Theosophical University Press Online Edition
VOL. I., No. 11 - AUGUST, 1880
Our Second Year
Fruits of the Ceylon Mission
The Occult Sciences
East Indian Materia Medica
The Zoroastrian Religion as Represented by Martin Haug
"Spirit" Pranks Intra Caucasus
The Gesture-Speech of Mankind
The Study of Theosophy
Light from the Missionaries Wanted
A Land of Mystery
Notes on " A Land of Mystery "
The Hindu Bengal
A Buddhist Mission to the United States
Testing the Bewitched Mirror Theory
Sobs, Sods and Posies
A Buddhist Hymn
One Theosophist's View of Man's Position and Prospects
Health of the Eyes
The Vedanta Philosophy
Solar volcanoes, or Spots upon the Sun
The Theosophists in Ceylon
It is evident that the THEOSOPHIST will offer to advertisers unusual advantages in circulation. We have already subscribers in every part of India, in Ceylon, Burmah, and on the Persian Gulf. Our paper also goes to Great Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Russia, Constantinople, Egypt, Australia, and North and South America. The following very moderate rates have been adopted:
First insertion . . . . 16 lines and under . . . . 1 Rupee
For each additional line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Anna
Space is charged for at the rate of l2 lines to the inch. Special arrangements can be made for large advertisements, and for longer and fixed periods. For further information and contracts for advertising, apply to MESSRS. COOPER & CO., Advertising Agents, Booksellers and Publishers, Meadow Street, Fort, Bombay.
The Subscription price at which the THEOSOPHIST is published barely covers cost — the design in establishing the journal having been rather to reach a very wide circle of readers, than to make a profit. We cannot afford, therefore, to send specimen copies free, nor to supply libraries, societies, or individuals gratuitously. For the same reason we are obliged to adopt the plan, now universal in America, of requiring subscribers to pay in advance, and of stopping the paper at the end of the term paid for. Many years of practical experience has convinced Western publishers that this system of cash payment is the best and most satisfactory to both parties; and all respectable journals are now conducted on this plan.
Subscribers wishing a printed receipt for their remittances must send stamps for return postage. Otherwise, acknowledgments will be made through the journal.
The THEOSOPHIST will appear each month. The rates, for twelve numbers of not less than 40 columns Royal 4to to each, of reading matter, or 480 columns, in all, are as follows: — To subscribers in any part of India, Rs. 6 per annum; in Ceylon, Rs. 7; in the Straits Settlements, China, Japan, and Australia, Rs. 8; in Africa, Europe, and the United States, £ 1. Half year (India) Rs. 4; Single copies annas 12. Remittances in postal stamps must be at the rate of annas 17 to the Rupee to cover discount. The above rates include postage. No name will be entered in the books or paper sent until the money is remitted; and invariably the paper will be discontinued at the expiration of the term subscribed for. Remittances should be made in Money-orders, Hundis, Bill cheques, (or Treasury bills, if in registered letters) and made payable only to the PROPRIETORS OF THE THEOSOPHIST, 108, Girgaum Back Road, Bombay, India.
AGENTS: London (Eng.), Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, W.; New York, S. R. Wells & Co., 787, Broadway; Boston, Mass., Colby and Rich, 9, Montgomery Place; Chicago, Ill., J. C. Bundy, 92, La Salle St. American Subscribers may also order their papers through W. Q. Judge, Esq., 71, Broadway, New York.
Ceylon: Issac Weeresooriya, Deputy Coroner, Dodanduwa: John Robert de Silva, Colombo.
BOMBAY, AUGUST 1ST, 1880.
The Editors disclaim responsibility for opinions expressed by contributors in their articles. Great latitude is allowed to correspondents, and they alone are accountable for what they write. Rejected MSS. are not returned.
THE OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER ISSUES OF THIS JOURNAL having been reprinted, new subscribers who wish to have their year begin with the October number, will now be charged annas eight additional to cover the extra cost of the republication. Those who order their subscriptions to date from the December, or any later issue, pay Rs. 6 only.
WITHOUT THE HELP OF SHORT-HAND WRITERS IT WILL be impossible for either the President or Corresponding Secretary, to answer the letters which, upon returning from Ceylon, they find piled up on their desks. And short-hand writers are not to be had at Bombay. It is hoped, therefore, that those new and old friends who may not receive the acknowledgments always so conscientiously made to correspondents by the officers of our Society, will kindly regard the fact as unavoidable and benevolently excuse it. Those who have seen the work that is done daily in the executive offices at Bombay, can realize what must have confronted us on casting the first glance at our respective tables, as well as the necessity for the present apologetic paragraph.
OUR SECOND YEAR.
Like all other pleasant things, our first year's relations with the THEOSOPHIST's subscribers are about to terminate. The present is the eleventh number, that has been issued under the contract, and the September one will be the twelfth and last. Thus every engagement assumed by the proprietors of the magazine has been honourably and literally fulfilled. It would seem as though they were entitled to the acknowledgment of this much even from those croakers who prophesied the total, probably speedy, collapse of the enterprise, both before and after the first number appeared.
The case of the THEOSOPHIST calls for a word or two of particular comment. Even in any large city of Europe or America, it is a very rare thing for a periodical of this stamp to survive the natural indifference or hostility of the public for a whole year. Out of scores of attempts made within our own recollection, the successes are so few as to be scarcely worth mentioning. As a rule their term of existence has been in exact ratio with the lump sum their projectors have been ready to spend upon them. In India the prospect was far worse; for the people are poor, cut up into innumerable castes, not accustomed to take in periodicals, and certainly not to patronize those put forth by foreigners. Besides, and especially, the custom has always been to give two, three and even more years' credit to subscribers, and every Indian publication advertises its respective cash and credit terms of subscription. All this we knew, and both Anglo-Indian and Native journalists of the largest experience warned us to anticipate failure; under no circumstances, they thought, would it be possible for us to make succeed among so apathetic a people so strange a magazine, even though we should give unlimited credit. But as our object was not profit, and as the Society badly needed such an organ, we decided to make the venture. A sum large enough to pay the entire cost of the magazine for one year was set aside, and the first number appeared promptly on the day announced — October 1st, 1879. Believing that the credit system was absolutely pernicious, and having seen the universal adoption in America of the plan of cash payment in advance and its unmixed advantages, we announced that the latter would be the rule of this office. The results are already known to our readers; in the fourth month the magazine reached, and before the half year was gone, passed that ticklish point where income and expenses balance each other, and its success was an assured fact. Many subscribers have been so anxious to have us succeed that they have sent us their money to pay for the magazine two years in advance, and others have told us we may count upon their patronage as long as they may live.
It goes without saying that the projectors of the THEOSOPHIST have been inexpressibly delighted with the affectionate response to their appeal to the Asiatic people for support in an attempt to snatch from the dust of oblivion the treasures of Aryan wisdom. What heart that was not made of stone could be untouched by so much devotion as has been shown us and our sacred cause of human brotherhood? And it is our pride and joy to realize that all these friends have clustered around us, even when we were under the heavy burden of the suspicions of the Indian Government, because they have believed us to be sincere and true; the friends and brothers of the ardent sons of Asia. If our first year began in uncertainty it closes all bright and full of promise. Where our magazine had one well-wisher then, now it has twenty, and by the beginning of the third year will have fifty. It has become a necessity to hundreds of young Aryan patriots, who love to know what their ancestors were so that they may at least dream of emulating them. It has won a place in the regard of even Anglo-Indians, of which class many in influential positions take it. Its merits as an oriental magazine have been acknowledged by a number of the first Orientalists of Europe, who have been by it introduced for the first time to some of the most learned of Asiatic priests, pandits and shastrees. In another place, in this number, will be found a few of the kind words that have been said to and about us, at this and the other side of the world. As to our present standing with the Government of India, the letter from the ex-Viceroy, Lord Lytton, and the leading article of the Pioneer, (printed respectively in the February and June numbers), as well as the appeal from the Director of Agriculture, N.-W. P. for help, which appeared in June, make all plain. In short, the Theosophical Society, and its organ, the THEOSOPHIST, are now so firmly established that — entirely apart from the splendid results of the mission to Ceylon, treated elsewhere in a separate article — every lover of truth may well rejoice.
Were we inclined to boasting we might hold out very attractive inducements to subscribers for the second volume. We prefer to let our past performance stand as guarantee of what we will do in the future. We have engaged so many valuable articles by the best writers of Asia, Europe and America that we have no hesitancy in promising that the THEOSOPHIST of 1880-81 will be still more interesting and instructive than it has been for 1879-80. Naturally, the Ceylon voyage, and the taking into the Theosophical Society of every Buddhist priest in the Island of any reputation for ability or learning, will lead to such a complete exposition of Buddhism in these columns, by the men best qualified to speak, as must arrest universal attention. No Oriental magazine in the world could ever point to such an array of learned contributors as the THEOSOPHIST may already pride itself upon.
There will be no change in the terms of subscription, as we wish to make it possible for even the poorest clerk to take the magazine. Our friends must not forget that the American plan embraces two features, viz., the subscription money must be in the manager's hands before any copy is sent; and the journal is discontinued at the expiration of the term subscribed for. These two rules are invariable, and they have been announced on the first page in every issue, as may be seen upon referring to the Publisher's notices. The September number is, therefore, the last that will be sent to our present subscribers, except to such as have paid for a further term. And as it takes time both to remit money and to open a new set of books, we advise all who wish to receive the November number at the usual time, to forward their subscriptions at once. We must again request that all cheques, hundis, money-orders, registered letters and other remittances on account of the magazine may be made to the order of "the Proprietors of the THEOSOPHIST," and to no one else.
FRUITS OF THE CEYLON MISSION.
From the narratives that have been transferred to these pages from the Pioneer and other sources, our public has already learnt what a splendid reception our Delegation was given in Spicy Lanka. These narratives have included some descriptions of the pageants, processions, and hospitalities given in their honour. But nothing that has been or can be written, will adequately convey an impression of the almost royal welcome we received from our Buddhist brethren. From the moment of our landing to that of our departure, every day was made by them a jubilee of joy and fraternity. Our every want was anticipated and provided for. Houses, furniture, servants, food, carriages — all were placed at our disposal. When we moved from village to village it was in private carriages, or in mail-coaches specially chartered for our use. We were entertained and escorted by committees of the most influential gentlemen; and the most eminent priests in all the Island invoked the blessed influence of Buddha and the holy Rahats (Rishis) upon our heads; some of the most aged coming often a dozen or twenty miles afoot to pay us their respects. In eight weeks we founded seven Buddhistic Theosophical branch Societies, and one — the Lanka Theosophical Society, at Colombo — especially for the study of the Occult Sciences. In this short period of time we initiated more new members than in all our eighteen months in India. The Theosophical Society is now better situated than any other body in the whole world to secure a thorough exposition of the resources of Pali literature, and the preliminary steps towards that end have already been taken. At one stride our Society has, through the affectionate zeal of the Buddhist priests and laymen, been pushed to the very front of the movement for Sinhalese regeneration and religious reform. We have taken no sides in sectarian matters, arrogated no authority, made no rash promises, asked no privileges except that of assisting the Buddhists themselves in the grand work that is contemplated. Without seeming invidious we cannot here single out individuals to thank for kindnesses. To one and all, personally and on the spot, we did this. But there are certain priests whose names will ever be held in grateful recollection in this Society, since to them is mainly due the magnificent fruits that crown our mission. These are the Revs. Hikkaduwe Sumangala, Mohottiwatte Gunannande, Potuwila Indrajotti, Bulatgama D. Sumanatissa, and Piyaratana Tissa. Others were equally willing to help but prevented by one cause or another from doing a great deal. Just before leaving the Island, Colonel Olcott called, at Galle, a convention of priests and submitted a plan for the organization of a permanent Ecclesiastical Council which was unanimously adopted, and that body will soon convene and distribute the work of translating such of the most valuable portions of Buddha's own teachings as have not hitherto been accessible to European scholars. On the following day there was a general meeting of the Presidents of the seven Buddhistic branch Societies to receive instructions as to the work that will be expected of them.
