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Damodar K. Mavalankar
–  a theosophical pioneer

by David Pratt


© 2003 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö 

Contemplation by Damodar
Correspondence on ”Contemplation” by Damodar
The Metaphysical Basis of ”Esoteric Buddhism” by Damodar

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H.P. Blavatsky and H.S. Olcott sailed from New York for India at the end of 1878. In February 1879 they arrived in Bombay, where they established their temporary headquarters. A few months later, a young Hindu came to help them with their theosophical work: Damodar K. Mavalankar.
Damodar was born in a wealthy Brahman family at Ahmedabad in September 1861. His father taught him the tenets of his religion, and he also received an excellent English education. Between the ages of ten and fourteen, he devoted himself to the orthodox practices of his faith. Later his religious observances were displaced by his academic studies, but his religious ideas and aspirations remained unchanged until mid-1879. It was then that he came into contact with theosophy by reading Isis Unveiled. He applied for membership of the Theosophical Society in July 1879, and was admitted on 3 August, a month before his eighteenth birthday.[1]
 In his childhood, Damodar had a very dangerous illness, and the doctors despaired of his life. But while close to death, he had a vision in which a godlike person gave him a peculiar medicine, after which he began to recover. Several years later, while meditating, he saw the same person, and on another occasion the man again saved him from the clutches of death.[2] After joining the TS, he met several members of the Himalayan brotherhood, in both their astral and physical bodies, and discovered that the sage whom he had already seen three times was Mahatma Kűthűmi, who became his guru.
Damodar began to work at the TS headquarters in September 1879 and took up permanent residence there in January 1880, after he had made the momentous decision to abandon caste. He quickly proved himself to be an energetic and devoted worker. Col. Olcott writes:

Frail as a girl though he was, he would sit at his table writing, sometimes all night, unless I caught him at it and drove him to bed. No child was ever more obedient to a parent, no foster-son more utterly selfless in his love to a foster-mother, than he to H.P.B. . . .[3]

Damodar was made joint recording secretary of the Society, and helped Blavatsky with the growing volume of correspondence. He also became business manager of the Publications Department. The first issue of The Theosophist appeared in October 1879, and Damodar soon became a regular contributor on a wide range of subjects. He also wrote many letters and articles for other magazines and newspapers.
In an article in the May 1880 issue of The Theosophist, Damodar wrote:

It is no exaggeration to say that I have been a really living man only these few months; for between life as it appears to me now and life as I comprehended it before, there is an unfathomable abyss. . . . My aspirations were only for more Zemindâries [land], social position and the gratification of whims and appetites. . . . The study of Theosophy has thrown a light over me in regard to my country, my religion, my duty. . . . [It] has taught me that to enjoy peace of mind and self-respect, I must be honest, candid, peaceful and regard all men as equally my brothers, irrespective of caste, colour, race or creed.[4]

While on a lecture tour in Sri Lanka in 1880, Damodar, along with Blavatsky and Olcott, took pansil, thereby formally becoming a Buddhist. This was too much for his family. His father begged him to return home and live with his young wife, to whom he had been betrothed while very young, and threatened to cut him out of his will. But Damodar stood firm. He gave up an income of 50,000 rupees, made provision for the future of his wife, and continued to devote himself to the theosophic cause. Responding to the complaint of some Hindu theosophists that the mahatmas never communicated with them, Master M stated:

unless a man is prepared to become a thorough theosophist i.e. to do as D. Mavalankar did, -- give up entirely caste, his old superstitions and show himself a true reformer (especially in the case of child marriage) he will remain simply a member of the Society with no hope whatever of ever hearing from us.[5]

Damodar's father, uncle, and an older brother resigned from the TS in early 1881 and became openly hostile. Damodar's family troubles, the public misrepresentation of the facts, and the resulting slander directed at the founders of the Theosophical Society, caused him to become depressed. On 25 August 1881, the following letter from KH materialized before his eyes:

Do not feel so disheartened! . . . Your fancy is your greatest enemy, for it creates phantoms which even your better judgment is unable to dispel. Do not accuse yourself and attribute the abuse lavished upon . . . [words omitted by Damodar] to your imaginary crimes. Abuse! I tell thee, child, the hissing of a snake has more effect upon the old eternal, snow-covered Himavat, than the abuse of back-biters, the laugh of the skeptics, or any calumny on me. Keep steadily to your duty, be firm and true to your obligations, and no mortal man or woman will hurt you . . .[6]

Damodar's first face-to-face meetings with the masters took place during his trip to Sri Lanka from May to July 1880, and are described in letters he wrote to W.Q. Judge [7]. On another occasion, in Bombay, Damodar was helped by his master to project his astral body (mâyâvi-rűpa). He found himself at

the upper end of Cashmere at the foot of the Himâlayas. . . . [T]here were only two houses just opposite to each other and no other sign of habitation. From one of these came out [KH] . . . It was his house. Opposite him stops [M]. Brother K-- ordered me to follow him. After going a short distance of about half a mile we came to a natural subterranean passage which is under the Himâlayas. [This] is a natural causeway on the River Indus which flows underneath in all its fury. Only one person can walk on it at a time and one false step seals the fate of the traveller. . . . After walking a considerable distance through this subterranean passage we came into an open plain in L----k [Ladakh]. There is a large massive building . . . This is the Chief Central Place where all those of our Section who are found deserving of Initiation into Mysteries have to go for their final ceremony and stay there the requisite period. I went up with my Guru to the Great Hall. The grandeur and serenity of the place is enough to strike anyone with awe.[8]

After returning to his body, Damodar wondered whether the experience had been a dream, but at that moment a note from KH dropped out of the air confirming that it had really happened.
Damodar helped the masters with the occult transmission of letters to A.P. Sinnett and A.O. Hume. However, he refused to lend any further assistance after Hume accused him of forgery. He expressed his anger in a letter to Sinnett in August 1882, protesting that he was incapable of 'such an infamy' [9]. He wrote: 'I have at least one consolation and that is I stand clear before my MASTERS who being clairvoyant can see through me any time . . .' Damodar was one of the twelve chelas who signed the protest to a letter from 'HX' (Hume), which accused the masters of 'sinning' by not immediately giving out all they knew. Hume's letter and the chelas' protest were published in the September 1882 Theosophist on the instructions of the Maha Chohan, KH's own guru.[10]
In July 1882 Damodar had to go to Poona for a month's rest, as his health had broken down due, said KH, to 'his foolish austerities and hard work' [11]. In December 1882, the TS headquarters were relocated to Adyar, largely at the suggestion of T. Subba Row, a chela of Master M. He and Damodar worked closely together; both were high-caste Hindus, steeped in the traditions of ancient Âryâvarta, and eager to promote the moral and spiritual regeneration of their country.
Damodar accompanied Colonel Olcott on his lecture tour in northern India from September to December 1883, during which he had further meetings with the masters. On 25 November he unexpectedly disappeared from the house in Jammu where they were staying. He was taken to a secret retreat, and returned two days later a changed man [12]. Olcott remarked: 'seemingly robust, tough, and wiry, bold and energetic in manner: we could scarcely realize that he was the same person.' Damodar's psychic powers were developing very rapidly during this period. A corroborated account of one of his astral journeys was published in the December 1883 issue of The Theosophist [13].
1884 proved to be one of the most turbulent years in the early history of the Theosophical Society. On 20 February Blavatsky and Olcott left India and made a successful eight-month visit to Europe. During their absence, the Society was run by a Board of Control, whose members included three Europeans, Franz Hartmann (the chairman), George Lane-Fox, and W.T. Brown. Just prior to her departure, Blavatsky had thwarted an attempt by the housekeeper, Mme. Coulomb, to obtain a large sum of money from Prince Harisinghji. Mme Coulomb was furious and vowed to take revenge. She began to spread lies and rumours about fraudulent phenomena, and her husband secretly began to make holes in the walls and construct movable panels. The Coulombs were expelled from the TS on 14 May 1884 for dishonourable conduct and left headquarters eleven days later.
Various disagreements and personal antagonisms arose among the headquarters staff, both before and after the Coulombs' departure. On several occasions the masters intervened directly with advice and instructions. On 2 August 1884, Hartmann received the following message from KH:

