Theosophical University Press Online Edition
The Three Fundamental Propositions of The Secret Doctrine
Fingerprints and Reincarnation
Maha-Yugas in a Manvantara
Life-Energies from Moon to Earth
The Scientific Reason for not Judging Others
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost"
Rationale of Crystal-Gazing
Real Birth-Date of Jesus
Concentration and Meditation
H. P. B. mentions in the Proem of THE SECRET DOCTRINE that it is necessary to gain understanding of the three fundamental principles. Could you tell us what these three fundamental principles are and what they mean? I find it extremely difficult to comprehend them.
The three fundamental principles as H. P. B. outlines them in The Secret Doctrine are the very basis, the three foundation-stones, on which the entire structure of the modern presentation of the Ancient Wisdom rests. If you get these three ideas in your mind, you will have thereafter an outline, a skeleton-frame, of ideas.
H. P. B. writes as follows on page 14 of the first volume of The Secret Doctrine: "The Secret Doctrine establishes three fundamental propositions: (a) An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE [This does not mean immutable in action, but does mean immutable in its own essence.] on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude."
H. P. B. writes practically three pages on this first fundamental proposition or principle; and it is one which I have devoted much space to in my Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, because it is the least understood by most students. Some of our students have imagined that this principle is a god of a kind, or a spirit of a kind, and it is neither — at least not in any usual conception of these terms. Some people have imagined, contrariwise, that it is a mere abstraction, a usage of words only in order to cover or to conceal or to disguise a hiatus in the Ancient Wisdom or the mystical thought of the Masters; and this idea is simply preposterous. It is called a 'principle,' simply because there is no word in the English language which accurately describes it.
To illustrate: What is the 'principle' of a triangle? A triangle is a geometrical figure which has three straight sides joined at their ends and enclosing space. A 'principle' of a thing describes its esse, its essence, its characteristic; and consequently there is otherwise no limiting description here. H. P. B. says herself that this principle in its esse is beyond the reach of human thought. Obviously true, because it is Boundless Infinitude; it is That, Tat to use the words of the Hindu Veda. Consequently it is everywhere, it is all that is, all that ever was, all that ever will be, the fountain of everything, the great source, the inexpressible source, the ineffable source, from which everything flows forth, and into which everything finally returns, atoms and gods, worlds and everything on and in them. It is boundless life, boundless space, boundless duration, frontierless and beginningless, and without limiting extensional dimensions of any kind, because it contains them all. How can you describe this indescribable THAT? This, then, is the first principle that H. P. B. postulates as one of the three fundamental propositions.
There is not a word about 'God' here. It is not personal nor is it impersonal — this 'principle' as H. P. B. calls it — because it includes both personalities and impersonalities and is beyond both. It is not spirit, and it is not non-spirit, because it includes and is beyond both. It is not time and it is not non-time, because it includes and is beyond both. These statements are correct because all these ideas are human ideas connected with what modern scientific philosophers would call 'space-time' and 'events.' Yet the very core of the core of the heart of the heart of each one of us, and indeed of every entity and thing in boundless infinitude, is this principle. It is what we essentially are as individuals and collectively. Call it the kosmic life and you won't err; only in this case for the adjective 'kosmic' you must extend your conception to include boundless infinitude. Call it the kosmic intelligence and you won't err, but in this case it is not only the intelligence of a Solar System nor of a Galaxy nor of a thousand billion Galaxies, but all these and infinitely more; nothing manifested, however vast, even approaches the ends of it, because it has no end.
This idea cuts directly at the root of all sectarian religious thought; it does away with all human religious postulates regarding divinity and all human man-made gods, no matter how great. If properly understood it washes our minds clean of all egoisms; all things sink into utter insignificance beside the adumbrations of a conception that we may have of this — and yet it is the essence of ourselves! It is the selves of the gods; it is the selves of the Universes; it is the selves of the Galaxies, the selves of the great Spaces, of the great fields of the spaces of frontierless Space; it is all the inner worlds and all the outer worlds and that mysterious, that awful, indescribable 'something' which surrounds and permeates and enfolds and encloses and which flashes through all. It is all energy that is, it is all substance that is, it is all destiny that is, it is everything at all times and in all places and everywhere. How can you give the name of 'god' to THAT? This, then, is an outline of the first fundamental proposition.