With the fatuity that always possesses them, the Christian missionaries and their party elected to attack our Delegation with bitter and unscrupulous hostility. Not content to "leave well alone," and permit two millions of loyal British Buddhist subjects to enjoy without molestation the religious privileges to which they are entitled under the Constitution, these idiots rushed at them and their friends, the Theosophists, with mad fury. Calumnies and lies of all sorts were circulated; and every means, except that of manly public discussion, was adopted to terrorize the mild Sinhalese. They failed, of course, for if the Natives had been ever so ready to be cowed — which they were not — the Delegates of our Society were made of different stuff and returned blow for blow. At Panadure (incorrectly written Pantura) they plucked up courage enough to challenge Colonel Olcott to publicly debate the divine origin of Christianity, but suffered such an ignominious defeat, as the best authorities say, they had never met with before. Their champion on that occasion was made so ridiculous that he was followed to the railway station by a hooting and jeering crowd, in which were many Christians, it is said. Among the stupid falsehoods set afloat by our enemies, was one that the Right Honorable Lord Lindsay, M.P., F.R.S., one of the Councillors of the Theosophical Society, had repudiated his connection with us; the fact being that that eminent savant and nobleman, in a letter of May 20, accepts the position in question with "cordial thanks" for what he kindly designates as the honour done him. The Christian party were fairly and publicly warned at Kandy to leave us alone and mind their own business or they would rue the day. They would not listen to reason, and consequently will lose more ground among the Sinhalese within the next two years than they have gained during the past two centuries. Truly they verify the ancient proverb 'Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.'
The following is a list of the branches in Ceylon of the Theosophical Society, with their respective officers: —
THE KANDY THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
[Established at Kandy on the 13th of June, 1880.]
President: Mr. T. B. Pannabokke.
Vice-President: Mr. Don Abraham Wimalasurya Abayaratna, Mohundrum.
Secretary: Mr. John Henry Abeyesekere.
Treasurer: Mr. James Alexander Sriwardhana.
Mr. K. Solomon Perera.
George Frederick Weerasekara.
Arnold B. Silva.
Don Carolis de Silva Wikramatilaka Sriwardhana.
Don Lawrence de Silva Sunderappoohami.
THE COLOMBO THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
[Established at Colombo on the 8th of June, 1880.]
President: Mr. Andrew Perera.
Vice-Presidents: Mr. Simon Silva. Mr. Sena Dirage Tipanis Perera.
Secretary: Mr. John James Thiedeman.
Treasurer: Mr. Simon Perera Dharmma Goonewardhana.
Pandit: Mr. Don Andris de Silva Batuwantudawe.
Mr. C. Mathew.
John Robert de Silva.
H. Amaris Fernando.
Charles Stephen Pereira.
William de Abrew.
THE PANADURE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
[Established at Panadure on the 20th of June, 1880.]
Mr. F. Charles Jayatilaka Karunaratne, Mudeliar.
Mr. Don Abraham Leonardos Abeyesekere, Mr. Romanis Peiris, Mudeliar,.
Treasurer: Mr. Theodore Fernando Vanigasekere Goonewardhana, Mudeliar.
Secretary: Mr. Muttutantrige John Jacob Cooray
Assisstant Secretary: Mr. Solomon de Fonseka.
Mr. Nicolas Perera Abaya Karunnaratna Disa Nayaka.
Don Jaronis Goonetileke Rajakarunaratne.
Don Frederick Goonetileke Mahatmya.
Mahamarakkalage Samuel Perera.
Cornelius Perera Warna Kula Jayasurya Karunaratne Appoohami.
Don Brampy Karunaratne.
THE BENTOTA THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
[Established at Bentota on the 23rd of June, 1880.]
President: Mr. Don Andrew de Sillva Tillekeratne.
Vice-President: Mr. Thomas de Alwis Goonetileke.
Mr. Don James Peter de Silva.
Temporary Secretary: Mr. Sadris de Silva Wijewardhana.
THE WELITERA THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
[Established at Welitera on the 10th of July, 1880.]
Mr. Baltasar Mendis Weerasinghe, Interpreter Mudeliar.
Mr. Don Ovinis Goonesekere.
Mr. Kalumin Samuel de Silva.
Temporary Secretary: Mr. Sadris de Silva Wijewardhana.
THE GALLE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
[Established at Galle on the 25th of May, 1880.]
President: Mr. G. C. A. Jayasekere.
Mr. Simon Perera Abeywardene, Mr. Jacob Dias Abeygoonewardene.
Pandit: Mr. Frederick Dias.
Treasurer: Mr. S. P. D. B. D'Silva.
Secretary: Mr. P. C. Wijeratne.
Assistant Secretary: Mr. Charles Garusinghe.
Mr. Henry Perera Abeywardene.
Geo. B. D'Alwis.
Don Dines Subesinghe.
Paul Edward de Silva Ponnamperuma Appoohami.
Samuel Sudriekoo Jayawikrama.
THE MATARA THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
[Established at Mitara, on the 28th of June, 188O.]
President: Mr. David Andris Jayasurya.
Mr. Don Andris de Silva Gooneratne, Mr. Carolis Jayawere Mahawidane.
Secretary and Treasurer: Mr. Darley Gooneratne.
Mr. Don Louis Ramawikrama Jayawardhana, Widane
Don Bastian Jayasurya.
Theodoris Wikramatunga, Arachi.
Ratnawere Patabendige Don Christian.
Don Bastian de Silva Samarasinghe.
THE LANKA THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
[Established at Colombo on the 17th of June, 1880, for the study of
the Occult Sciences.]
President: Mr. Edward F. Perera.
Vice-President: Mr. John Pereira.
Secretary and Treasurer: Mr. R. H. Leembrugges.
[A lecture delivered at Colombo, Ceylon, on the 15th of June, 1880.]
By Colonel Henry S. Olcott.
President of the Theosophical Society.
In the tenth chapter of his famous work, entitled An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume attempts to define the limits of philosophical enquiry. So pleased was the author with his work that he has placed it on record that with the "wise and learned" — a most necessary separation, since a man may be wise without being at all learned, while modern science has introduced to us many of her most famous men who, though bursting like Jack Bunsby with learning, were far, very far from wise — his (Hume's) postulate must be "an ever-lasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusions." For many years this oracular utterance was unquestioned, and Hume's apophathegm was laid like a chloroformed handkerchief, over the mouth of every man who attempted to discuss the phenomena of the invisible world. But a brave Englishman and man of science — who we are proud to say accepted the diploma of our Theosophical Society — to-wit, Alfred Russell Wallace, F.R.S., has of late called Hume's infallibility in question. He finds two grave defects in his proposition that "a miracle is a visitation of the laws of Nature;" since it assumes, firstly, that we know all the laws of nature; and secondly, that an unusual phenomenon is a miracle. Speaking deferentially, is it not after all a piece of preposterous egotism for any living man to say what is, or rather what is not, a law of Nature? I have enjoyed the acquaintance of scientists who could actually repeat the names of the several parts of a bed bug and even of a flea. Upon this rare accomplishment they plumed themselves not a little, and took on the airs of a man of science. I have talked with them about the laws of Nature and found that they thought they knew enough of them to dogmatize to me about the Knowable and the Unknowable. I know doctors of medicine, even professors, who were read up in physiology and able to dose their patients without exceeding the conventional average of casualties good-naturedly allowed the profession They have dogmatized to me about science and the laws of Nature, although not one of them could tell me anything positive about the life of man, in either the states of ovum, embryo, infant, adult or corpse. The most candid medical authorities have always frankly confessed that the human being is a puzzle as yet unsolved and medicine "scientific guess-work." Has ever yet a surgeon, as he stood beside a subject on the dissecting table of the amphitheatre, dared tell his class that he knew what life is, or that his scalpel could cut away any integumental veil so as to lay bare the mystery? Did any modern botanist ever venture to explain what is that tremendous secret law which makes every seed produce the plant or tree of its own kind? Mr. Huxley and his fellow-biologists have shown us protoplasm — the gelatinous substance which forms the physical basis of life — and told us that it is substantially identical in composition in plant and animal. But they can go no farther than the microscope and spectroscope will carry them. Do you doubt me? Then hear the mortifying confession of Professor Huxley himself. "In perfect strictness," he says, "it is true that we know nothing about the composition of any body whatever, as it is!" And yet what scientist is there who has dogmatized more about the limitations of scientific enquiry? Do you think that, because the chemists can dissolve for you the human body into its elementary gases and ashes until what was once a tall man can be put into an empty cigar-box and a large bottle, they can help you any better to understand what that living man really was? Ask them; — I am willing to let the case rest upon their own unchallenged evidence.
Science? Pshaw! What is there worthy to wear that imperial name so long as its most noisy representatives cannot tell us the least part of the mystery of man or of the nature which environs him. Let science explain to us how the littlest blade of grass grows, or bridge over the "abyss" which Father Felix, the great French Catholic orator tauntingly told the Academy, existed for it in a grain of sand, and then dogmatize as much as it likes about the laws of Nature! In common with all heretics I hate this presumptuous pretence; and as one who, having studied psychology for nearly thirty years, has some right to be heard, I protest against, and utterly repudiate, the least claim of our modern science to know all the laws of Nature, and to say what is or what is not possible. As for the opinions of non-scientific critics, who never informed themselves practically about even one law of Nature, they are not worth even listening to. And yet what a clamour they make, to be sure; how the public ear has been assailed by the din of ignorant and conceited criticasters. It is like being among a crowd of stock brokers on the exchange. Every one of the authorities is dogmatizing in his most vociferous and impressive manner. One would think to read and hear what all these priests, editors, authors, deacons, elders, civil and military servants, lawyers, merchants, vestrymen and old women, and their followers, admirers and echoing toadies have to say — that the laws of Nature were as familiar to them as their alphabets, and that every one carried in his pocket the combination key to the Chubb lock of the Universe: If these people only realized how foolish, they really are in rushing in
". . . . . where Angels fear to tread,"
— they might somewhat abate their pretences. And if common-sense were as plentiful as conceit, a lecture upon the Occult Sciences would be listened to with a more humble spirit than, I am afraid, can be counted upon in our days.
I have tried by simply calling your attention to the confessed ignorance of our modern scientists of the nature of life, to show you that in fact all visible phenomena are occult, or hidden from the average inquirer. The term occult has been given to the sciences relating to the mystical side of nature — the department of Force or Spirit. Open any book on science or listen to any lecture or address by a modern authority, and you will see that modern science limits its enquiry to the visible material or physical universe. The combinations and correlations of matter under the impulse of hidden forces, are what it studies. To facilitate this line of enquiry, mechanical ingenuity has lent the most marvellous assistance. The microscope has now been perfected so as to reveal the tiniest objects in the tiny world of a drop of dew; the telescope brings into its field and focus littering constellations that — as Tom Moore poetically says —
". . . . . . stand
Like winking sentinels upon the void
Beyond which Chaos dwells;"
the chemist's balances will weigh matter to the ten-thousandth part of a grain; by the spectroscope the composition of all things on earth and suns and stars is claimed to be demonstrable in the lines they make across the spectrum; substances hitherto supposed to be elements are now proved to be compounds and what we have imagined compounds, are found to be elements. Inch by inch, step by step, Physical Science has marched from its old prison in the dungeon of the Church towards its desired goal — the verge of physical nature. It would not be too much to admit that the verge has been almost reached, but that Edison's recent discoveries of the telephone, the phonograph and the electric light, and Crookes's of the existence and properties of Radiant Matter, seem to have pushed farther away the chasm that separates the confessedly Knowable from the fancied Unknowable. The recent advances of physical science tend to mitigate somewhat the pride of our scientists. It is as though the whole domains previously undreamt of were suddenly exposed to view as each new eminence of knowledge is gained; just as the traveller sees long reaches of country to be traversed upon climbing to the crest of the mountain that had been shutting him in within a narrow horizon. The fact is that, whether regarded from her physical or dynamical side, Nature is a book with an endless variety of subjects to be studied and mysteries to be unravelled. And as regards Science, there is a thousand times more that is Occult than familiar and easy to understand.