D[amodar] has undoubtedly many faults and weaknesses as others have. But he is unselfishly devoted to us and to the cause, and has rendered himself extremely useful to Upasika [HPB]. His presence and assistance are indispensably necessary at the Headquarters. His inner self has no desire to domineer, though the outward acts now and then get that colouring from his excessive zeal which he indiscriminately brings to bear upon everything, whether small or great.[14]

In another letter to Hartmann, M wrote:

One of the first proofs of self-mastery is when one shows that he can be kind and forbearing and genial with companions of the most dissimilar characters and temperaments. One of the strongest signs of retrogression when one shows that he expects others to like what he likes and act as he acts.[15]

After their eviction, the Coulombs joined forces with the Christian missionaries -- the arch-enemies of Blavatsky and the TS. The first part of Mme Coulomb's attack on Blavatsky appeared in The Christian College Magazine in September 1884. It included extracts from letters allegedly written to her by Blavatsky, but containing clumsy interpolations ordering the performance of fraudulent phenomena.
Damodar played a central role in publicly countering the Coulombs' allegations of fraud and deception, and showed them to be 'absurd twaddle'. C.W. Leadbeater, who arrived at Adyar with Blavatsky in December 1884, found Damodar

established in the Secretary's office, crouched up in the seat of the chair in the strange frog-like attitude which he affected, smoking always a bubbling hookah, and writing interminably -- all day long and into the night. . . . I can never forget him, nor the impression that he made on me. Grave, kindly and courteous ever.[16]

Richard Hodgson, sent by the British Society for Psychical Research to investigate the occult phenomena connected with the Theosophical Society, arrived at Adyar on 22 December 1884 and remained in India until the end of March 1885. The infamous Hodgson Report appeared in December 1885 and denounced Blavatsky as an impostor and a Russian spy. Incredibly, Hodgson insisted that Damodar was Blavatsky's main accomplice, despite the fact that the Coulombs -- his 'star' witnesses -- had depicted him as a dupe! Forgery expert Vernon Harrison says that the Hodgson Report is 'badly flawed': it is 'riddled with slanted statements, conjecture advanced as fact or probable fact, uncorroborated testimony of unnamed witnesses, selection of evidence and downright falsity' [17].
In a letter to Sinnett in October 1885, Blavatsky stated that KH held Damodar, Dhabagiri Nath (a chela of KH who eventually failed), and Subba Row responsible for two thirds of Hodgson's delusions. She says that they regarded Hodgson's cross-examinations as insulting, and his mocking references to the masters as blasphemous, and instead of telling him openly that there were many things they could not speak about, they went on 'to augment his perplexity, allowed him to suggest things without contradicting them, and threw him out of the saddle altogether' [18].
In December 1884 a committee was formed at Adyar for receiving letters and teachings from the masters, but it collapsed before any teachings were transmitted. KH explained why:

The secret Committee . . . was ready, when a few Europeans . . . took upon themselves the authority of reversing the decision of the whole Council. They declined (though the reason they gave was another one) -- to receive our instructions through Subba Row and Damodar, the latter of whom is hated by Messrs. L. Fox and Hartmann.[19]

Hartmann later described Damodar as a 'mental pigmy' who 'imagined himself to be the mouth-piece of an invisible power ' [20]. He believed that Damodar had sometimes imitated KH's writing to give his own views greater authority. It appears that during the Coulomb crisis Damodar did in fact precipitate a very important 'KH letter' without KH's consent [21].
Damodar's health was seriously affected by all the troubles at headquarters and by overwork. He began to cough blood, a recurrence of his previously arrested tuberculosis. He obtained permission to go to his master's ashram in Tibet, and left Adyar with Blavatsky's blessing on 23 February 1885. According to Blavatsky, 'Damodar was ready from his last birth to enter the highest PATH and suspected it. He had long been waiting for the expected permission to go to Tibet before the expiration of the 7 years [of probation] . . .' [22]. When he came to bid her farewell, he told her: 'I go for your sake. If the Maha Chohan is satisfied with my services and devotion, He may permit me to vindicate you, by proving the Masters do exist' [23]. Blavatsky herself was in poor health at this time, and left India a month later, never to return.
Damodar was hoping to go to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, with a certain Tibetan functionary; Olcott calls him 'an "Avatari Lama," a very influential and mysterious Tibetan prelate', who 'is equally well known on both sides of the mountains, and makes frequent religious journeys between India and Tibet' [24]. After visiting several TS branches and consulting with Mâji, a female ascetic living in Varanasi, Damodar reached Darjeeling on 1 April 1885, and agreed the details of his trip to Tibet with a representative of the Tibetan. He met up with the Tibetan on 19 April in the capital of Sikkim. To conceal the connection between them, Damodar was ordered to go on ahead and then wait. The final entry in his diary reads:

April 23rd. -- Took bhât [rice] in the morning, and proceeded on from Kabi alone, sending back my things with the coolies to Darjeeling.[25]

A few months later rumours began to circulate that Damodar's frozen corpse had been found in the snow. But Olcott spoke to the chief coolie, who told him that on their return journey to Darjeeling after leaving Damodar, they had passed the person who was following him; the chief coolie 'heard subsequently that the junction had been effected, and the caravan proceeded on towards the pass through the mountains' [26]. Olcott says that a mâyâ of Damodar's body may have been left to make it appear as if he had succumbed, and in a letter to Hartmann Blavatsky confirmed that it was probably a trick, adding that Damodar would not come back, at least not for many years [27].
A year later, on 5 June 1886, Tukaram Tatya, a Bombay theosophist, wrote to Olcott to inquire after the fate of Damodar. When Olcott received the letter two days later, he found that KH had added a message to it in transit:

