Revue Theosophique in the initial portion of the fine lecture of our brother and colleague, the erudite Correspondent-Secretary of the T.S. Hermes, we read in the footnote (fn. 2, p. 23 ):     We designate under the term Initiate every seeker in the possession of the elementary principles of the Occult Science. One must beware lest he confuse this term with that of Adept, which indicates the highest degree of elevation to which the initiate may attain. We have in Europe many Initiates. I do not think that there exist any adepts as in the Orient. Foreign to the genius of the French language, not even having at hand a dictionary of etymology, it is impossible for me to say if this double definition is authorized in French […] Read More

A Psychic Warning

By A. CONSTANTINE, ESQ. Reply by H. P. Blavatsky Can any of the numerous readers of the Theosophist enlighten me as to the influence that acted on me on the occasion alluded to below? I certainly emphatically deny that there was a spirit manifestation, but there was beyond doubt some singular agency at work, which I have not up to this time been able to comprehend or explain. After having been in a certain school with another boy of about the same age as myself we parted, and only met again after the lapse of about thirty-five years. It was at Agra, where he was a Deputy Collector and I, head-clerk in the same office. Our friendship was renewed, and we soon became very much attached to each other; in fact, we had no secrets between us. Thus we continued to be for several years, and almost every day […] Read More

A Posthumous Publication

We are glad to lay before our readers the first of a series of unpublished writings of the late Éliphas Lévi (Abbé Louis Constant) one of the great masters of occult sciences of the present century in the West. An ex-Catholic priest, he was unfrocked by the ecclesiastical authorities at Rome, who tolerate no belief in God, Devil, or Science outside the narrow circle of their circumscribed dogma, and who anathematize every creed-crushed soul that succeeds in breaking its mental bondage. “Just in the ratio that knowledge increases, faith diminishes; consequently, those that know the most, always believe the least” – said Carlyle. Éliphas Lévi knew much; far more than the privileged few even among the greatest mystics of modern Europe; hence, he was traduced by the ignorant many. He had written these ominous words . . . “The discovery of the great secrets of true religion and of […] Read More

Old Hindu Ships

Some twenty-five years ago two ocean steamships came into collision off the coast of Newfoundland; one sank with all on board, the other was saved in consequence of having the hull divided by iron bulkheads into water-tight compartments. Though the bottom was crushed in the water, it would only fill the compartment where the break was, and so the steamship came safely to port. This then novel improvement in the art of ship-building was brought into such conspicuous notice by that occurrence, and its merits were so palpable, that from that time steamships have been almost universally built with water-tight bulkheads. Like most other supposed “modern” inventions, this was known to the ancient Hindus; and in quoting what follows from the narrative of the famous – now respected and credited – Venetian traveller of the thirteenth century, Ser Marco Polo,1 we express the hope that this may serve as […] Read More

A Note On Eliphas Lévi

[To the Editor of “The Theosophist.”] Madam, – Since you have published a posthumous letter of my master and beloved friend, the late Éliphas Lévi, I think it would be agreeable to you to publish, if judged suitable, a few extracts of the many manuscripts in my possession, written expressly for, and given to, me by my ever regretted master. To begin with, I send you “Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan” from his pen. I cannot close this letter without expressing the deep indignation aroused in me by the base diatribes published in the London Spiritualist against your Society and its members. Every honest heart is irritated at such unfair treatment, especially when proceeding from a man of honour as Mr. Harrison (editor of The Spiritualist) who admits in his journal anonymous contributions that are tantamount to libels. With the utmost respect, I remain, Madam, Yours devotedly, – […] Read More

1876: (New) York Against Lankester

A New War Of The Roses Despite the constant recurrence of new discoveries by modern men of science, an exaggerated respect for authority and an established routine among the educated class retard the progress of true knowledge. Facts which, if observed, tested, classified and appreciated, would be of inestimable importance to science, are summarily cast into the despised limbo of supernaturalism. To these conservatives the experience of the past serves neither as an example nor a warning. The overturning of a thousand cherished theories finds our modern philosopher as unprepared for each new scientific revelation as though his predecessor had been infallible from time immemorial. The protoplasmist should, at least, in modesty remember that his past is one vast cemetery of dead theories; a desolate potter’s field wherein exploded hypotheses lie, in ignoble oblivion, like so many executed malefactors, whose names cannot be pronounced by the next of kin […] Read More

1879: “Not A Christian”!