The realization of this fact, both as the result of personal enquiry and of conversation with the learned, was one chief cause of the organization of the Theosophical Society.
Now, it must be agreed that, while the first necessity for the candid student is to discover the depth and immensity of his own ignorance, the next is to find out where and how that ignorance may be dispelled. We must first fit ourselves to become pupils and then look about for a teacher. Where, in what part of the world, can there be found men capable of teaching us a part of the mystery that is hidden behind the mask of the world of matter? Who holds the secret of Life? Who knows what Force is, and what causes it to bring around its countless, eternal correlations with the molecules of matter? What adept can unriddle for us the problem how worlds are built and why? Can any one tell us whence man came, whither he goes, what he is? What is the secret of birth, of sleep, of thought, of memory, of death? What is that Eternal, Self-Existent Principle, that by common consent is believed to be the source of everything visible and invisible, and with which man claims kinship? We, little modern people, have been going about in search after this teacher, with our toy lanterns in our hands as though it were night instead of bright day. The light of truth shines all the while, but we, being blind, cannot see it. Does a new authority proclaim himself, we run from all sides, but only see a common man with bandaged eyes, holding a pretty banner and blowing his own trumpet. "Come," he cries, "come, good people, and listen to one who knows the laws of Nature. Follow my lead, join my school, enter my church, buy my nostrum and you will be wise in this world, and happy hereafter!" How many of these pretenders there have been; how they have imposed for a while upon the world; what meannesses and cruelties their devotees have done in their behalf; and how their shams and humbugs have ultimately been exposed, the pages of history show. There is but one truth, and that is to be sought for in the mystical world of man's interior nature; theosophically, and by the help of the "Occult Sciences."
If history has preserved for us the record of multitudenous failures of materialists to read the secret laws of Nature, it has also kept for our instruction the stories of many successes gained by Theosophists in this direction. There is no impenetrable mystery in Nature to the student who knows how to interrogate her. If physical facts can be observed by the eye of the body, so can spiritual laws be discovered by that interior perception of ours which we call the eye of the spirit. This perceptive power inheres in the nature of man; it is his godlike quality which makes him superior to brutes. What we call seers and prophets, and the Buddhists know as rahats and Aryans as true sannyasis, are only men who have emancipated their interior selves from physical bondage by meditation in secluded spots where the foulness of average humanity could not taint them, and where they were nearest to the threshold of Nature's temple; and by the gradual and persistent conquest of brutal desire after desire, taste after taste, weakness after weakness, sense after sense, they have moved forward to the ultimate victory of spirit. Jesus is said to have gone thus apart to be tempted; so did Mahomet who spent one day in every month alone in a mountain cave; so did Zoroaster, who emerged from the seclusion of his mountain retreat only at the age of 40; so did Buddha, whose knowledge of the cause of pain and discovery of the path to Nirvana, was obtained by solitary self-struggles in desert places. Turn over the leaves of the book of records and you will find that every man, who really did penetrate the mysteries of life and death, got the truth in solitude and in a mighty travail of body and spirit. These were all Theosophists — that is, original searchers after spiritual knowledge. What they did, what they achieved, any other man of equal qualities may attain to. And this is the lesson taught by the Theosophical Society. As they spurned churches, revelations and leaders, and wrested the secrets from the bosom of Nature, so do we. Buddha said that we should believe nothing upon authority, not even his own, but believe because our reason told us the assertion was true. He began by striding over even the sacred Vedas because they were used to prevent original theosophical research; castes he brushed aside as selfish monopolies. His desire was to fling wide open every door to the sanctuary of Truth. We organized our Society — as the very first section of our original bye-laws expresses it —"for the discovery of all the laws of Nature, and the dissemination of knowledge of the same." The known laws of Nature why should we busy ourselves with? The unknown, or occult ones, were to be our special province of research. No one in America, none in Europe, now living, could help us, except in special branches, such as Magnetism, Crystal reading, Psychometry, and those most striking phenomena of so-called mediumship, grouped together under the generic name of modern spiritualism. Though the Vedas, the Purans, the Zend Avesta, the Koran, and the Bible teemed with allusions to the sayings and doings of wonder-working theosophists, we were told by every one that the power had long since died out, and the adepts vanished from the sight of men. Did we mention the name Occult Science, the modern biologist curled his lip in fine scorn, and the lay fool gave way to senseless witticisms.
It was a discouraging prospect, no doubt; but in this, as in every other instance, the difficulties were more imaginary than real. We had a clue given us to the right road by one who had spent along lifetime in travel, who had found the science to be still extant, with its proficients and masters still practising it as in ancient days. The tidings were most encouraging, as are those of help and succour to a party of castaways on an unfriendly shore. We learned to recognize the supreme value of the discoveries of Paracelsus, of Mesmer and of Von Reichenbach, as the stepping stones to the higher branches of Occultism. We turned again to study them, and, the more we studied, the clearer insight did we get into the meaning of Asiatic myth and fable, and the real object and methods of the ascetic theosophists of all ages. The words 'body,' 'soul,' 'spirit,' Moksha and Nirvana, acquired each a definite and comprehensible meaning. We could understand what the Yogi wished to express by his uniting himself with Brahma, and becoming Brahma; why the biographer of Jesus made him say 'I and the Father are one'; how Sankaracharya and others could display such phenomenal learning without having studied it in books; whence Zartushr acquired his profound spiritual illumination; and how the Lord Sakya Muni, though but a man "born in the purple," might nevertheless become All-Wise and All-Powerful. Would my hearer learn this secret? Let him study Mesmerism and master its methods until he can plunge his subject into so deep a sleep that the body is made to seem dead, and the freed soul can be sent, wheresoever he wills, about the Earth or among the stars. Then he will see the separate reality of the body and its dweller. Or, let him read Professor Denton's "Soul of Things," and test the boundless resources of Psychometry; a strange yet simple science which enables us to trace back through the ages the history of any substance held in the sensitive psychometer's hand. Thus a fragment of stone from Cicero's house, or the Egyptian pyramids; or a bit of cloth from a mummy's shroud; or a faded parchment or letter or painting; or some garment or other article worn by a historic personage; or a fragment of an aerolite — give to the psychometer impressions, sometimes amounting to visions surpassingly vivid, of the building, monument, mummy, writer or painter, or the long-dead personage, or the meteoric orbit from which the last-named object fell. This splendid science, for whose discovery in the year 1840, the world is indebted to Professor Joseph R. Buchanan, now a Fellow of our Society, has but just begun to show its capabilities. But already it has shown us that in the Akasa, or Ether of science, are preserved the records of every human experience, deed and word. No matter how long forgotten and gone by, they are still a record, and, according to Buchanan's estimate, about four out of every ten persons have in greater or less degree the psychometrical power which can read those imperishable pages of the Book of Life. Taken by itself either Mesmerism or Psychometry or Baron Reichenbach's theory of Odyle, or Odic Force, is sufficiently wonderful. In Mesmerism a sensitive subject is put by magnetism into the magnetic sleep, during which his or her body is insensible to pain, noises or any other disturbing influences. The Psychometer, on the contrary, does not sleep, but only sits or lies passively, holds the letter, fragment of stone or other object, in the hand or against the centre of the forehead, and without .knowing at all what it is or whence it came, describes what he or she feels or sees. Of the two methods of looking into the invisible world, Psychometry is preferable, for it is not attended with the risks of the magnetic slumber, arising from inexperience in the operator, or low physical vitality in the somnambule. Baron Dupotet, M. Cahagnet, Professor William Gregory, and other authorities tell us of instances of this latter sort in which the sleeper was with difficulty brought back to earthly consciousness, so transcendently beautiful were the scenes that broke upon their spiritual vision. Reichenbach's discovery — the result of several years' experimental research with the most expensive apparatus and a great variety of subjects, by one of the most eminent chemists and physicists of modern times — was this. A hitherto unsuspected force exists in Nature, having like electricity and magnetism, its positive and negative poles. It pervades everything in the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms. Our Earth is charged with it, it is in the stars, and there is a close interchange of polar influences between us and all the heavenly bodies. Here I hold in my hand a specimen of quartz crystal, sent me from. the Gastein. Mountains in Europe by the Baroness Von Vay. Before Reichenbach's discovery of the Odic Force — as he calls it — this would have had no special interest to the geologists, beyond its being a curious example of imperfect crystalization. But now it has a definite value beyond this. If I pass the apex, or positive pole, over the wrist and palm of a sensitive person — thus, he will feel a sensation of warmth, or cold, or the blowing of a thin, very thin pencil of air over the skin. Some feel one thing,. some another, according to the Odic condition. of their own bodies. Speaking of this latter phenomenon, viz., that the Odic polarity of our bodies s peculiar to ourselves, different from the bodies of each other, different in the right and left sides, and different at night and morning in the same body, let me ask you whether a phenomenon long noticed, supposed by the, ignorant to be Miraculous, and yet constantly denied by those who never saw it, may not be classed as a purely Odic one. I refer to the levitation of ascetics and saints, or the rising into air of their bodies at moments when they were deeply entranced. Baron Reichenbach found that the Odic sensibility of his best patients greatly changed in health and disease. Professor Perty, of Geneva, and Dr. Justinus Korner tells us that bodies of certain hysterical patients rose into the air without visible cause, and floated as light as a feather. During the Salem-Witchcraft-horrors one of the subjects, Margaret Rule, was similarly levitated. William Crookes's recently published a list of no less than forty Catholic ecstatics whose levitation is regarded as proof of their peculiar sanctity. Now I myself, in common with many other modern observers of psychological phenomena, have seen a person, in the full enjoyment of consciousness, raised into the air by a mere exercise of the will. This person was an Asiatic by birth and had studied the occult sciences in Asia, and explains the .remarkable phenomenon as a simple example of change of corporeal polarity. You all know the electrical law that oppositely electrified bodies attract and similarly electrified ones repel each other. We say that we stand upon the earth because of the force of gravitation, without stopping to think how much of the explanation is a mere patter of words conveying no accurate idea to the mind. Suppose we say that we cling to the earth's surface, because the polarity of our body is opposed to the polarity of the spot of earth upon which we stand. That would be scientifically correct. But how, if our polarity is reversed, whether by disease, or the mesmeric passes of a powerful magnetiser, or the constant effort of a trained self-will. To classify: — suppose that we were either a hysteric patient, an ecstatic, a somnambule, or an adept in Asiatic Occult Science. In either case it the polarity of the body should be changed to its opposite polarity, and so our electrical, magnetic or odic state be made identical with that of the ground beneath us, the long-known electropolaric law would assert itself and our body would rise into the air. It would float as long as these mutual polaric differences continued, and rise to a height exactly proportionate to their intensity. So much of light is let into the old domain of Church "miracles" by Mesmerisin and the Od discovery.
But our mountain crystal has another and far more striking peculiarity than mere odic polarity. It is nothing apparently but a poor lamp of glass, and yet in its heart can be seen strange mysteries. There are doubtless a score of persons in this great audience, who, if they would sit in an easy posture and a quiet place, and gaze into my crystal for a few minutes, would see and describe to me pictures of people, scenes and places in different countries as well as their own beautiful Ceylon. I gave the crystal into the hand of a lady, who is a natural clairvoyant, just after I had received it from Hungary. "I see," she said, "a large, handsome room in what appears to be a castle. Through an open window can be seen a park with smooth-broad walks, trimmed lawns, and trees. A noble-looking lady stands at a marble-topped table doing up something into a parcel. A servant man in rich livery stands as though waiting for his mistress's orders. It is this crystal that she is doing up, and she puts it into a brown box, something like a small musical box." The clairvoyant knew nothing about the crystal, but she had given an accurate description of the sender, of her residence, and of the box in which the crystal came to me. How? Can any of the self-conceited little people, who say smart little nothings about the absurdity of the Occult Sciences, answer?