The poor boy has had his fall. Before he could stand in the presence of the 'Masters' he had to undergo the severest trials that a neophyte ever passed through, to atone for the many questionable doings in which he had over-zealously taken part, bringing disgrace upon the sacred science and its adepts. The mental and physical suffering was too much for his weak frame, which has been quite prostrated, but he will recover in course of time. This ought to be a warning to you all. . . . To unlock the gates of the mystery you must not only lead a life of the strictest probity, but learn to discriminate truth from falsehood.[28]

Both Blavatsky and Subba Row received letters from Damodar after his arrival in Tibet, though none of them have been preserved [29]. In one of them, Damodar informed Blavatsky that the masters' influence at Adyar was steadily weakening. Blavatsky also said she had seen Damodar astrally, and that the masters had dictated to him several passages for The Secret Doctrine, which Sinnett had mistaken for Dharbagiri Nath's writing [30].
A witness to Damodar's safe arrival in Tibet was Sriman Swamy, a sannyâsin, who, in a letter published in Lucifer in September 1889, stated that he had visited Tibet twice since 1879 and had become acquainted with several mahatmas, including M and KH, who confirmed that they and others were interested in the work of the TS and that M had been Blavatsky's occult guardian since her childhood. He went on: 'in March, 1887, I saw Mr. Damodar K. Mavalankar at L'hassa, in a convalescent state. He told me in the presence of Mahatma "K.H." that he had been at the point of death in the previous year' [31]. Blavatsky informed her friend N.D. Khandalavala that this letter contained two 'fibs': '(a) Damodar never was at Lhassa nor Sriman Swamy either, and not being permitted to say where he saw Damodar he gave a wrong name; and (b) My Master never told him what he says of me, but he heard it from a chela' [32].
In April 1890 Blavatsky wrote an open letter to 'My Brothers of Âryâvarta', explaining why she did not return to India. Referring to the TS's role in the reawakening of India, she stated:

Most important of all, one at least among you has fully benefited by [the TS]; and if the Society had never given to India but that one future Adept (Dâmodar) who has now the prospect of becoming one day a Mahâtma, Kali Yuga notwithstanding, that alone would be proof that it was not founded at New York and transplanted to India in vain.[33]

In 1930, G. de Purucker stated that Damodar was currently working in Shambhala, a secret district in central western Tibet where the headquarters of the adept brotherhood are situated [34].
Sven Eek, who devoted many years to compiling the very valuable work, Dâmodar and the Pioneers of The Theosophical Movement, summed up the key role played by Damodar in the early history of the TS as follows:

    Dâmodar's significance to the Theosophical Movement lies not merely in his consistent hard work, or in his intelligent defense of the embattled Society, but primarily in the fact that he set a standard for Theosophic conduct. Of the seventy odd Theosophists who presented themselves for discipleship, Dâmodar was virtually the only complete success. A desire to see the Adepts in person or to witness phenomena caused many to accept the rigors of chelaship, but one by one, as they placed their own personalities and idiosyncracies above the common good of the Movement, failed.
    One of the cornerstones upon which the superstructure of the Theosophical Society has been reared is inscribed with the name of Dâmodar. The design may be altered, as each generation makes its contribution, but the foundations laid by the early pioneers will remain until, Phoenix-like, a new dispensation is given to the pilgrims of this earth, and then, perhaps, our chela will return, as an Adept in his own right, redeeming the anguished hopes of the many who believe that 'There is no religion higher than Truth.'[35]


[1] Sven Eek (comp.), Dâmodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement, Theosophical Publishing House (TPH), 1965, pp. 139-40, 493; Michael Gomes, 'Damodar – a Hindu chela', The Theosophist, Sept. 1985, pp. 447-51.
[2] Dâmodar, p. 496.
[3] Ibid., p. 4.
[4] Ibid., pp. 140-1, 143.
[5] Ibid., p. 7; A.T. Barker (comp.), The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Theosophical University Press (TUP), 2nd ed., 1926, p. 462.
[6] Dâmodar, pp. 485-6.
[7] Ibid., pp. 55-8.
[8] Ibid., pp. 60-1; see Sylvia Cranston & Carey Williams, H.P.B.: The Extraordinary Life & Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Tarcher/Putnam, 1993, pp. 99-101.
[9] Dâmodar, pp. 262-5; see C. Jinarâjadâsa (comp.), Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, TPH, 1964, 1:12.
[10] Dâmodar, pp. 286-8; The Mahatma Letters, p. 293.
[11] Dâmodar, pp. 285, 523.
[12] Ibid., pp. 332-7, 350-1, 387.
[13] Ibid., pp. 355-8; see also pp. 344-9, 482-3.
[14] Ibid., p. 604; Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1:63.
[15] Dâmodar, pp. 604-5.
[16] 'Damodar -- a Hindu chela', p. 450.
[17] Vernon Harrison, H.P. Blavatsky and the SPR: an examination of the Hodgson Report of 1885, TUP, 1997, pp. 32, 69.
[18] A.T. Barker (comp.), The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett, TUP, 1975 (1925), p. 122.
[19] Dâmodar, p. 527; The Mahatma Letters, p. 363.
[20] Franz Hartmann, Some Fragments of the Secret History of the Theosophical Society, Theosophical History, 2000, pp. 19-22.
[21] Dâmodar, pp. 471-3, 583-4; Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, TPH, 1977 (1925), 2:131-2; F. Hartmann, Report of Observations made during a nine months' stay at the head-quarters of the Theosophical Society, Madras, 1884, Edmonton Theos. Soc. reprint 1995, pp. 32-4; Some Fragments of the Secret History of the Theosophical Society, p. 22. (See also: C. Jinarâjadâsa, The Early Teachings of the Masters 1881-1883, TPH, 1923, pp. viii-xi.)
[22] Dâmodar, p. 10.
[23] Ibid., p. 533.
[24] Charles J. Ryan, H.P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement, TUP, 2nd ed., 1975, p. 100; Dâmodar, p. 11.
[25] Ibid., p. 15.
[26] Ibid., p. 16.
[27] Ibid., pp. 16, 533.
[28] Ibid., p. 18; Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1:64; Victor A. Endersby, The Hall of Magic Mirrors, Hearthstone, 1969, pp. 299-300.
[29] H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, TPH, 1980, 12:163; Dâmodar, p. 18; Blavatsky Collected Writings, 1950, 6:272.
[30] The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett, pp. 157, 248-9.
[31] '
News of Damodar', Blavatsky Archives, http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/srimanswamy.htm; Geoffrey A. Barborka, The Mahatmas and Their Letters, TPH, 1973, pp. 373-4.
[32] 'News of Damodar'.
[33] Blavatsky Collected Writings, 12:159-60.
[34] Dialogues of G. de Purucker, TUP, 1948, 1:145-6.
[35] Dâmodar, pp. 21-2.

