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 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

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

“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

1887: “Classification Of “Principles”

In a most admirable lecture by Mr. T. Subba Row on the Bhagavad-Gita, published in the February number of the Theosophist, the lecturer deals, incidentally as I believe, with the question of septenary “principles” in the Kosmos and Man. The division is rather criticized, and the grouping hitherto adopted and favoured in theosophical teachings is resolved into one of Four. This criticism has already given rise to some misunderstanding, and it is argued by some that a slur is thrown on the original teachings. This apparent disagreement with one whose views are rightly held as almost decisive on occult matters in our Society is certainly a dangerous handle to give to opponents who are ever on the alert to detect and blazon forth contradictions and inconsistencies in our philosophy. Hence I feel it my duty to show that there is in reality no inconsistency between Mr. Subba Row’s views […] Read More

Answers to Queries

A Correspondent from New York writes: . . . . The Editors of LUCIFER would confer a great benefit on those who are attracted to the movement which they advocate, if they would state: (I) Whether a would-be-theosophist-occultist is required to abandon his worldly ties and duties such as family affection, love of parents, wife, children, friends, etc.? I ask this question because it is rumoured here that some theosophical publications have so stated, and would wish to know whether such a sine quâ non condition really exists in your Rules? The same, however, is found in the New Testament. “He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me, etc., etc,” is said in Matthew (x. 37). Do the MASTERS of Theosophy demand as much? Yours in the Search […] 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

1877: A Society Without a Dogma

Times have greatly changed since the winter of 1875-6, when the establishment of the Theosophical Society caused the grand army of American Spiritualists to wave banners, clang steel, and set up a great shouting. How well we all remember the putting forth of “Danger Signals,” the oracular warnings and denunciations of numberless mediums! How fresh in memory the threats of “angel-friends” to Dr. Gardiner, of Boston, that they would kill Colonel Olcott if he dared call them “Elementaries” in the lectures he was about delivering! The worst of the storm has passed. The hail of imprecations no longer batters around our devoted heads; it is raining now, and we can almost see the rainbow of promised peace spanning the sky. Beyond doubt, much of this subsidence of the disturbed elements is due to our armed neutrality. But still I judge that the gradual spread of a desire to learn […] Read More

1889: A Puzzle from Adyar

When the cat is abroad the mice dance in the house it seems. Since Colonel Olcott sailed for Japan, the Theosophist has never ceased to surprise its European readers, and especially the Fellows of our Society, with most unexpected capers. It is as if the Sphinx had emigrated from the Nile and was determined to continue offering her puzzles broadcast to the Œdipuses of the Society. Now what may be the meaning of this extraordinary, and most tactless “sortie” of the esteemed acting editor of our Theosophist? Is he, owing to the relaxing climate of Southern India, ill, or like our (and his) editor-enemies across the Atlantic, also dreaming uncanny dreams and seeing Lying visions – or what? And let me remind him at once that he must not feel offended by these remarks, as he has imperatively called them forth himself. LUCIFER, the PATH and the THEOSOPHIST are […] Read More