Reichenbach's careful investigations prove that minerals have each their own peculiar odic polarity, and this lets us into an understanding of much that the Asiatic people have said about the magical properties of gems. You have all heard of the regard in which the sapphire has ever been held for its supposed magical property to assist somnambulic vision. "The sapphire," according to a Buddhist writer, "will open barred doors and dwellings (for the spirit of man); it produces a desire for prayer, and brings with it more peace than any other gem; but he, who would wear it, must lead a pure and holy life."
Now a series of investigations by Amoretti into the electrical polarity of precious stones (which we find reported in Kieser's Archia, Vol. IV., p. 62) resulted in proving that the diamond, the garnet, the amethyst, are -E., while the sapphire is +E. Orpheus tells how by means of a load-stone a whole audience may be affected. Pythagoras, whose knowledge was derived from India, pays a particular attention to the colour and nature of precious stones; and Apollonius of Tyana, one of the purest and grandest men who ever lived, accurately taught his disciples the various occult properties of gems.
Thus does scientific inquiry, agreeing with the researches of the greatest philosophers, the experiences of religious ecstatics, continually — though, as a rule, unintentionally — give us a solid basis for studying Occultism. The more of physical phenomena we observe and classify, the more helped is the student of occult sciences and of the ancient Asiatic sciences, philosophies and religions. The fact is, we, modern Europeans, have been so blinded by the fumes of our own conceit that we have not been able to look beyond our noses. We have been boasting of our glorious enlightenment, our scientific discoveries, our civilization, and our superiority to everybody with a dark skin, and to every nation, east of the Volga and the Red Sea or south of the Mediterranean, until we have come almost to believe that the world was built for the Anglo-Saxon race, and the stars to make our bit of sky pretty. We have even manufactured a religion to suit ourselves out of Asiatic materials, and think it better than any religion that was ever heard of before. It is time that this childish vanity were done away with. It is time that we should try to discover the sources of modern ideas; and compare what, we think, we know of the laws of Nature with what the Asiatic people really did know, thousands of years before Europe was inhabited by our barbarian ancestors, or a European foot was set upon the American continent. The crucibles of science are heated red-hot and we are melting in them everything out of which we think we can get a fact. Suppose that, for a change, we approach the Eastern people in a less presumptuous spirit, and honestly confessing that we know nothing at all of the beginning or end of Natural Law, ask them to help us to find out what their forefathers knew? This has been the policy of the Theosophical Society, and it has yielded valuable results already. Depend upon it, ladies and gentlemen, there are still "wise men in the East," and the Occult Sciences are better worth studying than has hitherto been popularly supposed. (The lecture was loudly applauded and, at the close, a vote of thanks was, upon the motion of Mr. James, Science Master in the Colombo College, adopted.)
EAST INDIAN MATERIA MEDICA.
Group III. General alteratives and insensible blood depurants.
Plants, classed in this group, act through the blood, remove visceral congestions, relieve cerebral hyperaemia and also internal or visceral inflammations. They thereby improve the general nutritive processes and prevent the formation of fat.
Group IV. Nervines or nerve-tonics and lithontriptics ().
These are said to influence the nervous system and some of them relieve dysuria or difficulty in passing urine. They were believed to dissolve urinary calculi also.
Group V. General alternatives like those contained in Group III.
Vegetables of this group act as stimulants of the general circulation and thereby relieve congestions. They remove the tendency of the tissues to form fat, and as most of them contain an astringent principle, they relieve fluxes from mucous tissues, especially those of the intestines. They exert also the remote action of influencing the cutaneous circulation.
Group VI. True or primary astringents. ().
Remedies, derived from this group of vegetables, repress phlegm actively, acting as immediate astringents. They also relieve congestions, and. act as detergents of ulcers and suppurating surfaces. They prove also alexepharmic, acting as antidotes to morbid poisons, counteracting the debilitating effects of effete fluids and products. They were also supposed to purify and augment the seminal secretion in the male, and alter the uterine and vaginal secretion.
Group VII. A further group of general alteratives and blood depurants. They act like those of Group No. III., but chiefly and notably as detergents, and skin alternatives, relieving congestions, acting as antizootics and relieving skin diseases and eruptions.
Drugs of this group act as cordials and appetisers, and have the remote action of relieving congestions, coughs and difficulty of breathing. They also act as detergents and as vermifuges or insecticides, preventing the formation of helminthoids, or internal parasites (they may, therefore. be termed antizootics and antizymotics.)
IT IS THE MAN WHO DETERMINES THE DIGNITY OF THE OCCUPATION, not the occupation which measures the dignity of the man.
THE ZOROASTRIAN RELIGION AS REPRESENTED BY MARTIN HAUG, PH. D.
Briefed by a Parsi Theosophist.
The religious writings of the Parsees are known by the name of Zend Avesta. They should more properly be designated Avesta-o-Zend. Avesta means the text, and Zend means the commentary. When in the course of ages, the original text or Avesta became unintelligible, owing to the language in which it was written ceasing to be the vernacular of the people, commentaries were written to explain it. And, similarly, when the language of the commentaries also ceased to be the vernacular, further Zend or the commentary of the first Zend was written. And now the words Avesta and Zend, which meant the text and the commentary, are appropriated as the names of the languages in which the text and the first commentary were written. The language of the later commentary is known under the name of the Pehlvi langage. Avesta-o-Zend, therefore, means the writings in the Avesta and Zend languages. The religious writings, as they originally existed in the combined Avesta and Zend languages were very voluminous.
"Plini reports on the authority of Hermippos, the Greek philosopher, that Zoroaster composed two millions of verses; and an Arabic historian, Abu Jaffer Attavari, assures us that Zoroaster's writings comprised twelve thousand cow skins, i. e., parchments."
These writings consisted of twenty-one parts or Nosks. The names and the contents of these Nosks as translated by Dr. Haug are given below: —
Names and contents of the twenty-one Nosks.
1. Setudtar or Setud Yashts (Zend ctuiti — praise, worship) comprised thirty-three chapters, containing the praise and worship of Yazatos or angels.
2. Setudgar, twenty-two chapters, containing prayers and instructions to men about good actions, chiefly those called jadnugoi, i. e., to induce another to assist a fellowman.
3. Vahista Manthra, twenty-two chapters, treating of abstinence, piety, religion, qualities of Zoroaster, &c.
4. Bagha, twenty-one chapters, containing an explanation of the religious duties, the orders and commandments of God, and obedience of men, how to guard against hell and reach heaven.
5. Damdat, thirty-two chapters, containing the knowledge of this and that world, the future life, qualities of their inhabitants, the revelations of God, concerning heaven, earth, water, trees, fire, men and beasts; the resurrection of the dead and the passing of the chinvat (the way to heaven.)
6. Nadar, thirty-five chapters, containing astronomy, geography, astrology, translated into Arabic, under the name Yuntal and known to the Persians by the name of Fawamazjam.
7. Pajam, twenty-two chapters, treating of what food allowed or prohibited, of the reward to be obtained in the other world for keeping six Gahambars and the Farardagan.
8. Ratushtai, fifty chapters, (at the time of Alexander the Great, only thirteen were extant) treating of the different ratus or heads in the creation, such as kings, high priests, ministers, and giving statements as to what species are Ahuramazd's and what Ahriman's; there was besides a geographical section in it.
9. Barish, 60 chapters, (thirteen of which were only extant at the time of Alexander the Great) containing the code of laws for kings, governors, &c., workmanship of various kinds, the sin of lying.
10. Kashsrov, sixty chapters, (at Alexander's time fifteen only were extant) treating of metaphysics, natural philosophy, divinity, &c.
11. Vistasp Nosk, sixty chapters (at Alexander's time only ten were extant) on the reign of Gustasp and his conversion to the religion and its propagation by him through the world.
12. Khasht, twenty-two chapters, divided into six parts; first, on the nature of the divine being, the Zoroastrian faith, the duties enjoined by it; secondly, on obedience due to the king; thirdly, on the reward for good actions in the other world, and how to be saved from hell; fourthly, on the structure of the world, agriculture, botany, &c.; fifthly, on the four classes of which a nation consists, viz., rulers, warriors, agriculturists, traders and workmen; (the contents of the sixth division are left out.)
13. Sfend, sixty chapters, on the miracles of Zoroaster and Gahambars, &c.
14. Jirasht, twenty-two chapters, on the human life, from the birth and its end up to the day of resurrection, on the causes of man's birth, why some are born in wealth, others in poverty.
15. Baghan Yesht, seventeen chapters, containing the praise of high angels like men.
16. Nayarum, fifty-four chapters, code of law, stating what is allowed and what prohibited.
17. Asparum, sixty-four chapters on mediciue, astronomy, midwifery, &c.
18. Dvasrujad, sixty-five chapters, on the marriages between the nearest relatives (called khvetukdah), zoology, and treatment of animals.
19. Askarum, fifty-two chapters, treating of the civil and criminal law; of the boundaries of the country, of the resurrection.
20. Vendidad, twenty-two chapters, on the removal of uncleanliness of every description from which great defects arise in the world.
21. Hadukht, thirty chapters, on the creation, its wonders, structure, &c.
All the Nosks are not at present in the possession of the Parsees. Most, or rather the largest portion of these writings has been destroyed, and it is the belief of the Zoroastrians that they were destroyed by Alexander at the time of his invasion and conquest of Persia. This opinion is confirmed by the accounts given by classical writers. "We find," says Dr. Haug, "from Diodorus and Curtius that Alexander really did burn the citadel at Persepolis, in a drunken frolic, at the instigation of the Athenian courtesan Thais, and in revenge for the destruction of Greek temples by Xerxes." With the destruction of the palace must have been destroyed the sacred books kept in the Royal archives. During the 550 years of Macedonian and Parthian supremacy which followed Alexander's conquest, it is said that Zoroastrianism had fallen into neglect, and as a natural consequence much of the Zoroastrian literature was lost during this period. Whatever may have been the cause, this is the fact that, at the Sassanian period when the revival of the Zoroastrian religion took place, the largest bulk of the sacred writings was gone and only a very small portion and that too, except the Venidad, in a fragmentary state, was left. These fragments, the learned men of the Sassanian period put together according to their understanding to make something like a consistent whole, and, to explain them, wrote commentaries in Pehlvi, which was the vernacular of the time. The portions, thus preserved and brought together and now extant with the Parsees, are Yasna (Izeshne), Visporatu (Visparad), Vendidad, Yashts, Hadosht, Vistasp Nosk, Afringan, Niayish, Gah, some miscellaneous fragments and the Sirozah (thirty days) or calendar.
The common opinion of the Zoroastrians ascribed all the above-named portions as well as the twenty-one Nosks in their entirety to the authorship of Zoroaster. Modern philology has, however, now established beyond doubt, by means of the difference in language, and, where the language is the same, by the difference in style, that these writings were the productions of different persons and brought into existence at different times.
Thus the language, in which the writings exist, has become the indicator of the periods of their composition and of their authorship. According to this test, the oldest of the writings now in existence are the five Gathas,* which were embodied in the "Yasna," and which with the exception of some few passages are ascribed to Zarathustra himself.
* The names of these Gathas are (1) Gatha Ahunavati, (2) Gatha Ustvati, (3) Gatha Spento-mainyush, (4) Gatha Vohu-Khshathrem, (5) Gatha Vahishoistis. Gatha means a song, a hymn.