           Source: Exploring Theosophy, The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy,
           David Pratt's Homepage; first published July 2000



 The Writings of Damodar K.Mavalankar:

Damodar joined the Theosophical Society nearly six months after H. P. Blavatsky's arrival in India in February, 1879, and he was soon ready to serve on her journal, The Theosophist, which was established in October, 1879. According to Brahmanical customs, he had to get his father's permission to live at the Theosophical Headquarters and to adopt the mode of life of a Sannyasin – one who abandons worldly bonds and attractions in the service of the spiritual nature. This he was allowed to do, but he went farther and abandoned his caste, no trifling matter, as can be realized by reading an article that appeared in The Theosophist, and which is included in this volume (see his article "Castes In India," ).

Damodar: The Writings of a Hindu Chela compiled by Sven Ek
Castes in India



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by Damodar K. Mavalankar

A GENERAL misunderstanding of this term seems to prevail. The popular idea appears to be to confine oneself for half an houror at the utmost two hoursin a private room, and passively gaze at one’s nose, a spot on the wall, or, perhaps, a crystal. This is supposed to be the true form of contemplation enjoined by Raj Yoga. It fails to realize that true occultism requires “physical, mental, moral and spiritual” development to run on parallel lines. Were the narrow conception extended to all these lines, the necessity for the present article would not have been so urgently felt. This paper is specially meant for the benefit of those who seem to have failed to grasp the real meaning of Dhyan, and by their erroneous practices to have brought, and to be bringing, pain and misery upon themselves. A few instances may be mentioned here with advantage, as a warning to our too zealous students.

At Bareilly the writer met a certain Theosophist from Farrukhabad, who narrated his experiences and shed bitter tears of repentance for his past folliesas he termed them. It would appear from his account that the gentleman, having read Bhagavat-Gita about fifteen or twenty years ago and not comprehending the esoteric meaning of the contemplation therein enjoined, undertook nevertheless the practice and carried it on for several years. At first he experienced a sense of pleasure, but simultaneously he found he was gradually losing self-control; until after a few years he discovered, to his great bewilderment and sorrow, that he was no longer his own master. He felt his heart actually growing heavy, as though a load had been placed on it. He had no control over his sensations; in fact the communication between the brain and the heart had become as though interrupted. As matters grew worse, in disgust he discontinued his “contemplation.” This happened as long as seven years ago; and, although since then he has not felt worse, yet he could never regain his original normal and healthy state of mind and body.
This article by Damodar, published in the Theosophist drew correspondence and two further replies by him.—Eds.

Another case came under the writer’s observation at Jubbulpore. The gentleman concerned, after reading Patanjali and such other works, began to sit for “contemplation.” After a short time he commenced seeing abnormal sights and hearing musical bells, but neither over these phenomena nor over his own sensations could he exercise any control. He could not produce these results at will, nor could he stop them when they were occurring. Numerous such examples may be multiplied. While penning these lines, the writer has on his table two letters upon this subject, one from Moradabad and the other from Trichinopoly. In short, all this mischief is due to a misunderstanding of the significance of contemplation as enjoined upon students by all the schools of Occult Philosophy. With a view to afford a glimpse of the Reality through the dense veil that enshrouds the mysteries of this Science of Sciences, an article, the “Elixir of Life,” was written. Unfortunately, in too many instances, the seed seems to have fallen upon barren ground. Some of its readers only catch hold of the following clause in the said paper:

Reasoning from the known to the unknown, meditation, must be practised and encouraged.

But, alas! their preconceptions have prevented them from comprehending what is meant by meditation. They forget that it “is the inexpressible yearning of the inner Man to ‘go out towards the infinite,’ which in the olden time was the real meaning of adoration”as the next sentence shows. A good deal of light will be thrown upon this subject if the reader were to turn to the preceding portion of the same paper, and peruse attentively the following paragraphs on page 141 of the Theosophist for March, 1883 (Vol. III, No. 6) :[1]
[1] From “The ‘Elixir of Life’,” reprinted in Five Years of Theosophy.Eds.

So, then, we have arrived at the point where we have determinedliterally, not metaphoricallyto crack the outer shell known as the mortal coil, or body, and hatch out of it, clothed in our next. This “next” is not a spiritual, but only a more ethereal form. Having by a long training and preparation adapted it for a life in this atmosphere, during which time we have gradually made the outward shell to die off through a certain process . . . we have to prepare for this physiological transformation.

How are we to do it? In the first place we have the actual, visible, material bodyman, so called, though, in fact, but his outer shell—to deal with. Let us bear in mind that science teaches us that in about every seven years we change skin as effectually as any serpent; and this so gradually and imperceptibly that, had not science after years of unremitting study and observation assured us of it, no one would have had the slightest suspicion of the fact. . . . Hence, if a man partially flayed alive, may sometimes survive and be covered with a new skin,so our astral, vital body . . . . may he made to harden its particles to the atmospheric changes. The whole secret is to succeed in evolving it out, and separating it from the visible; and while its generally invisible atoms proceed to concrete themselves into a compact mass, to gradually get rid of the old particles of our visible frame so as to make them die and disappear before the new set has had time to evolve and replace them. . . . We can say no more.

A correct comprehension of the above scientific process will give a clue to the esoteric meaning of meditation or contemplation. Science teaches us that man changes his physical body continually, and this change is so gradual that it is almost imperceptible. Why then should the case be otherwise with the inner man? The latter too is constantly developing and changing atoms at every moment. And the attraction of these new sets of atoms depends upon the Law of Affinitythe desires of the man drawing to their bodily tenement only such particles as are en rapport with them or rather giving them their own tendency and coloring.

For Science shows that thought is dynamic, and the thought-force evolved by nervous action expanding itself outwardly, must affect the molecular relations of the physical man. The inner men, however sublimated their organism may be, are still composed of actual, not hypothetical particles, and are still subject to the law that an “action” has a tendency to repeat itself; a tendency to set up analogous action in the grosser “shell” they are in contact with and concealed within. (“The Elixir of Life.”)

What is it the aspirant of Yog Vidya strives after if not to gain Mukti by transferring himself gradually from the grosser to the next more ethereal body, until all the veils of Maya being successively removed his Atma becomes one with Paramatma? Does he suppose that this grand result can be achieved by a two or four hours’ contemplation? For the remaining twenty or twenty-two hours that the devotee does not shut himself up in his room for meditationis the process of the emission of atoms and their replacement by others stopped? If not, then how does he mean to attract all this time,only those suited to his end? From the above remarks it is evident that just as the physical body requires incessant attention to prevent the entrance of a disease, so also the inner man requires an unremitting watch, so that no conscious or unconscious thought may attract atoms unsuited to its progress. This is the real meaning of contemplation. The prime factor in the guidance of the thought is WILL..

Without that, all else is useless. And, to be efficient for the purpose, it must be, not only a passing resolution of the moment, a single fierce desire of short duration, but a settled and continued strain, as nearly as can be continued and concentrated without one single moment’s remission.

The student would do well to take note of the italicized clause in the above quotation. He should also have it indelibly impressed upon his mind that

It is no use to fast as long as one requires food. . . . To get rid of the inward desire is the essential thing, and to mimic the real thing without it is barefaced hypocrisy and useless slavery.