H. P. B.'s second fundamental proposition she describes as follows on page 16 of the first volume of The Secret Doctrine, to wit: "(b) The Eternity of the Universe in toto," [not any one Universe, but what I have often spoken of as boundless and frontierless infinitude, inner infinitude as well as outer, the 'Universe' in the sense of a kosmic organism, but an organism which has no beginning and no ending, or rather it is organisms within organisms, kosmic cause within and beyond kosmic cause.] "The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; [here H. P. B. is describing only the astral-vital-physical] periodically 'the playground of numberless Universes . . .' [mark you this] The Eternity of the Universe . . . periodically 'the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing,' called 'the manifesting stars,' and the 'sparks of Eternity.' 'The Eternity of the Pilgrim' is like a wink of the Eye of Self-Existence (Book of Dzyan)."
By the way, I might add here that this term Dzyan is but the Senzar term of what in Sanskrit meant spiritual meditation; the same word is used in the phrase Dhyani-Buddhas, the Buddhas immersed in Dhyana. Dhyana therefore is the Sanskrit form of the Senzar Dzyan. "'The appearance and disappearance of Worlds is like a regular tidal ebb and flux and reflux.'
"This second assertion of the Secret Doctrine is the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature. An alternation such as that of Day and Night, Life and Death, Sleeping and Waking, is a fact so common, so perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to comprehend that in it we see one of the absolutely fundamental laws of the universe." — in the boundless, in the infinite, frontierless, spaces of Space.
The second proposition sets forth that there appear from time to time in regular and periodic successions, like an ebb and flow, worlds and beings continuous throughout eternity, Manvantara and Pralaya: the appearance and disappearance of incalculable numbers of Universes in all grades, in all degrees and stages, of spiritual evolution and of vital-astral-physical evolution. I have often marvelled that here, in explaining what the second fundamental proposition is, H. P. B. should have limited it — at least in appearance — to the astral-physical side only, because actually this is an insufficient exposition of this amazing proposition which is equivalent to an intellectual revelation; but I dare say, and in fact I know, that our beloved H. P. B. thought that to give all the truth concerning this proposition in The Secret Doctrine, which was the first instalment of the esoteric teaching, would be too much to deliver at one time and in an era when men had no real idea of inner worlds, of spiritual and ethereal worlds, except as taught vaguely by the Christians and unfortunately and inaccurately by the spiritists. In fact, one can only commend her for her reserve in this respect.
This ebb and flow, this flux and reflux, this appearance and disappearance, of Solar Systems, of Galaxies, and of individual suns or planets, is as evident in the interior planes and spheres, in the invisible realms, as it is on and in our own astral-vital-physical plane. Periodicity or universal cyclical action is the key-note, the key-thought, therefore, of the second great fundamental principle.
First, then, we have as the primordial 'principle,' the vast and frontierless Boundless in which appear from time to time in periodical successions worlds and galaxies of worlds, galaxies and hierarchies of galaxies, coming and going throughout eternity; and man's various reimbodiments, not only on this plane on this globe but throughout the Planetary Chain and indeed also in the Outer Rounds — and you know what these are, some of you at least, if you have studied Fundamentals — man's reimbodiments, I repeat, are an instance in the small of the same universal law which rules everything within the mighty Whole.
Isn't it obvious that a part of a whole cannot contain something that the whole has not? Isn't this clear? Therefore, whatever the part contains the whole must have, otherwise it could not appear in a part of the whole. Conversely, whatever the whole has, the part has — unmanifest it may be, but latent there and some day to appear.