Some portion of the remaining "Yasna" contains the prayers very well-known to Zoroastrians, viz., "Yatha-Ahu-verio," "Ashem-Vohu," and "Yangeh-Hatam." These small prayers are declared to have been even older than the Gathas themselves.
After the Gathas, the next in the order of antiquity are the following pieces, viz., "Vendidad," "Yasna," (excepting the Gathas and three older prayers,) more particularly called "Izeshne," "Hadokht," "Visparad," "Yashts," "Afringan," "Nyaish," "Gah," "Siroza;" other fragments follow, which are collected together under the name of "Khordeh Avesta," and are meant to be recited in daily prayer. These are composed by selecting and putting together, as seemed best to the Dastoors (or high priests) of the Sassamian period, passages from the writings preserved to them. In all the writings, whether Avesta or Zend, the religion taught by Zoroaster, is called, at all the various places, by the name of the "Mazdiasni" religion, and the professors of it, are called the "Mazdiasnians," from "Mazda," the most wise, and "Yasna," to worship.
Mr. K. R. Kama, who is the best authority on this subject in India, shows in his "Life of Zarathustra," — a work very valuable for its great learning, research and scope — that several times, previous to the advent of Zarathustra, there was preached the religion of one true God, against the prevalent irreligion and polytheism; and the movement at each time is mentioned in the Avesta, under the name of "Mazdiasni religion." Thus the Mazdiasni religion, i. e., the religion of the one true God — Mazda, the most wise — was in existence among the Persians, even before Zarathustra; and he appeared in the character of a reviver or reformer. His teachings, as distinguished from those which preceded him and which he adopted, are known by the name of Mazdiasni Zarathusti religion. In one prayer where the true believer confesses his faith, he says "Jasa me avanghe Mazda, Mazdiasno ahme, Mazdiasno Zarathustris," meaning "Help me, O Mazda, I am a Mazdiasnian, a Mazdiasnian through Zoroaster."
Thus, the name Mazdiasni borne by the religion taught by Zarathustra, as well as by the movements which preceded him, indicates that all these teachings were monotheistic, or the religion thus preached at different times, and consummated by Zarathustra, was monotheism.
We thus arrive at the question whether, as the name implies, the religion is really monotheism or dualism, or a worship in which monotheism, dualism and the worship of angels, the sun, moon and stars, fire and water, &c., are confusedly intermingled.
Dr. Haug says — "That Zarathustra's theology was mainly based on monotheism, one may easily ascertain from. the Gathas, chiefly from the second. Zarathustra Spitama's* conception of Ahurmazd as Supreme Being is perfectly identical with the notion of Elohim (God) or Jehovah, which we find in the Books of the Old Testament. Ahurmazd is called by him, the creator of earthly and spiritual life, the lord of the whole universe at whose hands are all the creatures. He is the light and the source of light, he is the wisdom and intellect, &c., &c."
* Spitama, means the family of Spitama. It is the opinion of some that Zarathustra was the common name applied to high priests, and that, therefore, Zarathustra, who first taught the religion which bears his name, is distinguished in several places in the Avesta, as Zarathustra Spitama, i. e., Zarathustra of the family of Spitama.
Let us see what a direct examination of the Gathas themselves tells us. Of all the sacred writings, the Gathas being the portions ascribed to Zarathustra himself, information as to the basis and essence of the Zoroastrian faith ought to be sought in them. The other portions of the sacred writings came into existence some ages afterwards, and if there is any difference between them and what is taught in the Gathas the latter certainly are more to be relied upon as revealing the real nature of the faith which Zarathustra Spitama taught. The language of the Gathas is most difficult to understand. Unfortunately the great European scholars, notwithstanding all their labours, have not yet been able to give a translation which can be accepted as final and satisfactory. More or less successful efforts have been made to arrive at the true sense of the Gathas, and the translation of Dr. Haug, recommended by the high authority of his name, may be accepted as the best that is available at present. Every verse of the Gathas, as given in Dr. Haug's translation, bears unmistakeable evidence as to the teachings of Zarathustra being pre-eminently monotheistic. A few of these verses are given below.
1. I will now tell you, who are assembled here, the wise sayings of the most wise, the praises of the living God, and the songs of the good spirit, the sublime truth which I see arising out of these sacred flames.
2. You shall, therefore, hearken to the soul of nature, contemplate the beams of fire with a most pious mind! Every one, both men and women, ought to-day to choose his creed. Ye, offspring of renowned ancestors, awake to agree with us (i. e., to approve of my lore to be delivered to you at this moment).
9. Thus let us be such as help the life of the future. The wise living spirits are the greatest supporters of it. The prudent man wishes only to be there where wisdom is at home.
11. Therefore perform ye the commandments, which, pronounced by the wise (God) himself, have been given to mankind; for they are a nuisance and perdition to liars, but prosperity to the believer in the truth; they are the fountain of happiness.
18. When my eyes beheld Thee, the essence of the truth, the Creator of life, who manifests his life in his works, then I knew Thee to be the primeval spirit. Thou Wise, so high in the mind as to create the world, and the Father of the Good Mind.
33. 2. Who are opposed in their thoughts, words and actions, to the wicked, and think of the welfare of the creation, their efforts will be crowned with success through the mercy of Ahura Mazda.
34. 1. Immortality, truth, wealth, health, all these gifts to be granted in consequence of (pious) actions, words and worshipping to those men (who pray here),
are plentiful in thy possession, Ahura Mazda!
Blessed is he, blessed are all men, to whom the Living Wise God of His Own Command should grant those two everlasting powers (wholesomeness and immortality). For this very good, I beseech Thee, Ahura Mazda; mayest thou through thy angel of piety (Armaiti) give me happiness, the good, true things, and the possession of the good mind.
2. I believe Thee to be the Best Being of all, the Source of Light for the world. Everybody shall choose Thee (believe in Thee) as the Source of Light, Thee, Thee, Holiest Spirit, Mazda! Thou createst all good, true things by means of the power of Thy Good Mind at any time, and promisest us (who believe in Thee) a long life.
15. Thus I believed in Thee, Thou Holy One, Thou Living Wise. There he came to me with the good mind. May the greatest happiness brightly blaze out of these flames; may the number of the worshippers of the liar (bad spirit) diminish; may all those (that are present) address themselves to the Shoshiants.*
* Shoshiants is the name given to those, who advanced the Mazdiasni religion before Zarathustra, who also is called one of the Shoshiants. Dr. Haug translates this word as meaning "fire priest" from the root "such" to burn; accordiog to Mr. K. R. Kunaft, "Such" means "to give light," "to enlighten" and Shoshiants were those who enlightened the people in the true religion. That the latter is the right meaning is confirmed by the word "Shoshians" which is the name given to those, whom according to tradition the Parsees expect in the future to revive the Mazdiasni religion. For persons with that mission "Shoshians" is an appropriate name when it means "those who enlighten," and not when it means fire-priests.
8. Him whom I desire to worship and celebrate with my hymns, I beheld just now with my eyes, him who knows the truth, him, the living wise as the source of
the good mind, the good action and the good word. So let us put down our gifts of praise in the dwelling-place of the heavenly singers.
1. To what country shall I go? Where shall I take my refuge? What country is sheltering the master (Zarathustra) and his companion? None of the servants pays reverence to me, not the wicked rulers of the country. How shall I worship Thee further, Ahura Mazda?
2. I know that I am helpless, look at me, being amongst few men, for I have few men (I have lost my followers or they have left me); I implore Thee weeping, Thou, Ahura Mazda, who grantest happiness as a friend gives a present to his friend. The good of the mind is thy possession, Thou True.
As regards the so-called dualism of the Zoroastrian doctrines, Dr. Haug writes as follows: — "The opinion, so generally entertained now, that Zarathustra was preaching Dualism, that is to say, the supposition of two original independent spirits, a good and a bad one, utterly distinct from each other, and one counteracting the creation of the other, is owing to a confusion of his philosophy with his theology. Having arrived at the grand idea of the unity and the indivisibility of the Supreme Being, he undertook to solve the great problem which has engaged the attention of so many wise men of antiquity and even of modern times, viz., how are the imperfections discoverable in the world, the various kinds of evils, wickedness and baseness, compatible with the goodness, holiness and justice of God. This great thinker, of so remote an antiquity, solved the difficult question, philosophically, by the supposition of two primeval causes which, though different, were united, and produced the world of the material things as well as that of the spirit; which doctrine may best be learnt from Yas. XXX.
"The one, who produced the reality (gaya ), is called Vohu-mano 'the good mind,' the other through whom the 'non-reality' (ajyaiti) originated, bears the name Ako-mano, 'the naught mind.' All good, true and perfect things which fall under the category of 'reality,' are the productions of the 'good mind,' while all that is bad and delusive belong to the sphere of 'non-reality' is traced to the 'naught mind.' They are the two moving causes in the Universe, united from beginning, and, therefore, called 'twins' (yema — Sans. Yaman). They are spread everywhere in Ahura Mazda as well as in men.
"These two primeval principles, if supposed to be united in Ahura Mazda himself, are not called Vohu-mano and Ako-mano, but Spento-mainyush, that is, white or holy spirit and Angro-mainyush, i. e., dark spirit. That Angro-mainyush is no separate being opposed to Ahura Mazda is unmistakeably to be gathered from Yas XIX, where Ahura Mazda is mentioning his two spirits who are inherent in his own nature, and are in other passages (Yas. 57) distinctly called the 'two creators' and 'the two masters' (payu). And, indeed, we never find 'Angro-mainyush' mentioned as a constant opponent to Ahura Mazda in the Gathas, as is the case in later writings. The evil, against which Ahura Mazda and all good men are fighting, is called drukhsh 'destruction' or 'lie,' which is nothing but a personification of the Devas. Tbe same expression for the 'evil' spread in the world, we find in the Persian cuneiform inscriptions, where, moreover, no opponent of Ahura Mazda, like Angro-mainyush, is ever mentioned. God (Ahura Mazda) in the rock records of King Darius, is only one, as Jehovah, in the old Testament, having no adversary whomsoever."
All these attempts at explanation show but more forcibly the difficulty of solving the question, what is Zoroastrianism? All the passages, in which Ahura Mazda, and the two spirits — "Vohu-mano," and "Ako-mano," or "Spento-mainyush" and "Angro-mainyush," — are spoken of, seem to be fraught with immense mystic meaning. Great learning and labour have been expended in deciphering these ancient writings, but the result of all this has been to show more and more clearly that there is something within and something beyond, which is not caught hold of. All, that has as yet been said or written on the subject, has not succeeded in uniting the separate parts into a consistent whole, and what is the essence of Zoroastrianism is yet an unsettled question. It is, indeed, sad if the means of solving this difficulty are lost to the world altogether, and equally sad if the solution is to be deferred long beyond our time.
"SPIRIT" PRANKS INTRA CAUCASUS.
"Verily . . . Truth is often stranger than fiction!"
Some three months ago, the Yankee-Irish editor of an unimportant, third-class Anglo-Indian paper, in a fit, apparently of delirium tremens, with abuse and low slander, called us a "Spiritualist." The epithet was thrown into our teeth under the evident impression that, in the eyes of the sceptical public, at least, it would overwhelm us. The mark was missed that time. If, to believe in the reality of numberless phenomena, produced for long years under our own eyes, in almost every country, and under the most satisfactory test conditions, precluding all possibility of trickery, constitutes one a "Spiritualist," then in company with a host of the most eminent men of learning, we plead guilty. But if, on the other hand, we take Webster's definition that a Spiritualist is "one who believes in direct intercourse with departed spirits, through the agency of persons called "mediums," then it was a stupid blunder that the editor committed. Whether rightly or wrongly, we do not attribute the phenomena, we believe in, to the agency of "spirits" that are the souls of the departed. This is not the occasion to expound our personal theory. For, to begin, there are but few Spiritualists who are unacquainted with it; and our present object being to draw the attention of every sensible person to just such phenomena as the orthodox Spiritualists attribute to spirits, it matters little to whatever cause we personally may attribute them. Earnest and indomitable searchers after truth, and wanting only the TRUTH, none of us Theosophists, claim infallibility or set ourselves to dogmatising. We are no sectarians, and most of us, if not all, are honestly open to conviction. Let any one prove to us an alleged fact to be really one, and we are willing to accept it as a dogma any day. Having said so much, we may add, with the permission of the person vouchsafing for the strange phenomena hereinafter described, that the writer is our own sister, Madame V. P. de Jelihofsky, of Tiflis (Russian Caucasus), one of the most truthful women we have ever known, and a great sceptic upon such matters for long years. But the weird experience being her own, and all the facts but one having happened under her very eyes, she did not hesitate to state them. She is a Spiritualist. Had they been stated to us by any other person, we would, to say the least, have accepted them with the greatest hesitancy, and ten to one would have "killed" the letter. As it is, we publish it in full. — ED.