Without realizing the significance of this most important fact, any one who for a moment finds cause of disagreement with any one of his family, or has his vanity wounded, or for a sentimental flash of the moment, or for a selfish desire to utilize the divine power for gross purposesat once rushes in for contemplation and dashes himself to pieces on the rock dividing the known from the unknown. Wallowing in the mire of exotericism, he knows not what it is to live in the world and yet be not of the world; in other words to guard self against self is an incomprehensible axiom for nearly every profane. The Hindu ought at least to realize it by remembering the life of Janaka, who, although a reigning monarch, was yet styled Rajarshi and is said to have attained Nirvana. Hearing of his widespread fame, a few sectarian bigots went to his Court to test his Yoga-power. As soon as they entered the courtroom, the king having read their thoughta power which every chela attains at a certain stagegave secret instructions to his officials to have a particular street in the city lined on both sides by dancing girls who were ordered to sing the most voluptuous songs. He then had some gharas (pots) filled with water up to the brim so that the least shake would be likely to spill their contents. The wiseacres, each with a full ghara (pot) on his head, were ordered to pass along the street, surrounded by soldiers with drawn swords to be used against them if even so much as a drop of water were allowed to run over.

The poor fellows having returned to the palace after successfully passing the test, were asked by the King-Adept what they had met with in the street they were made to go through. With great indignation they replied that the threat of being cut to pieces had so much worked upon their minds that they thought of nothing but the water on their heads, and the intensity of their attention did not permit them to take cognizance of what was going on around them. Then Janaka told them that on the same principle they could easily understand that, although being outwardly engaged in managing the affairs of his state, he could at the same time be an Occultist. He, too, while in the world, was not of the world. In other words, his inward aspirations had been leading him on continually to the goal in which his whole inner self was concentrated.

Raj Yoga encourages no sham, requires no physical postures. It has to deal with the inner man whose sphere lies in the world of thought. To have the highest ideal placed before oneself and strive incessantly to rise up to it, is the only true concentration recognized by Esoteric Philosophy which deals with the inner world of noumena, not the outer shell of phenomena.

The first requisite for it is thorough purity of heart. Well might the student of Occultism say, with Zoroaster, that purity of thought, purity of word, and purity of deed, – these are the essentials of one who would rise above the ordinary level and join the “gods.” A cultivation of the feeling of unselfish philanthropy is the path which has to be traversed for that purpose. For it is that alone which will lead to Universal Love, the realization of which constitutes the progress towards deliverance from the chains forged by Maya around the Ego. No student will attain this at once, but as our VENERATED MAHATMA says in the Occult World:

The greater the progress towards deliverance, the less this will be the case, until, to crown all, human and purely individual personal feelings, blood-ties and friendship, patriotism and race predilection, will all give way to become blended into one universal feeling, the only true and holy, the only unselfish and eternal one, Love, an Immense Love for Humanity as a whole.

In short, the individual is blended with the ALL.

Of course, contemplation, as usually understood, is not without its minor advantages. It develops one set of physical faculties as gymnastics does the muscles. For the purposes of physical mesmerism, it is good enough; but it can in no way help the development of the psychological faculties, as the thoughtful reader will perceive. At the same time, even for ordinary purposes, the practice can never be too well guarded. If, as some suppose, they have to be entirely passive and lose themselves in the object before them, they should remember that by thus encouraging passivity, they, in fact, allow the development of mediumistic faculties in themselves. As was repeatedly statedthe Adept and the Medium are the two Poles; while the former is intensely active and thus able to control the elemental forces, the latter is intensely passive, and thus incurs the risk of falling a prey to the caprice and malice of mischievous embryos of human beings, andthe Elementaries.



by Damodar K. Mavalankar


I regret the whole article is totally misunderstood. All I meant to say was that temporary estrangement, from family or friends, does not constitute an essential qualification for advancement in occultism. This ought to be plain to one who weighs carefully my illustration of Janaka. Although in the world, to be not of it. Failing to realize the meaning of this important teaching, many people rush in from a sentimental disgust of worldliness, arising probably out of some worldly disappointmentand begin practising what they consider to be a true form of contemplation. The very fact that the motive which leads them to go in for this practice, is as described . . . this fact is a sufficient indication that the candidate does not know the “contemplation” of a Raja Yogi. It is thus impossible in the nature of things that he can follow the right method; and the physical practice, which he necessarily undertakes, leads him to the disastrous results adverted to in the article.

Any reader, who has intuition enough to be a practical student of occultism, will at once see that to work up to perfection is the highest ideal that a man can have before him. That is not the work of a day nor of a few years. “The Adept becomes; he is NOT MADE”is a teaching which the student must first realize. The aspirant works up to his goal through a series of lives. Col. Olcott says in his Buddhist Catechism:”. . . Countless generations are required to develop man into a Buddha, and the iron will to become one runs throughout all the successive births.

That “iron will” to become perfect must be incessantly operating, without a single moment’s relaxation, as will be apparent to one who reads carefully the article as a whole. When it is distinctly said that during the time that this contemplation is not practiced, i.e., the iron will is not exerting, the process of the emission and attraction of atoms is not stopped, and that the desires, instinctive or otherwise, must be so regulated as to attract only such atoms as may be suited to his progressI cannot understand my correspondent when he asks me what he should do at a particular hour in the morning. He should cultivate only such thoughts as would not be incompatible with the highest ideal he has to work up to.

By perfection, which should be his highest ideal, (I must add) I mean that divine manhood which the Occult Philosophy contemplates the seventh race of the seventh Round will attain to. This, as every tyro knows, depends largely upon a cultivation of the feeling of Universal Love, and hence an earnest desire to do some practical philanthropic work is the first requisite. Even this state, I admit, is not absolute perfection: but that maximum limit of ultimate Spiritual perfection is beyond our comprehension at present. That condition can only be intellectually realized as a practical ideal by those divine menDhyan-Chohans. To be identified with THE ALL, we must live in and feel through it. How can this be done without the realization of the feeling of Universal Love? Of course Adeptship is not within the easy reach of all. On the other hand, occultism does not fix any unpleasant place or locality for those who do not accept its dogmas. It only recognizes higher and higher evolution according to the chain of causation working under the impulse of Nature’s immutable law. The article on “Occult Study” in the last number [2] gives the necessary explanation on this point.

[2] The Theosophist, March, 1884, pp. 131-3.—Eds.

It is painful for me to find that the very thing I attempted to point out in that article to be mischievous in its results, is again put forward as a desirable attribute or adjunct of true contemplation. I would ask my correspondent to read again the same article, with these additional remarks, before thinking of the necessity of any peculiar or particular posture for the purpose of contemplation. I, at any rate, am unable to prescribe any specific posture for the kind of incessant contemplation that I recommend.