All is within each one of us. Ah! your destiny is sublime beyond all human imagining; for I tell you, Companions, that you and the Boundless are fundamentally, essentially, one. You are not merely separable parts of a whole, not merely one with it as separable parts, distinct parts, as in a loose union, but are essentially the same with the Boundless. There is no fundamental or essential difference whatsoever. The infinite, the Boundless, and you, are the same in essence, are identic in essence; and therefore you merely manifest, as manifesting atoms as it were, some of the energies and powers and forces that the Boundless contains and which therefore you contain manifest or unmanifest.
Now comes the third fundamental proposition — and this is in some respects and perhaps to some students the most wonderful of all three, to which the observations that I have just made naturally lead us in thought. This proposition appears on pages 17 and 18 of the first volume of The Secret Doctrine. "The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, [which is what I have just told you] the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root [the Boundless, therefore you are the Boundless]; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul — a spark of the former — through the Cycle of Incarnation (or 'Necessity') in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, [which is the second fundamental proposition] during the whole term." Then H. P. B. continues to define.
It seems to us now greatly to be regretted that at this point in the writing of The Secret Doctrine, although it is done elsewhere, H. P. B. did not point out that 'Soul' is used here in the sense of fundamental Self, although the S is printed with a capital letter, meaning here not the lower self, not the human self, not the beast-self — the animal self — but the god-self, the super-god self, in other words the Paramatman, that fundamental essential selfhood which is the heart of being and therefore which is your heart of being. This is what is meant by 'Soul' here, the fundamental identity not of your weak, vacillating, poor human soul or mind, which is but a shadow of the reality, but the fundamental identity of the god within you, and of the super-god within you, and of the super, super, super, super-god within you, which is the core of the core of the core of you — with this indescribable sublimity called the 'Boundless,' when manifesting in its form of 'Universal Over-Soul.' Note here the very important and profoundly interesting distinction drawn by our great H. P. B., and so rightly drawn, between the 'Boundless' without qualifying adjective which is sheer frontierless infinity and eternity, and that aspect of the Boundless in its form of manifestation which in ordinary human language can be described as the ensouled Universe, or as H. P. B. puts it 'the Universal Over-Soul.' This distinction is of the first importance for a proper understanding of what perhaps we may call kosmic pneumatology and psychology.
These three fundamental propositions are the very heart of the Ancient Wisdom, and therefore of Occultism, no matter in what words or after what human fashion we learn these propositions and take them into our consciousness. In order to make progress in occult studies, that is in the studies of esoteric philosophy, we must have these ideas thoroughly familiar to us, as parts of our consciousness, so that our mind instinctively reverts to them as invaluable touchstones in our studies and hours of quiet reflexion. The first is the Boundless; then second the periodical appearance of the Universes and of the gods; then third the fundamental identity of every entity, of every thing, with the Boundless. Here are the three propositions in brief.
Is there any basis of truth in the idea that an ego might be traced through several successive incarnations by means of the fingerprints or other such marks in the successive physical bodies?
I am quite sure that fundamentally your idea is not only sound but absolutely correct. The great difficulty would be to find the thumb-print or finger-prints from former lives of an individual. It is perfectly true that for Theosophical or occult reasons the markings of the thumb and fingers of each body taken up by a reincarnating ego would very closely parallel and perhaps are almost identic with the dactylographic markings on the thumb and fingers of the preceding body of the same ego. Any changes that would be found, if we could compare two such markings, would be those brought about by evolutional changes in the soul producing modifications in the body, and also the hereditary influences from the ancestry which would tend to modify markings of such character.
How can we reconcile the 27 or 28 Maha-yugas with the 71 or 72 Maha-yugas spoken of by H. P. B.?