Anxious to fulfil my promise, I devote this letter entirely to Spiritualism and its manifestations in our old city. As to explaining these phenomena, I must decline the task altogether.
Of facts there is such an abundance, that I am at a loss with which to begin. Hence, according to our Russian impolite custom, I will begin by speaking of myself. Table-turning flourishes among us, at present, in a most unaccountable way. Of late it has become more distinguished for the manifestations of its physical, brutal, rather than intellectual force. The answers given by the tables and their arguments are weak and often mendacious, but fancy, they have now taken to flying about the rooms! Yes, to literally flying. Upsetting itself upside down on the floor, our table, hardly touched, begins to jump of itself on the sofas, flying on top of other tables, on the sideboard, beds and other furniture; and, in its flight back, turns sommersets in the air in returning to its original position. This seems so wildly fantastic that, were it not for the absurdity of the notion, I might be half willing to believe that it is ourselves, who were cheating and turned and threw them about the room! Two days ago, at the house of Madame Babaef, a very heavy family dining-table, at which we had just had our tea, began to dance and fly about, jumping on every bit of furniture in the dining-room, until, owing to the supplications of Wladimir, Popof's youngest brother, who saw something terrific in these proceedings, we were forced to desist.
I must tell you that this Popof family is a very extraordinary one; extraordinary, inasmuch as the most weird and unaccountable phenomena, visions and manifestations have for years taken place among its members. They have an uncle, alive to this day, and who resides at Odessa, a marine officer, named Tvorogof. Many years ago, he fell into a lethargy and was pronounced by the doctors dead. The priests had come, and were already chanting the funeral service over his dead body which lay in a coffin, and the undertaker was ready to place it on the hearse. The poor man — who, though unable to manifest a sign of life, heard and realized everything that was taking place around him, — feeling that he was lost, then made a supreme effort and, in a last desperate, though to others inaudible, cry called to his God for help. At the same instant his right hand was lifted up by some supernatural power and made to strike a heavy blow against the coffin lid . . . The thump was heard by all, and the coffin
immediately opened. But the man, inside it, seemed as dead as ever; and, were it not for the resolute protest of his old aunt, would have been buried nevertheless. As it was, he was left to stand with the coffin opened for several days longer when, finally, at the end of the fifth day, he revived. He lived after that for twenty-five years more! Mr. Popof, the father of the family, who are our friends, saw his dead father several times, and described him accurately. His own sister lived unto the last day of her life in a world of wonders and visions. One instance: — At the death of Madame Nelidof, her life-long friend, old Mrs. Popof used to visit the chapel in the Nelidof palace at Kaarsk (where they lived) for the sole purpose of having there interviews with her deceased friend! More than that; it is the firm belief of the whole town, that, even after her death, Mrs. Nelidof, who was renowned for her holiness and piety, used to regularly and daily appear in the old chapel, where she had
worshipped during her life, and there, approaching the image of the Saviour, pray as if she were alive! The old gentleman, Mr. A. Popof, assured me, most solemnly, that many persons of his own family as well as the children of the deceased had seen her phantom in prayer; among others, Mrs. Nelidof's daughter who was married to the Count Kleinmichel.* And now, to my own experience with this strange family.
* All these are historical and well-known names among the Russian aristocracy.
Their son, Volodya, a school-boy of fifteen, is just recovering from an illness of the most dangerous character. An abscess had formed in his lungs, which, when burst, discharged an enormous quantity of purulent matter; even now — that is, after more than two months, — the discharge continues night and day into a vessel, through a tube set in the wound made by the operation, This boy it was who supplicated us to give up our communications through the table, assuring us most solemnly that the agency at work was very, very bad; that it was dangerous for all of us. I willingly believe what the boy says, and will tell you why. The fact is that the poor lad had been during a whole fortnight given up by the best doctors. There was no hope for him, especially after the cruel operation. He was so weak that he had to be gently turned from one side to the other on a pair of sheets, and was unable even to raise a hand. Suddenly, after a fortnight of agony, when his last breath was expected every minute, he awoke quite bright and firmly declared to every one of the family that he was now saved and that from that day he would be placed under the care of another doctor, who would treat him by a method of his own. At night, he called to his mother to bring a saucer of olive oil, and a glass of red wine, and bade her place both on the stand near his bed, together with a wax-light taper. He next implored his mother in the most supplicating terms, in case he should be asleep, to awake him precisely at 2 A. M., and then go and leave the room. He assured her that his very life depended on the strict performance of this programme, and begged of her, moreover, not to question him at the time. The boy had been on the very verge of death for over three weeks. As a matter of course, the mother promised everything he liked, but, mistaking the whole thing for fever delirium, concluded to tell him it was two, at whatever other hour he might awake, and never for one moment lose sight of him. The boy fell asleep early in the evening, and slept soundly and calmly as he had never slept since his illness. His mother sat near him, watching him as usual; and waiting for her sister, who came usually to relieve her at 3 o'clock. Suddenly — it needed but one minute to two, Volodya — bear in mind, that the boy was lying then motionless, and that he never could move a muscle without a fearful pain in his operated side and suffocation in his diseased lungs — Volodya awoke, and, sitting up in bed, lowered both his legs to the floor and loudly called his mother, who had been half dozing. She started to her feet, hardly believing her eyes; her Volodya was hurriedly snatching off his night clothes, shirt and all. . . . Then, in a solemn whisper, he began supplicating her again to go away, to leave him alone for a few minutes, repeating again that his life was involved in her obeying his prayer. She pretended to leave the room but hid herself behind the screens near the door. She told me that she now distinctly heard her son conversing with some invisible Presence as if answering questions — to herself inaudible; and that he ended by loudly repeating a prayer, in which the words — "I believe, O Mighty Lord, I believe in Thy sole help, and that Thine hand alone will cure me! . . . " were incessantly uttered. And, then, again this sentence: "These ligatures will fall off at Thy will . . . Thou wilt help me, and they will fasten themselves again on the wound by Thy order!!" Upon hearing this, the mother felt mortally frightened, lest her son should snatch away the bandages and the siphon introduced into the gaping wound, and was ready to rush to him, when through a crack in the screen she happened to catch sight of her son. She saw him, sitting, bent down and motionless upon the side of his bed, in such a posture, as if he were allowing some one to be examining his operated side, and muttering prayers and making signs of the cross all the while. In a few moments, the boy straightened himself up, put on his shirt himself, (he is unable to do as much even now, after a lapse of six weeks!) fixed his eyes upon the ceiling, once more made the sign of the cross, and laid back on his pillow. . . . Then the mother cautiously approached him and, not daring to offer him any question upon the mysterious event, simply enquired whether he needed anything more.
"What more can I need, now," answered the boy with an ecstatic smile, "now, when God himself anointed my wound and promised to cure me?"
From that night forward all idea of death — an idea which had never abandoned him since his sickness, and to which he had been fully resigned — left him.
Twice more, in all three times, he had the mysterious visit and now, to the great disgust of the physicians, he is beyond all immediate danger.
Yesterday I went to see him and had a long talk with the boy. He told me that, in each instance, he had been forewarned in his dreams of the forthcoming visit and vision of the Presence, that cured him; after that, at the appointed hour, the ceiling seemed to open over his couch, a divine luminous light radiated from it, and God himself descended and anointed him — with the holy oils — (showing me how He did it.) But that which God had told him he imported to no one but to his mother, assuring me that such were "His orders." Nothing can shake the boy's firm conviction that it was not the doctor but the "Lord Sabbaoth," himself, as he calls the vision — who cured him. And I, without any hesitation whatever, firmly believe in the reality of the vision, and would wish that the whole world should learn and know that, among many absurd and meaningless phenomena, there are such happy manifestations, which, in my opinion, contain a world of suggestive meaning and a grand consolation for us, poor helpless sinners crushed under the burden of sins, doubts and other woes and sorrows!
There is a certain house here, at Tiflis, near the Mooshtaid garden, long since deserted on account of its reputation of being haunted. This winter, a strong rumour was suddenly spread about the town that phenomena of the most infernal character took place there nightly. The soldiers, living opposite this house, were constantly startled in their barracks, by a fearful noise of thundering thumps in it, as though many persons were engaged in pulling down the roof and walls and scattering the fragments all over. These rumours grew so wild that a number of educated and determined men began to form in parties and visit it at nights with the intention of investigating them. One company of such fearless visitors was composed of several professors and students, — Messrs. Hadlin, Professor of Languages, and Bokey, of Natural Sciences, being among the number. These were the most determined and zealous of all investigators, and it is from these sceptical gentlemen that I have the details. Daily, with the first approach of twilight, the whole building began to tremble, as if it were going to fall to pieces. A most appalling din and unearthly ghostly-noises shook the house to its foundations. Large pieces of plaster and timber fell in a shower from the ceilings and sand, shingle and even rocks pelted the visitors upon their arrival. Some one of those, who had visited the haunted place previously, had warned our friends not to take their watches with them as they invariably got spoilt from the first moment of their appearance. Anxious to note the time and having determined to pass there the whole night, a Mr. Stadlin had once taken with him an alarm clock which, upon entering, he placed on the window sill. Before the eyes of the whole party, the clock began immediately to strike, whirr and rumble, whirled round and round on its place, and suddenly burst into small fragments. It was as if some one had made a mine in it, loaded it with powder and then touched it off. In answer to the sand and gravel showering on his head, Professor Bokey began to fire his revolver. But the bullets, after going to the distance of three or four yards, harmlessly fell to the ground, suggesting the idea of a hand catching them in their flight and then throwing them down. One of the party offered to examine the invisible host as to their erudition, and, with this object in view, drew on the wall some geometrical figures; another one wrote problems, and loudly asked "the powers that be" to solve them, leaving in the room for this purpose a few pencils. These, so long as the questioners remained in the room, lay quiet; but, upon their leaving the room to repair to an adjoining apartment to try some other experiment, and, then returning, they found the wall perfectly clean, and every one of their formulas and figures transferred from it to the floor. Then a variety of experiments was begun. Diverse objects being placed in a corner, the party left the room shutting the door after them, and, upon their return, found them in quite another place. Having driven a large nail into one of the walls, it was found — without the least noise of a hammer being heard, — immediately driven into the opposite wall; and no signs left of a hole in the first one. The most curious feature of the investigation is the one that forcibly brought it to an end. Remarking the various detachments, of mysterious-looking men stealing nightly into the haunted house, and, mistaking them for political conspirators — Nihilists — the police made a raid one fine night, and, catching all of them on the spot, arrested every one of the erudite investigators, and took them to the police station! Vain was it for our pedagogues to protest; useless the explanations offered by them to these severe guardians of public security in favour of the theory of the fourth dimension of space! The police, sure that they had discovered a new internal plot, would listen to no excuses. This event created a great sensation and laugh about the town. Every door and window of the haunted house was securely nailed and all entrances into it made impossible. Notwithstanding all these precautions, the noises and disturbances inside are still goiug on inside as lively as ever. . . . . .