Notwithstanding the article on the above subject in the February Theosophist, many of its readers still seem to imagine that “contemplation” is a particular form of gazing or staring at something, which process, when undergone a set number of hours every day, will give psychological powers. This misunderstanding is apparently due to the fact that the main point discussed has been lost sight of. Instead of realizing that there is but one chief idea meant to be conveyed by that article by arguing it through many of its phases, it seems to be imagined that almost every sentence expresses quite a distinct idea. It may not therefore be uninteresting or unprofitable to revert to the subject and put forward the same idea from another stand-point and, if possible, in a clearer light. It must first be borne in mind that the writer of the article did not at all mean to imply the act of gazing by the word “contemplation.” The former word would have been made use of, were that the idea. The Imperial Dictionary of the English Language (1883)defines the word contemplation thus:

(1) The act of the mind in considering with attention; meditation; study; continued attention of the mind to a particular subject. Specifically—(2) Holy meditation; attention to sacred things.

Webster’s dictionary thoroughly revisedalso gives the same meaning.

Thus we find that contemplation is the “continued attention of the mind to a particular subject,” and, religiously, it is the “attention to sacred things.” It is therefore difficult to imagine how the idea of gazing or staring came to be associated with the word contemplation, unless it be due to the fact that generally it so happens that when any one is deeply absorbed in thought, he apparently seems to be gazing or staring at something in blank space. But this gazing is the effect of the act of contemplation. And, as usually happens, here too the effect seems to be confounded with the cause. Because the gazing attitude follows the act of contemplation, it is at once assumed the gazing is the cause which produces contemplation! Bearing this well in mind, let us now see what kind of contemplation (or meditation) the Elixir of Life recommends for the aspirants after occult knowledge. It says:

“Reasoning from the known to the unknown, meditation must be practised and encouraged.”

That is to say, a chela’s meditation should constitute the “reasoning from the known to the unknown.” The “known” is the phenomenal world, cognizable by our five senses. And all that we see in this manifested world are the effects, the causes of which are to be sought after in the noumenal, the unmanifested, the “unknown world:” this is to be accomplished by meditation, i.e., continued attention to the subject. Occultism does not depend upon one method, but employs both the deductive and inductive. The student must first learn the general axioms. For the time being, he will of course have to take them as assumptions, if he prefers to call them so. Or as the Elixir of Life puts it:—

“All we have to say is that if you are anxious to drink of the Elixir of Life and live a thousand years or so, you must take our word for the matter, at present, and proceed on the assumption. For esoteric science does not give the faintest possible hope that the desired end will ever be attained by any other way; while modern, or the so-called exact science laughs at it.”

These axioms have sufficiently been laid out in the articles on the Elixir of Life and various others treating on occultism, in the different numbers of the Theosophist. What the student has first to do is to comprehend these axioms and, by employing the deductive method, to proceed from universals to particulars. He has then to reason from the “known to the unknown,” and see if the inductive method of proceeding from particulars to universals supports those axioms. This process forms the primary stage of true contemplation. The student must first grasp the subject intellectually before he can hope to realize his aspirations. When this is accomplished, then comes the next stage of meditation which is “the inexpressible yearning of the inner man to ‘go out towards the infinite’.” Before any such yearning can be properly directed, the goal, to which it is to be its aim to run, must be determined by the preliminary stages. The higher stage, in fact, consists in realizing practically what the first steps have placed within one’s comprehension. In short, contemplation, in its true sense, is to recognize the truth of Eliphas Levi’s saying:—”To believe without knowing is weakness; to believe because one knows, is power.”

Or, in other words, to see that “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.” The Elixir of Life not only gives the preliminary steps in the ladder of contemplation but also tells the reader how to realize the higher conceptions. It traces, by the process of contemplation as it were, the relation of man, “the known,” the manifested, the phenomenon, to “the unknown,” the unmanifested, the noumenon. It shows to the student what ideal he should contemplate and how to rise up to it. It places before him the nature of the inner capacities of man and how to develop them. To a superficial reader, this may, perhaps, appear as the acme of selfishness. Reflection or contemplation will, however, show the contrary to be the case. For it teaches the student that to comprehend the noumenal, he must identify himself with Nature. Instead of looking upon himself as an isolated being, he must learn to look upon himself as a part of the INTEGRAL WHOLE. For, in the unmanifested world, it can be clearly perceived that all is controlled by the “Law of Affinity,” the attraction of one to the other. There, all is Infinite Love, understood in its true sense.

It may now be not out of place to recapitulate what has already been said. The first thing to be done is to study the axioms of Occultism and work upon them by the deductive and the inductive methods, which is real contemplation. To turn this to a useful purpose, what is theoretically comprehended must be practically realized. It is to be hoped that this explanation may make the meaning of the former article on this subject clearer.