The 27 or 28 Maha-yugas refers to the Vaivasvata Manu in so far as it concerns our Globe D only. Now in regard to the figure 71: In one manvantara of 306,720,000 years there are just 71 Maha-yugas. This manvantara of Vaivasvata began on Globe A in this Round, then finished there and passed to Globe B; finished there and passed on to Globe C; and reached its end at the middle point of the Fourth Root-Race on our Globe D, making therefore 71 Maha-yugas. There are about 2 Maha-yugas more which have run since the middle of the Fourth Root-Race when that manvantara reached its chronological end, which means that 72 Maha-yugas have elapsed since the beginning of this manvantara, and we are now in the 73rd Maha-yuga.
Another point in corroboration of this is H. P. B.'s figure of 320,000,000 years. She points out that 320,000,000 years have elapsed since the beginning of sedimentation on our earth in this Round. Thus, if you add to the 71 Maha-yugas of the Vaivasvata Manu, totalling 306,720,000 years, another 2 Maha-yugas, or about 9,000,000 years, you come very close to the 319,000,000 or 320,000,000 years as estimated by H. P. B.
Could you explain how the life-energies of the Moon-chain are transmitted to its child, the Earth-chain, at the death of the former?
When the Moon-chain died, each of its globes sent out its life-forces to make the respective laya-centers of the earth-series; as for instance: Moon Globe A sent out its life-forces to laya-center A, later to be the Globe A of the Earth.
Now after nirvana when the time came for the building of the different globes of the Earth-chain the first of these laya-centers to awaken into manifestation was laya-A of the Earth-chain, to become Globe A of the Earth-chain. And this received all the impulses of all the waves coming from the nirvana, and it passed through its seven cycles during the First Round and then projected its surplus to laya-center B of the Earth-chain which in similar manner received all the remaining impulses and built itself, ran through its seven cycles during the First Round and projected its surplus of life, which means all the remaining impulses to laya-C of the Earth-chain which went through the same procedures. And thus all the laya-centers of the Earth-chain finally became the preparatory globes of the First Round.
Briefly, remember that the globes of the Earth-chain are not actually in building until the different classes or life-waves come out of their nirvana, and coming down into the lower realms begin to build the globes. Up to that time they were just sleeping centers, laya-centers. These laya-centers were inaugurated when the Moon died and were, so to say, crystallized or placed in position in space by the lowest parts of the life-waves which came over from the Moon. This lowest part is not the physical part, which latter slowly disintegrated as a corpse. Then when the life-waves came out of the nirvana — seven or ten or twelve classes according to the way you reckon — they naturally entered the most ethereal of the laya-centers and these built up Globe A and then the matter proceeds as I have tried to explain.
Thus it is that the Moon projects its essences, and the different globes of the Earth help in building each other.
The laya-centers are formed or rather effected by the dying Moon, but do not become active until the hierarchies come out of their long nirvana and begin to build the Earth-chain. This does not mean that there is no activity or motion there, because the physical life-atoms of the Moon are constantly peregrinating just as the physical atoms of a man's body when he dies continue peregrinating through all the kingdoms until the reincarnating ego returns to earth-life.
Could you give us, so that we shall never forget it, the really Theosophical scientific reason why we should not judge others? It is not the sentimental reason I am asking for, but the real scientific, technical reason.
There are many reasons — more than one. There is the ethical reason. It is wrong to judge others, because what right have I to judge my brother? I am not wise enough. I think I see that he is doing right and I judge him, and I say he is a good man. Well, that is all right because I do him no harm. But I see my brother, I think he is doing wrong, and I judge him, and I say that he is a bad man. Now that is not right. I am not wise enough. If I see him doing an act which I know is wrong, it is right to judge the act, but not to judge the man, because we do not know what the motive was. We have no right to sit in judgment on our brothers.