Before entering upon the main question that compels me to ask you kindly to accord me space in your esteemed paper, will you inform me as to the nature of that newly-born infant prodigy which calls itself The Bombay Review? Is it a bigoted, sectarian organ of the Christians, or an impartial journal, fair to all, and unprejudiced as every respectable paper styling itself “Review” ought to be, especially in a place like Bombay, where such a diversity of religious opinions is to be found? The two paragraphs in the number of February 22nd, which so honour the Theosophical Society by a double notice of its American members, would force me to incline toward the former opinion. Both the editorial which attacks my esteemed friend, Miss Bates, and the apocalyptic vision of the modern Ezekiel, alias “Anthropologist,” who shoots his rather blunt arrows at Col. Olcott, require an answer, […] Read More

1883: A Mysterious Race

While travelling from the landing place – on the Madras “Buckingham Canal” – to Nellore, we were made to experience the novel sensation of a transit of fifteen miles in comfortable modern carriages each briskly dragged by a dozen of strong, merry men, whom we took for ordinary Hindus of some of the lower or Pariah caste. The contrast offered us by the sight of these noisy, apparently well-contented men to our palankin-bearers, who had just carried us for fifty-five miles across the sandy, hot plains that stretch between Padagangam on the same canal and Guntoor – as affording relief – was great. These palankin-bearers, we were told, were of the washerman’s caste, and had hard times working night and day, never having regular . hours for sleep, earning but a few pice a day, and when the pice had the good chance of being transformed into annas, existing […] Read More

“Is It Idle To Argue Further?”

Says Light, in its “Notes by the Way,” edited by “M.A. Oxon.”:     The current number of The Theosophist contains an important manifesto, which establishes and defines the ground finally taken up by that body. Shortly put, it is one of complete antagonism to Spiritualism. The Spiritualist believes that it is possible for spirits of the departed to communicate with this earth. Whatever divergence of opinion there may be among us in respect of other matters, we are agreed on this, the cardinal article of our faith. Our daily experience affirms its truth. The con sentient testimony of the most experienced among us agrees that, whether there be, or whether there be not, other agencies at work, the spirits we know of are human spirits who have once lived on this earth. To this the Theosophist returns the simple answer that we are mistaken. No spirits communicate with earth for […] Read More

Ancient Doctrines Vindicated By Modern Prophecy

Ancient Doctrines Vindicated By Modern Prophecy The German press has recently attempted in numerous editorials to solve what seems a mystery to the ordinary and sceptical public. They feel that they are evidently betrayed by one of their own camp – a materialist of exact science. Treating at length of the new theories of Dr. Rudolph Falb – the editor of the Leipzig “popular astronomical journal,” the Sirius – they are struck with the faultless accuracy of his scientific prognostications, or rather to be plain, his meteorological and cosmological predictions. The fact is, that the latter have been shown by the sequence of events, to be less scientific conjectures than infallible prophecies Basing himself upon some peculiar combinations and upon a method of his own, which, as he says, he has worked out after long years of researches and labour, Dr. Falb is now enabled to foretell months and […] Read More

1891: Chinese Spirits

The following notes have been collected partly from an old work by a French missionary who lived in China for over forty years; some from a very curious unpublished work by an American gentleman who has kindly lent the writer his notes; some from information given by the Abbé Huc to the Chevalier Des Mousseaux and the Marquis De Mirville – for these the last two gentlemen are responsible. Most of our facts, however, come from a Chinese gentleman residing for some years in Europe. Man, according to the Chinaman, is composed of four root-substances and three acquired “semblances.” This is the magical and universal occult tradition, dating from an antiquity which has its origin in the night of time. A Latin poet shows the same source of information in his country, when declaring that: Bis duo sunt hominis: manes, caro, spiritus, umbra: Quatuor ista loca bis duo suscipiunt. […] Read More

An Unsolved Mystery

The circumstances attending the sudden death of M. Delessert, inspector of the Police de Sûreté, seem to have made such an impression upon the Parisian authorities that they were recorded in unusual detail. Omitting all particulars except what are necessary to explain matters, we produce here the undoubtedly strange history. In the fall of 1861 there came to Paris a man who called himself Vic de Lassa, and was so inscribed upon his passports. He came from Vienna, and said he was a Hungarian, who owned estates on the borders of the Banat, not far from Zenta. He was a small man, aged thirty-five, with pale and mysterious face, long blonde hair, a vague, wandering blue eye, and a mouth of singular firmness. He dressed carelessly and unaffectedly, and spoke and talked without much empressement. His companion, presumably his wife, on the other hand, ten years younger than himself, […] Read More

Chelas And Lay Chelas

As the word Chela has, among others, been introduced by Theosophy into the nomenclature of Western metaphysics, and the circulation of our magazine is constantly widening, it will be as well if some more definite explanation than heretofore is given with respect to the meaning of this term and the rules of Chelaship, for the benefit of our European if not Eastern members. A “Chela” then, is one who has offered himself or herself as a pupil to learn practically the “hidden mysteries of Nature and the psychical powers latent in man.” The spiritual teacher to whom he proposes his candidature is called in India a Guru; and the real Guru is always an Adept in the Occult Science. A man of profound knowledge, exoteric and esoteric, especially the latter; and one who has brought his carnal nature under subjection of the WILL; who has developed in himself both […] Read More