Theosophist, February, April, and August, 1884



by Damodar K. Mavalankar

In THE pamphlet of Mr. C. C. Massey, an F. T. S., of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, is a valuable contribution of the discussion now being raised by the publication of Mr. Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism. It is a trite axiom that truth exists independent of human error, and he who would know the truth, must rise up to its level and not try the ridiculous task of dragging it down to his own standard. Every metaphysician knows that Absolute Truth is the eternal Reality which survives all the transient phenomena. The preface to Isis Unveiled expresses the idea very clearly when it says:”Men and parties, sects and creeds, are the mere ephemera of the world’s day, while Truth, high seated on its rock of Adamant, is alone eternal and supreme.” Language belongs to the world of relativity, while Truth is the Absolute Reality. It is therefore vain to suppose that any language, however ancient or sublime, can express Abstract Truth. The latter exists in the world of ideas, and the ideal can be perceived by the sense belonging to that world. Words can merely clothe the ideas. But no number of words can convey an idea to one who is incapable of perceiving it. Every one of us has within him the latent capacity or a sense dormant in us which can take cognisance of Abstract Truth, although the development of that sense or, more correctly speaking, the assimilation of our intellect with that higher sense, may vary in different persons, according to circumstances, education and discipline. That higher sense which is the potential capacity of every human being is in eternal contact with Reality, and every one of us has experienced moments when, being for the time en rapport with that higher sense, we realise the eternal verities. The sole question is how to focalise ourselves entirely in that higher sense. Directly we realise this truth, we are brought face to face with occultism. Occultism teaches its votaries what sort of training will bring on such a development. It never dogmatises, but only recommends certain methods which the experience of ages has proved to be the best suited to the purpose. But just as the harmony of nature consists in symphonious discord, so also the harmony of occult training (in other words, individual human progress) consists in discord of details. The scope of Occultism being a study of Nature, both in its phenomenal and noumenal aspects, its organisation is in exact harmony with the plan of Nature. Different constitutions require different details in training, and different men can better grasp the idea clothed in different expressions. This necessity has given rise to different schools of Occultism, whose scope and ideal is the same, but whose modes of expression and methods of procedure differ. Nay, even the students of the same school have not necessarily a uniformity of training. This will show why it is that until a certain stage is reached, the Chela is generally left to himself, and why he is never given verbal or written instructions regarding the truths of Nature. It will also suggest the meaning of the Neophyte being made to undergo a particular kind of sleep for a certain period before each initiation. And his success or failure depends upon his capacity for the assimilation of the Abstract Truth his higher sense perceives. However, just as unity is the ultimate possibility of Nature, so there is a certain school of Occultism which deals only with the synthetic process, and to which all the other schools, dealing with analytical methods wherein alone can diversity exist, owe their allegiance. A careful reader will thus perceive the absurdity of a dogmatism which claims for its methods a universal application. What is therefore meant by the Adwaitee Philosophy being identical with the Arhat Doctrine, is that the final goal or the ultimate possibility of both is the same. The synthetical process is one, for it deals only with eternal verities, the Abstract Truth, the noumenal. And these two philosophies are put forth together, for in their analytical methods they proceed on parallel lines, one proceeding from the subjective and the other from the objective stand-point. to meet ultimately or rather converge together in one point or centre. As such, each is the complement of the other and neither can be said to be complete in itself. It should be distinctly remembered here that the Adwaitee Doctrine does not date from Sankaracharya, nor does the Arhat Philosophy owe its origin to Gautama Buddha. They were but the latest expounders of these two systems which have existed from time immemorial as they must. Some natures can better comprehend the truth from a subjective stand-point, while others must proceed from the objective. These two systems are therefore as old as Occultism itself, while the later phases of the Esoteric Doctrine are but another aspect of either of these two, the details being modified according to the comprehensive faculties of the people addressed, as also the other surrounding circumstances. Attempts at a revival of the knowledge of this Truth have been numberless, and therefore to suggest that the present is the first attempt in the world’s history, is an error which those whose sense has just been awakened to the glorious Reality are apt to commit. It has already been stated that the diffusion of knowledge is not limited to one process. The possessors of it have never jealously guarded it from any personal or selfish motives. In fact such a frame of mind precludes the possibility of the attainment of knowledge. They have at every opportunity tried all available means to give its benefit to humanity. Times there were undoubted- ly when they had to rest content with giving it only to a few chosen pupils, who, it should be remembered, differ from ordinary humanity only in one essential particular, and that is, that by abnormal training they bring on a process of self-evolution in a comparatively very short period, which ordinary humanity may require numberless ages to reach during the ordinary course of evolution. Those who are acquainted with the history of Count St. Germain and the works of the late Lord Lytton, need not be told that even during the past hundred years constant efforts have been made to awaken the present races to a sense of the knowledge which will assist their progress and ensure future happiness. It should not be, moreover, forgotten that to spread a knowledge of philosophical truths forms but a small fraction of the important work the occultists are engaged in. Whenever circumstances compel them to be shut out from the world’s view, they are most actively engaged in so arranging and guiding the current of events, sometimes by influencing people’s minds, at others by bringing about, as far as practicable, such combinations of forces as would give rise to a higher form of evolution and such other important work on a spiritual plane. They have to do and are doing that work now. Little therefore do the public know what in reality it is that they ask for when they apply for Chelaship. They have to thus pledged themselves to assist the MAHATMAS in that spiritual work by the process of self evolution, for, the energy expended by them in the act of self purification, has a dynamic effect and produces grand results on a spiritual plane. Moreover, they gradually fit themselves to take an active share in the grand work. It may perhaps be now apparent why “THE ADEPT BECOMES, HE IS NOT MADE,” and why he is the “rare efflorescence of the age.” The foregoing considerations should never be lost sight of by the reader of Esoteric Buddhism.

The great difficulty which an ordinarily philosophic mind has to contend against, is the idea that consciousness and intelligence proceed out of non-consciousness and non-intelligence. Although an abstruse metaphysical intellect can comprehend or rather perceive the point subjectively, the present undeveloped state of humanity, at any rate, can conceive the higher truths only from an objective stand-point. Just as, therefore, we are obliged to talk of the setting of the sun, in common parlance, although we know that it is not the movement of the sun that we really refer to, and just as in the geocentric system we have to speak as though the earth were a fixed point in the centre of the universe so that the unripe mind of the student may understand our teachings, so in the same manner the Abstract Truth has to be presented from an objective point of view, so that it may be more easily comprehended by minds with not a very keen metaphysical intellect. Thus one may say that Buddhism is rational Vedantism, while Vedantism is transcendental Buddhism. Keeping this difference in view, an explanation of the difficulty above put forth may be given from the Buddhist stand-point. If the reader will here recall the answer of the MAHATMAS to Question V of “An English F. T. S.,” published in the Theosophist for September 1883,* [*See Five Years of Theosophy–Eds.] he will remember the explanation concerning “the mineral monad.” The one Life permeates ALL. Here it may be added that consciousness and intelligence also permeate ALL. These three are inherent potentially everywhere. But we do not talk of the life of a mineral, nor of its consciousness or intelligence. These exist in it only potentially. The differentiation which results in individualisation is not yet complete. A piece of gold, silver, copper or any other metal, or a piece of rock, &ct., has no sense of separate existence, because the mineral monad is not individualised. It is only in the animal kingdom that a sense of personality begins to be formed. But for all that, an occultist will not say that life, consciousness or intelligence, do not potentially exist in the minerals. Thus it will be seen that although consciousness and intelligence exist everywhere, all objects are not conscious or intelligent. The latent potentiality when developed to the stage of individualisation by the Law of Cosmic Evolution, separates the subject from the object, or rather the subject falls into Upadhi, and a state of personal consciousness or intelligence is realized. But the absolute conscious ness and intelligence which has no Upadhi cannot be conscious or intelligent, for there is no duality, nothing to wake intelligence or to be conscious of. Hence the Upanishads say that Parabrahm has no consciousness, no intelligence, for these states can be cognised by us only on account of our individualisation, while we can have, from our differentiated and personal state, no conception of the undifferentiated, non-dualistic consciousness or intelligence. If there were no consciousness or intelligence in Nature, it were absurd to talk of the Law of Karma or every cause producing its corresponding effect. The MAHATMA, in one of the letters published in the Occult World, says that matter is indestructible, but enquires whether the modern Scientist can tell why it is that Nature consciously prefers that matter should remain indestructible under organic rather than inorganic form. This is a very suggestive idea in regard to the subject under notice. At the beginning of our studies we are apt to be misled by the supposition that our earth, or the planetary chain, or the solar system, constitutes infinity and that eternity can be measured by numbers. Often and often have the MAHATMAS warned us against this error, and yet we do, now and then, try to limit the infinity to our standard instead of endeavouring to expand ourselves to its conception. This has led some naturally to a sense of isolation, and to forget that the same Law of Cosmic Evolution which has brought us to our present stage of individual differentia-tion, is tending to lead us gradually to the original undifferentiated condi-tion. Such allow themselves to be imbued so much with a sense of personality that they try to rebel against the idea of Absolute Unity. Forcing themselves thus in a state of isolation, they endeavour to ride the Cosmic Law which must have its course: and the natural result is annihilation through the throes of disintegration. This it is which constitutes the bridge, the dangerous point in evolution referred to by Mr. Sinnett in his Esoteric Buddhism. And this is why selfishness, which is the result of a strong sense of personality, is detri-mental to spiritual progress. This it is that constitutes the difference between white and black magic. And it is this tendency to which reference is made when talking of the end of a Race. At this period, the whole humanity splits up into two classes, the Adepts of the good Law and the Sorcerers (or Dugpas). To that period we are fast rushing; and to save humanity from a cataclysm which must overtake those who go against the purposes of Nature, the MAHATMAS, who are working with her, are endeavouring to spread knowledge in a manner to prevent its abuse as far as possible. We should therefore constantly remember that the present is not the apex of evolution, and that if we would not be annihilated, we must not allow our selves to be influenced by a sense of personal isolation and consequent worldly vanities and shows. This world does not constitute infinity, nor does our solar system, nor does the immeasurable expanse our physical senses can take cognisance of. All these and more are but an infinitesimal atom of the Absolute Infinity. The idea of personality is limited to our physical senses which, belonging as they do to the Rupa Loka (world of forms), must perish, since we see no permanent form anywhere. All is liable to change, and the more we live in transient personal-ity, the more we incur the danger of final death, or total annihilation. It is only the seventh principle, the Adi Buddha, that is the Absolute Reality. The objective stand-point, however, adds further that Dharma, the vehicle of the seventh principle or its Upadhi, is co-existent with its Lord and Master, the Adi Buddha; because it says nothing can come out of nothing. A more correct form of expressing the idea would be that in the state of Pralaya the sixth principle exists in the seventh as an eternal potentiality to be manifested during the period of cosmic activity. Viewed in this light both the seventh and the sixth principles are Eternal Realities, although it would be more correct to say that the seventh principle is the only Reality, since it re mains immutable both during cosmic activity as also during cosmic rest, while the sixth principle, the Upadhi, although absorbed into the seventh during Pralaya, is changing during Manvantara, first differentiating to return to its undifferentiated condition as the time for Pralaya approaches. It was from this standpoint that Mr. Subba Row was arguing in his article on “A Personal and an Impersonal God,”* which was meant as a reply to Mr. Hume, who was then talking of the Arhat Philosophy.
This article appeared in The Theosophist, Feb. and March, 1883, as a Reply to an article by H. X. (A. 0. Hume), The Theosophist, Dec., 1882.—Eds.