The scientific reason is that the man who judges others warps, shrivels, distorts, twists, his own mind; because usually when we judge our brothers, adversely that is, unkindly, we imprint on our own souls a mark of unkindness, and distort the fabric of our consciousness equivalently. We are playing with fire which burns us. Do not judge others, for by your own judgment you will be judged, because you are imprinting on your soul memories of your judgments, and distorting your character which thereafter will act in a distorted way; and the same thing you will become. If, for instance, I judge my brother as being a dishonest man — I will use this as an example — then on my own soul I leave a print of dishonesty because I had this thought so strongly in my mind it prints itself in my own mind, in my own soul; and my own mind becomes dishonest because I think so much about it, and because it automatically follows the psychic twist that I have given to it. I warp, distort, twist, my own soul. And if you do this repeatedly and continuously and do not do other noble acts, kindly acts, that at least will balance or neutralize, Nature's own judgment-balance will lean down and you will thus be weighed in your own scales of judgment, and found wanting.
By your own acts you will be judged. Karman will find in the mind which has misjudged others continuously, a distorted, warped, twisted, weakened character. Thoughts of love make us beautiful. Thoughts of hatred make us ugly. Consequently, when we judge others unkindly, because these are thoughts of evil and hatred, we become ugly inside. Therefore the rule is: judge not others. Be very severe with yourself, but forgive others their trespasses against yourself as you hope others will forgive you. Learn to love and learn to forgive. This brings about a beautiful, symmetrically shaped character.
How would you explain the Christian idea of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, in the light of Theosophy?
The 'Father,' the 'Son,' and the 'Holy Ghost,' are three aspects or ways of looking at the spiritual world, and the spiritual nature of the human being. The very highest part, the Christians call the 'Father.' The 'Holy Ghost,' or 'Holy Spirit,' as the Christians sometimes call it, is the spirit of love and beauty and order that just naturally flows through and from the 'Father,' which is the highest, the spiritual aspect or part, either of the Universe or of man; while the 'Son' is the portion or part of the Father whose work is more particularly taken up with filling the Universe on the one hand, and the human soul on the other hand, with the divine Light. So thus you see that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are really one thing at bottom, and yet, in another point of view, are three things in the way they work.
I may illustrate this by taking the spiritual nature of a human being for an instance. The higher spiritual part of man is the 'Father.' The 'Son' is the reflexion or manifestation of this Father, called the spiritual soul; while the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is the spiritual influence or energy streaming through the Father and the Son, and giving to the human being all the loveliest and noblest qualities of a spiritual type, such as impersonal love and inspiration and illumination, and all other sublime things like these.
The Christians, in the very first days when Jesus still lived, were Theosophists, and Jesus was a Theosophical Teacher of his time; but when Jesus died, and the first Christians died, a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding arose about Jesus' beautiful teachings, and these confused ideas became the dogmas and very set teachings of the later churches.
I have tried to put this explanation in simple language, because my own father was a Christian clergyman, and I used to have many interesting talks with him, and he agreed with me that the Theosophical viewpoint was a very reasonable and beautiful explanation.
Can you tell me what is the rationale of crystal-gazing? Why should a CRYSTAL be necessary in order to see into the Astral Light?
The only reason that the globe is crystal and has any effect is on account of the light that it can gather and flash to the eye. If the globe were made of wood or stone and dull, it would have no effect. But it is well-known in modern medical studies, and has been known since immemorial time all over the world, that if you want to throw yourself into a passive state, quiet the vagrant, rampant, restless everyday thoughts of your mind and still the emotions, look at light even if it is only a spot of light on the wall or the reflexion from a finger ring or a crystal globe or a brightly burning candle. Any spot of light, especially with so-called sensitives, will if stared at long enough bring about a loss of individuality and of the starer's egoity, and will induce a negative 'half-there' dreaminess eventuating in sleep, waking-sleep, auto-hypnosis, self-hypnosis. Why? Because the eyes staring at a spot of light and continuing to stare, will transmit the message to the brain of that steady vibrational continuity, unceasing, never changing. And the brain becomes still because it is deadened; it has become insensitised and dull. Then if the glass starer or light starer is a real psychic, a sensitive, with the brain thus stilled and the eyes taking on the vibration of the light, certain faculties belonging to the psychic part of a man are freed and the voice will speak, sometimes telling truth, often not, depending upon the condition of utter or partial receptivity.