A high-born lady of Russia, the Countess P * * lost her husband lately at Berlin, and she and her family were disconsolate. The widow passed her days and nights, weeping and lamenting over her fate. One fine day, the servant announces to her the visit of an American gentleman. He had just arrived at Berlin and sought a personal interview upon some business of the highest importance to the lady. At first she refused to see him, as she had constantly done, even with her best friends. Then he sent word that the business concerned her late husband, from whom he had a message for her. Then he was admitted into her room. She saw a good-looking, gentlemanly Saxon, who in order, he remarked, that she might not suspect his good faith, showed her his passports. He then proceeded to tell her that he was a "medium,"* who had come to Europe on business, concerning an inheritance, which business had led him to visit one of the Berlin burial-grounds. It is there that he had made her late husband's acquaintance. He, the dead man, had asked him to visit his widow, and beg her not to be so despondent and miserable, as her grief was the only impediment to his bliss. That he felt far better and happier now, than he had ever felt before, being now delivered of his frail body which had caused him so much suffering. The Countess stared at the medium, and felt firmly convinced that she had to deal with a lunatic. But the American, determined to convince her, set to describing the deceased Count's appearance to the minutest details, even to the dress he had been buried in; and then she believed. Besides that, he informed her that her husband wanted her to know that certain documents, which she would very soon need in a forthcoming law-suit for his inheritance, had been concealed by him in the house upon one of their estates. They were hidden in a certain desk in a certain room and in a peculiar-looking note-book. The information proved perfectly correct, and became in time of the greatest importance to the Countess, as the law-suit took place as prophesied, and she easily won it. These are the facts.
* We would be happy to learn the name of this American medium. Can any one tell? — ED.
THEGESTURE SPEECH OF MANKIND
In the THEOSOPHIST of March last, we noticed a paper read before the American Association for the advancement of Science, by Colonel Garrick Mallery of the United States Army, and attached to the Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution, upon the Sign Language of the North American Indians. We have now received a more extensive work by the same author issued by the Smithsonian Institution, entitled "Introduction to the study of Sign Language among the North American Indians as illustrating the Gesture-Speech of Mankind," in which the signs of the American aborigines are examined in suggested comparison with those of other tribes of men throughout the world and with the natural, as distinct act from the conventional, gesture-expressions of deaf mutes. The scope of the work is useful in elucidating the evolution of articulate speech, the radicals of languages, the forms of alphabets and syllabaries and the pictographs which preceded the latter. The present production is not, however, final, only professing to be an exposition of the gesture speech of man, sufficient to excite interest and invite correspondence, to indicate desirable points and modes of observation, and to give notice of some facilities provided for description and illustration. The final publication, to be issued by the Smithsonian Institution, will mainly consist of a collation, in the form of a vocabulary, of all authentic signs, including signals made at a distance, with their description, as also that of any specially associated facial expression, set forth in language, intended to be so clear, illustrations being added when necessary, that they can be reproduced by the reader. The descriptions contributed, as also the explanation or conception occurring to or ascertained by the contributors, will be given in their own words, with their own illustrations when furnished or when they can be designed from written descriptions, and always with individual credit as well as responsibility.
To obtain the collaboration requested, a number of copies of the "Introduction," with separate sheets of forms to facilitate both verbal and figured description, have been placed in the hands of Colonel Olcott for distribution to scholars and observers in the East, who may be willing to assist in a study important for philology and anthropology in general. The efforts at expression of all savage or barbarian tribes, when brought into contact with other bodies of men not speaking an oral language common to both, should in theory resemble the devices of the American Indians. They are not, however, shown by any published works to prevail among many of the tribes of men in Asia, Africa, and Oceanica in the same manner as known among those of North and also of South America, but logically should be found in all districts where uncivilized inhabitants of the same territory are separated by many linguistic divisions. Such signs may be, first, unconnected with existing oral language, and used between people of different districts, whose diversities of dialect prevent oral communication, or may consist of gestures, emotional or not, which are only noticed in oratory or impassioned conversation, and possibly are survivals of a former gesture-language; secondly, may be used to explain or accentuate the words of ordinary speech; and, thirdly, both these classes of gestures may be examined philologically to trace their possible connection with the radicals of speech, syllabaries and ideographic characters in general. Different classes of collaborators are necessary for these divisions of the subjects.
While the author in modest terms proposes to do no more than put forth inquiries and suggestions, he presents much that is both new and highly interesting, and makes a valuable contribution to science. He dwells first upon the practical value of the sign language both in communication with living tribes and for the interpretation of native picture writing, "the sole form of aboriginal records, the impress upon bark, skins, or rocks of the evanescent air pictures which in pigment or carving preserve their skeleton outline." The next chapter treats of the origin and extent of the gesture-speech, holding that the latter preceded articulate language in importance, which remained rudimentary long after gesture had become an art. The preponderance of authority is to the effect that man, when in possession of all his faculties, did not make a deliberate choice between voice and gesture, both being originally instinctive, as both are now; and there never was a time when one was used to the exclusion of the other. With the voice he at first imitated the few sounds of nature, while with gesture he exhibited actions, motions, positions, forms, dimensions, directions, distances, and their derivatives. It is enough to admit that the connection between them was so early and intimate that the gestures, in the wide sense of presenting ideas under physical forms, had a formative effect upon many words; that they exhibit the earliest condition of the human mind; are traced from the remotest antiquity among all peoples possessing records, and are universally prevalent in the savage stage of social evolution. Colonel Mallery next proceeds to demolish the oft-repeated story that there are tribes that cannot converse in the dark, alleging in response that individuals of those American tribes especially instanced, often in their domestic abandon, wrap themselves in robes or blankets with only breathing holes before the nose, and chatter away for hours. The common belief in an universal sign language as a conventional code shares the same fate at the hands of the author. In numerous instances there is an entire discrepancy between the signs made by different bodies of Indians to express the same idea and a further diversity between many of their signs and those yet noted from the Eastern hemisphere, all, however, being intelligent and generally intelligible.
We are glad that so competent a man as Colonel Mallery is interesting himself in this investigation. What is now lacking is regulated intelligent co-operation, and we bespeak for him the assistance of all persons who are in position to require accurate information on the subject. So far as linguistic results are concerned, we look for light from these inquiries at least in the analogy between the developments of signs and language, if not from any material and substantive relation to be exhibited between the two. The processes of mind are the same, or nearly the same, in both cases, and we shall be able to study the psychology of language in that of this other and lower means of communication, as we study the physical and mental organization of man in that of the lower animals. The study of picture writing and signs should throw light upon the genesis of sytax and help us to ascertain the origin of the sentence. Religious, socialistic, and other ethnologic considerations of special interests are included in the heredited and transmitted gestures of the world, and we have the present enquiry, based upon the practices of the Western representatives of the Stone Age, as destined, with proper comparison, to shed a flood of light upon those of the most ancient peoples of the Orient.
THESTUDY OF THEOSOPHY.
BY N. D. K. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F.T.S.
"We feel we are nothing — for all is Thou and in Thee;"
"We feel we are something — that also has come from Thee;"
"We are nothing, O Thou — but Thou wilt help us as to be."
There is no more fatal fallacy," says Mr. Serjeant Cox, "than that the truth will prevail by its own force, that it has only to be seen to be embraced. In fact, the desire for the actual truth exists in very few minds, and the capacity to discern it in fewer still. Men's beliefs are moulded to their wishes. They see all and more than all that seems to tell for what they desire; they are blind as bats to whatever tells against them. The scientists are more exempt from this failing than are others." A Bombay weekly, that professes to be the best informed, and most influential of Gujerati papers, lately made the ludicrous statement, that the Delegates of the Theosophical Society had gone to Ceylon merely to propagate Buddhism. This is how the public, forming its opinion second-hand, is entirely misled as regards the aims and objects of the Society, the sincere and earnest exertions of whose founders in behalf of Universal Brotherhood cannot fail by degrees to dispel the haze from the eyes of the educated and thoughtful sons of Hind — or not to hurt the feelings of some — we shall say, the sons of "Aryavart."
Previous to the last quarter of a century, European Materialistic ideas had made little progress in this country, but now it has to a certain extent succeeded in teaching the young mind to deny every thing old and live in an atmosphere of negation. As long as there was blind, unquestioning faith, there was not much to disquiet the simple mind; but once the canker of doubt was raised by the teachings of certain scientists, there seems to be no resting ground elsewhere than in the "opprobrium-covered matter" in which Mr. Tyndall sees the "promise and potency of all terrestrial life." Reviewing some time back the life of Justus von Liebig, a writer, in one of the English periodicals, says — "Ignorance of the laws of Nature is the real cause of the destruction of nations and of the revolutions of history. Chemistry reconquers the earth for mankind. The triumphs of science are of lasting duration. Their traces are the waving cornfields and the cattle on a thousand hills, and, while leading to the ever enlarging growth of human industry, they form the material basis for a permanent peace among the nations of the earth." Are not, however, the ever increasing and multifarious weapons of war also "the triumphs of science," and, as long as these exist and new ones continue to be invented, how can it be said that we have the "basis of a permanent peace"? Mankind owe a vast debt to science, but science is powerless to afford a solution to various problems of vital importance for the well-being of mankind. Matter in the present century has almost been deified, and the existence in the universe of any other power or force outside, and independent of matter, is denied. The civilization of the present age of invention and competition is heart and soul engrossed in the solution of one great problem — how one nation is to outstrip all others in the race for wealth. Other considerations are to it quite secondary. Ignoring the higher nature of man, it is it is trying to turn men into machines, but defying the laws, laws of matter, that nature often asserts its right, and upsets all calculations.
Science boasts that it has divorced Spirit from terrestrial trial regions at least; but modern Spiritualism like a goblin assuming protean shapes seems to stare cold materialism almost out of countenance. More then twenty millions of persons of various nationalities and countries of the civilized world believe in the reality of these phenomena. This belief has grown up within the last thirty years years and is spreading apace. Works have been written by men eminent in science and other departments of knowledge, and reports published by the dialectical societies of several countries, who, after studying the phenomena for years and examining them under test conditions, have at last pronounced them to be genuine. None are so zealous as the spiritualists themselves to expose the great amount of imposture that provails under their name; but, leaving aside all such jogglery which can never stand any well-applied test, there is found to be a residuum of truth, which not all the unfair criticism and in some cases the positive mendacity of a few unscrupulous scientists has been able to falsify. "The fundamental doctrines of spiritialism, says Professor Huxley, "lie outside the limits of philosophical inquiry;" and when he was invited by the Dialectical Society of London to examine the phenomena, he excused himself on the ground that he had no time, that such things did not interest him, and ended by saying that "the only case of Spiritualism that he had the opportunity to examine into for himself, was as gross an imposture as ever came under his notice." In the same manner when the opportunity offered to Professor Tyndall to investigate the phenomena, he avoided the subject, and yet, in his "Fragments of Science," he speaks exultingly of a case in which he "found out" a medium by getting under the table.
Professor Hare of Philadelphia, "the venerable chemist universally respected for his life-long labours in science, was bullied into silence" before the American Association for the Promotion of Science, when he opened the subject of Spiritualism, and yet, at that very time, that same association "held a very learned, studied, grave and profound discussion upon the cause why roosters (barn cocks) crow between twelve and one at night" — a subject which Professor Huxley would not have failed to class as within "the limits of philosophical inquiry." These are but a few out of the many instances in which scientists not only act unfairly towards Spiritualism and Mesmerism, but, without any foundation to base their opinions upon, try at every opportunity to throw discredit upon the subject. No one, who has taken pains to examine with candour, has been otherwise than convinced of the reality of these phenomena, and hence it is that, in spite of such unmeaning hostility, we find Mr. Alfred R.Wallace, the naturalist, Mr. Crookes, the chemist, Professors Wagner and Butler of St. Petersburg, Lord Lindsay, Serjeant Cox, Baron Du Potet, Flammarion, the astronomer, Professor Zollner, Judge Edmonds, and numerous other prominent men testifying to the truth of these phenomena. If any fact is to be believed upon human testimony, those of Spiritualism, Mesmerism and Psychometry must be taken to have been well established. It is not that these phenomena occurred at some time in the distant past, and cannot again be observed; they could even yet be examined at any time and that under every sort of test conditions. Much of the hostile attitude is due to the fact that scientists are unable to satisfactorily explain the cause of these manifestations by the known laws of matter, the applicability of which seems to them to be the crucial test by which to judge of the reality or otherwise of a phenomenon, all testimony of a most reliable kind to the contrary, notwithstanding.