Now the Vedantin doctrine says that Parabrahm is the Absolute Reality which never changes and is thus identical with the Adi Buddha of the Arhats. While Mulaprakriti is that aspect of Parabrahm, which at the time of Manvantara emanates from itself Purusha and Prakriti, and which thus undergoes change during the period of cosmic activity. As Purusha is force, which remains immutable throughout, it is that aspect of Mulaprakriti which is identical with Parabrahm. Hence it is that Purusha is said to be the same as Parabrahm, or the Absolute Reality. While Prakriti, the dif-ferentiated cosmic matter, constantly undergoes change, and is thus impermanent, forming the basis of phenomenal evolution. This is a purely subjective standpoint from which Mr. Subba Row was arguing with the late Swami of Almora who professed to be an Adwaitee. A careful reader will thus perceive that there is no contradiction involved in Mr. Subba Row’s statements, when he says from the objective standpoint that Mulaprakriti and Purusha are eternal, and when again from a subjective standpoint he says that Purusha is the only eternal Reality. His critic has unconsciously mixed up the two stand-points by culling extracts from two different articles written from two different points of view and imag- ines that Mr. Subba Row has made an error.

Attention must now be turned to the idea of the Dhyan Chohans. It has been already stated above that the sixth and the seventh principles are the same in all, and this idea will be clear to every one who reads carefully the foregoing remarks. It has also been added that the sixth principle, being a differentiation of Mulaprakriti, is personal, however exalted and ubiquitous that personality may be. In the Adwaitee Philosophy the Dhyan Chohans correspond to Iswara, the Demiurgus. There is no conscious Iswara outside of the 7th principle of Menu as vulgarly understood. This was the idea Mr. Subba Row meant to convey when he said:“expressions implying the existence of a conscious Iswara which are to be found here and there in the Upanishads, are not to be literally construed.” Mr. Subba Row’s statement is therefore neither “perfectly inexplicable,” nor “audacious,” as it is consistent with the teaching of Sankaracharya. The Dhyan Chohans, who represent the aggregate cosmic intelligence, are the immediate artificers of the worlds, and are thus identical with Iswara or the Demiurgic Mind. But their consciousness and intelligence, pertaining as they do to the sixth and the seventh states of matter, are as such as we cannot cognise, so long as we prefer to remain in our isolation and do not transfer our individuality to the sixth and the seventh principles. As artificers of the worlds, they are the primary principle of the Universe, although they are at the same time the result of Cosmic Evolution. It is an incorrect understanding of the consciousness of Dhyan Chohans that has given rise to the current vulgar notion of God. Little do the dogmatic theists realise that it is within their power to become Dhyan Chohans or Iswara, or at least they have the latent potentiality in them to rise to that spiritual eminence if they will but work with Nature. They know not themselves, and thus allow themselves to be carried away and buried under a sense of personal isolation, looking upon Nature as something apart from themselves. They thus isolate themselves from the spirit of Nature, which is the only eternal Absolute Reality and hurry towards their own disintegration.

The reader will now perceive that Esoteric Buddhism is not a system of materialism. It is, as Mr. Sinnett calls it, “transcendental Materialism” which is non-materialism just as the absolute consciousness is non-consciousness and the absolute personality, of which Mr. Massey talks, is non-personality.

Mr. Massey’s description of evolution from the idealist stand point, with which his pamphlet closes, no occultist will disagree with. The book shows such various phases of thought that different portions must evidently have been written at different times. It is undoubtedly a valuable addition to the existing literature on the subject and will be read with extreme interest by the students of “The metaphysical basis of Esoteric Buddhism.”


Theosophist, May, 1884



Chandra Shckar (Bareilly), Nabin K. Bancrji, P. Nityananda Misra, A. P. Sinnett, J. A. Unwalla, Abraham D. Ezekiel
P. Gopinath, Rai Bishen Lal, Ramaswamier, H. P. Blavatsky, H. S. Olcott, Tripada Banerji, Narendra Nath Sen, Thomas Perera
L. V. Varadarujulu Naidu, Dr. Abinash Chandra Bancrji, Damodar K. Mavalankar, Mohini M. Chatterji, Dr. Mahendranath Gangooli


Method of Study

The student must first learn the general axioms. For the time being, he will of course have to take them as assumptions, if he prefers to call them so.... What the student has first to do is to comprehend these axioms and, by employing the deductive method, to proceed from universals to particulars. He has then to reason from the "known to the unknown," and see if the inductive method of proceeding from particulars to universals supports those axioms. This process forms the primary stage of true contemplation.

Damodar K. Mavalankar


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