All these things are well-known by modern doctors and psychologists. But it is an awfully bad thing to follow. You are less than you were before. And you are not attaining true intuition, true vision, true clairvoyance which comes from above and can function at any time and as soon as you raise your mind upward. That is the thing to strive for. That makes you ten times the one you were or are in ordinary life.
There you have the whole reason for the effect of the crystal or of the candle flame or of the spot of light from a ring — anything that will make a spot of light. It is simply to induce a somnolent deadened insensitised condition of the brain and the nerves. And if continued too often it will make the practitioner go down instead of rise. It was well explained by a man I knew once who had made a life-long study of these things. He said the fact is these crystal gazers and others simply reduce the vibration of their own brain-mind with its individuality and fire and genius and all the other qualities that the man ought to have — they simply reduce the vibrations of the brain-mind to the unchanging vibrations of the crystal through which the light goes. It does insensitise the brain and that is why it works sometimes. It is very much the same way that a snake will hypnotize a bird or rabbit; or the man a son of man. The will of the victim, whether crystal gazer or not — a self-victim — looses its hold on the man's brain and nervous system. The brain and the nervous system become synchronously sympathetic or in synchronous vibration with the hypnotizer, with the light, with the snake's eye, with the light in the other man's eye. The will is abandoned, withdrawn or ejected.
It has been said that Jesus lived about one hundred Years before what we call the Christian Era. Is this statement made on astronomical calculation, or on what? [Question asked in 1934]
The statement is made from our esoteric records; but these esoteric records also are largely based on astronomical and genuinely astrological wisdom. The Wise Ones do not come irregularly, that is to say fortuitously. They come at stated periods, because everything in the Universe moves according to order and law. Consequently those who know how to calculate need not even consult the stars. They know that at a certain period after a great soul has appeared among men some other great soul will come.
Besides this, there is no record, historically speaking, of the appearance of the great Syrian Sage called Jesus in the accepted Year 1 of the Christian Era, or in the Year 4 B. C. This is one of the reasons why Occidental scholars of a critical turn of mind have said that no such personality as Jesus ever lived, because there is no historical record of his existence outside of the Christian Scriptures. But he did live — a little more than one hundred years before the Year 1 of the Christian Era.
The date of the present Christian Era was first set arbitrarily by a Christian monk called Dionysius Exiguus, Dionysius the Small, who lived in the Sixth Century of the Christian Era, under the Emperors Justin and Justinian. He did not know when the Master Jesus was born, but he made calculations according to the literary material under his hand, not much of it, but such as he had. And he set the birth of the Christian Master at about 600 years before his own time. Soon after, this hypothetical date became accepted as the Year 1 of the Christian Era, the year of the birth of the great Sage called Jesus.
We have in our esoteric calculations what we call the Messianic Cycle, a cycle 2160 solar years long. This is just one half of the 4320 — 4-3-2-, the key-figures of our esoteric reckoning. Every 2160 years the sun enters a new sign of the zodiac. Twelve times 2160 completes the grand year, the annus magnus, of some 25,920 years long. And — and this is very interesting — we are now let us say within a few years of 2040 years since the Master Jesus was born; and the Messiah of the present Messianic Cycle was the power, the influence, working through H. P. B. You may judge from her and her work somewhat of the nature of the Master Jesus. The Master Jesus as known in Christian story and legend is a mere idealization of the great Sage, an ideal figure. The great Sage actually lived, had his disciples, did his work; and when he died, as the years passed his disciples wove a web of story and legend about him; and this web became the Christian New Testament, the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And the story and the legend that was woven about the central figure of the Master was taken from the Initiation-schools of Asia Minor. The important thing about these great Sages is not their persons, but the power flowing through them and the Message that they bring to their fellow-men.
At the beginning of the last quarter of every hundred years our great Teachers make a special effort in the world towards a new spiritual and intellectual awakening. Now then, some Theosophists think that the world must wait until 1975 before any new spiritual teaching can be given to men through the Theosophical Movement. This is wrong. It is not only illogical but it is contrary to fact. These Theosophists seem to look forward to the one who will come in the last quarter of this century as a sort of modern Buddha, as a sort of modern Christ. This is wrong, because the Messianic Cycle was opened by H. P. B., and she was the beginner of the new Messianic Cycle — the power working through her I mean, the Master's influence. She was the 'Messiah'-person, to use the old Jewish-Christian word, of our present cycle of 2160 years (but not at all like the supposititious Christ-person of legend and story, because that type-figure is almost wholly ideal). But a special effort will be made by a chela at the end of every hundred years until the 2160 odd years of the Messianic Cycle initiated by H. P. B. shall have run its course. Then a new Messianic Cycle will open.
I think that the chela, the Teacher, the Messenger, who will come in the last quarter of this century will be rejected by many Theosophists who now think they are very faithful to him who has not yet come, (unless indeed their minds change greatly between now and then, if they live so long,) because they will not understand him; they will look for a creature of their own imaginations, instead of accepting the one who is to come as he is; and because this noble-hearted chela, this noble-hearted man, will appear quietly and simply and give his teachings more or less as the other Messengers of every hundred-year period have done, many will reject him; but I hope that in our Society at least, due to the teachings that you have had and will have, the one who comes in 1975 will find a home amongst us; that he will not be rejected because he came simply and nobly as H. P. B. came, with no blowing of trumpets, with no great advertising. Many of us will have passed on by 1975, and will not see this, but the children amongst us, and the youngest ones amongst us, I hope will be helpers.
In meditation and concentration if the body feels any physical reaction such as becoming hot, what does it indicate, and should one continue meditating, or should one stop when this occurs?
I take it that you are attempting to pursue one of the methods of Indian Yoga, which in the technical language of that country is called Hatha-Yoga. The methods of Hatha-Yoga are always dangerous to the health of the body, and in many cases to the stability and clarity of the mind, and I feel it incumbent upon me, as a sheer duty towards fellow human beings, to warn you most earnestly of the dangers that lie along this path.
Of course, the answer to your question is exceedingly clear and very brief, and it is the following: Stop immediately, and discontinue the practice. The warmth that you speak of under the adjective 'hot,' is doubtless a physiological nervous reaction, and, I am convinced, is simply Nature's warning to cease the cause producing this effect.
I beg you to forgive me if what I herein state seems a bit abrupt, or if the suggestion that I give to you is unwelcome. But I know how exceedingly dangerous to both mental and physical health these practices are, and, as said before, I feel it incumbent upon me to warn any human being against them.
Concentration and meditation themselves and alone, apart from physical practices, are valuable spiritual and mental exercises; and if properly pursued they bring about clarity of the mind, quiet and peace of both mind and body, and are productive of a strengthening of the mental apparatus. But I here speak of genuine concentration and meditation, which have nothing to do in themselves with physical postures or practices. Meditation is simply holding steadily a thought in the mind, and dwelling upon it continuously and in peace until the idea or problem that the mind holds is clearly understood or solved; and concentration is simply a centering of the mental attention upon the thought thus held in the mind.
As a matter of fact, meditation and concentration are two sides of the same thing, and, if properly conducted, no dangerous physiological reactions at all follow. Anyone who pays close attention to what he is doing, and who concentrates upon what he is doing, is simply exercising mental faculties which bring about success in the duty taken in hand. But if there is a physiological reaction, such as you speak of, it is a sign that the practice as pursued is a dangerous one, both to physical and mental health; and, since you ask my opinion, I will answer that the practice should be stopped immediately.