To the educated classes in India, who in this their age of intellectual renaissance, are in the generality of cases swayed hither and thither with the theories propounded by every scientific writer, those phenomena are of deep import. Mill, Spencer, Bain, Huxley, Tyndall, Darwin, Buchner and the like, are the gods of most of our educated youths. They are, so to say, the writers of the Scientific Bible, the perusal of which leaves on the mind a vague idea of certain heterogeous opinions, inclining one to deny the existence of God, and the immortality of the Soul. All arguments from analogy regarding the possibility of a life beyond the grave fail to satisfy the sceptical mind, which then generally drifts towards Materialism. Spiritualism, Mesmerism and Psychometry, on the other hand, promise to offer us "proofs palpable of immortality," and it seems as if the dark Unknowable were unfolding its portals to allow us a glimpse of the world beyond. If, then, we tried to examine the credentials of the Weird Stranger and attempted to bring him to light, with what justice could it be said that such a proceeding is the revival of "mouldy superstition"? It is often asserted that these things have long since been exploded. But who did and how? Not Mr. Hume, nor the scientists at all events.
Modern Spiritualism is yet too young to teach a science of its own. The theories of the Spiritualists, regarding the causes of these manifestations that have so profusely and persistently come to light, are necessarily imperfect, based as they have been on certain preconceived opinions, and a comparatively short experience. In such a dilemma, Theosophy, which is as old as the origin of man himself and which claims to give "a theory — of God and His works — based upon individual inspiration," has had to step forward to enable the bewildered public to estimate these phenomena at their true value, to dispel certain apprehensions that prevail regarding their causes, and to show that they occur under laws as natural as those which regulate the ebb and flow of tides. Theosophy points out besides that there was a complete science of the occult laws of Nature, known to the ancients, and that this science is yet in the hands of certain adepts who, if approached in all sincerity, would not be unwilling to teach. Theosophy does not try to force upon any one any belief of any kind, but, on the contrary, it encourages free and fearless inquiry. The declaration of Horace Greeley — "I accept unreservedly the views of no man living or dead" — is the motto of the Theosophist, who might be said to be a liberal searcher after truth in whatever place or shape he might find it. Our universities give their alumni a liberal education, which ought to enable them to appreciate the liberal views of the Theosophical Society, but some of them, not caring to understand, often unconsciously try to misrepresent. As the Society has now and then to speak of Spiritualisrn, Mesmerism and the marvellous powers of the Soul, these persons expect some of the advanced Theosophists to entertain them with magical performances, and when they learn that such idle curiosity is not to be gratified, or when they come and inquire regarding certain matters, and the answers do not coincide with their way of thinking, they are at once disposed to look upon the Theosophists as mere dreamers. For an inquirer, however, to discuss a subject new to him, with profit, he must at least take the trouble to inform himself beforehand to a certain extent regarding the subject, by reading, when he can easily command the means of so doing. The demand of such persons is somewhat like that of the Irishman desirous of learning music, who, on being told by the maestro that for a beginner his charges were two guineas for the first lesson, and one guinea for the second and each subsequent lesson, answered that he did not care to have the first lesson as it cost him double, but would have the second at once. Before such inquirers lies a book replete with facts and arguments and marvelous knowledge depicted on every page of it. But they heed it not. While some of them, breathing an atmosphere impregnated with the intoxicating emanations of their self-conceit, after reading half a dozen pages and not taking any trouble to understating the meaning, think they know much better, and, shutting up the book, commence to expatiate upon the views of the author. Self-conceit, however, is one of the first things that a student of Theosophy ought to divest himself of. Every one, who aspires to be a Theosophist or desires to know what Theosophy is, ought carefully to read and study Isis Unveiled, which is really a master-key to the mysteries of ancient and modern Science and Theosophy. This is what the most Worshipful John W. Simons, thirty-third Degree and Past Grand Master of New York State, editorially said — "To the scholar, masonic student particularly, and the Specialist, to the philologist and the Archiologist, this work will be a most valuable acquisition, aiding them in their labors and giving to them the only clue to the labyrinth of confusion in which they are involved." And the New York Herald says: — "With its striking peculiarities, its audacity, its versatility, and the prodigious variety of subjects which it notices and handles, it is one of the most remarkable productions of the nineteenth century." Most Freemasons and others commonly believe that no woman has been or could be admitted to the decrees of Masonry. It will, therefore, be a surprise to them that for "showing in her book the true sources of Speculative Masonry, and the esoteric knowledge and powers possessed by the brothers of the East, the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Memphis Rite in England and Wales, have sent to the authoress, Madame Blavatsky, through John Yarker Esq., the 'Thrice Illustrious Sovereign Grand Master General,' the diploma of some of the highest honors of that Order. The original diploma can be seen at the Library of the Theosophical Society.
A book so truly valuable ought to be on the shelf of every library worthy of the name, and yet a well-known and old society of Bombay, that professes to be a repository of Asiatic archaic knowledge, when moved by a learned member to purchase the book for its library, allowed itself to be dissuaded by the pusillanimous advice of a few narrow-minded and bigoted members, the others not having the moral courage to contradict them. The native members, at least, ought to be ashamed of such a proceeding. For, what book describes the true glory of ancient India, its religion and philosophy so learnedly and convincingly as those admirable pages?
Every religion, be it Christian or heathen, rests on the two primary and primitive Truths — the existence of God and the immortality of the Soul. All the various ceremonies, forms and observances, are so many after-creations of the human mind and have naught to do with those Eternal Truths, a glimpse of which we get through intuition, and inspiration helps us to realize. "Inspiration is the addition of a higher mentality to the subject's own individuality. It is an extraordinary exhaltation of the conscious self." When a religious revival is contemplated, the promoters thereof must undergo a certain amount of self-sacrifice and their lives must be such that the words they utter might be thoroughly exemplified by their acts. The various Samajes in India are a significant sign of the times. They form a great movement in the right direction, but for these Samajes to be a real success their members must show much more self-abnegation. In their homes they must be the same liberal minded practical reformers that they give themselves ought at their gatherings to be. At the same time their religious and philosophical teachings must command the attention of the educated public whom they address.
When can they get this most important knowledge except through the exoteric teachings of the sages of old — "the Wisdom Religion" — which is 'Theosophy? How else are the doctrines of Brahmaism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism to be understood so as to call for the veneration of the enlightened and thoughtful? Philology has alone a great deal to interpret the meaning of old languages, but has that literal interpretation brought any satisfaction to our mind? Must not these religious doctrines be interpreted according to the spirit of the times wherein they were preached; and how are we to have a knowledge of that spirit, — when the ancients for various reasons shrouded their real meaning under the veil of mystery — except by trying to lift up the veil?
Oriental philosophy shows a strong faith in the prodigious and occult powers of man's immortal self. Why should not the educated Indian, therefore, satisfy himself whether this wondrous power is more "unconscious cerebration," or a reality.
The practice of high morality for its own sake is universally desired, but how is it to be accomplished except by showing that it works not merely ideal but real good, and that it is the only means by which the god-like powers of the human soul are to be developed? Preaching and sermons are well enough for the hour or half an hour that they are listened to, but the universal and emphatic teaching of the ancients, that in the practice of pure morality and the development of will-power lies the key to that which we call the "Unknown," ought to be to us a Revelation in this materialistic age.
Those, who are banded together for earnestly searching after Truth, must naturally feel real sympathy for mankind in general and be free from narrow, selfish desires. It is in this sense, therefore, that the idea of forming "a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood," by the Theosophical Society need not be taken to be a chimera, but a project that bids fair to be realized to some extent slowly and by degrees. The Society allows any well-conducted person to be a member but it will at once be seen from the rules that the third section, which every one joins at the commencement, is one for Probationers, and the mere fact of joining the Society means very little. For, unless the Probationer make himself really worthy by his own merit, neither money, nor dinners, nor social positions, nor intellectual acquirements, can help him to get to the higher sections; and insincere members are immediately shown out. Moral elevation is the principal thing insisted upon and, side by side with it, the probationer is supposed to improve his knowledge. He, therefore, who would be a true Theosophist, must bring his inner self to guide his every thought, word and deed, every day of his life and, at the same time, along with other studies, try to acquire a knowledge of Mesmerism, Psychology, Spiritualism and the real philosophy of the ancients.
To make its members learned in Aryan Wisdom is not, however, the sole object of the Society. Investigation of truth in every branch of knowledge is most welcome to it and those, who have no taste for mystic lore, may yet join it with profit. Where every true member is an earnest and sincere worker, each one would be ready and willing to help the other; and as the members of the Society are spread over the four quarters of the globe and many of them are eminent in science and other departments of knowledge, the Indian members cannot but derive great benefits from their advice and co-operation in various matters with reference to the well-being of this country. It has, however, been said by some — "Why need we join the Society when these persons, since they have sympathy for their fellowman, would help us even if we remain outside?" Such questioners forget that for men to co-operate with each other thoroughly, they must know each other well, and when such persons are scattered in distant places the best means of knowing each other well is to form themselves into a brotherhood.
Again, it must not be forgotten that the Society does not wish its ordinary members to turn recluses and ascetics, but, on the contrary, it is thought that there is greater merit in honestly doing your duty as a member of the state, the society, the family, and at the same time remaining an ascetic at heart, giving to earthly things the necessary attention and keeping all thoughts, desires and passions under proper restraint, than in entirely forsaking the world.
That there is a Power transcending matter, which is shaped and moved thereby; that there is in man something akin to that Power, which something could be developed to give us ultimate knowledge by means of purity of life and conduct; that there is a life beyond the grave, the preparation for which is not through the observance of forms and ceremonies which have usurped the place of true religion, but through unselfishness, self-denial, self-control, in short, the practice of a high order of morality; that sincerity in everything we do and purity of life has a sort of magnetic attraction to draw towards ourselves all that is good; that there has been from time immemorial a world-religion based on Divine Wisdom, which the ancient sages of all nations have taught under the veil of myths, allegories and mysteries; that Magic is nothing else but that Wisdom whose two pillars are Mesmerism and Psychology; that this religion, if properly understood, would tend to dispel scepticism from our minds and point out the harmony that underlies the principles of Vedism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism; that there are other worlds and systems; that no part of the Universe is void, but is full of beings and existences made according to the elements in which they live; that man can, under certain conditions, commune with and even control these beings; that harmony pervades the Universe; that no branch of knowledge is to be slighted or neglected through vain prejudices; that there is nothing like a miracle in Nature; and that it is merely our ignorance of the hidden laws of Nature that makes us designate certain marvellous phenomena as miraculous: all this and much more Theosophy helps us properly to understand. The Theosophical Society aims at disseminating a knowledge of Theosophy; and, among several other objects, it has, through its Eastern Branch, shown a desire to promote the moral and material well-being of India, as far as lies in its power. What sincere well-wisher of our country, therefore, could fail to join its ranks or be behindhand in feeling sympathy with its views? In connection with reform, there has been hitherto a great deal of empty talk but little of real action, for there has not been an adequate amount of zeal and sincerity. Here Theosophy, increasing in our would-be-reformers their self-respect, would make them liberal-minded, humble and sincere workers and cause them to lay aside, for ever, the uttering of empty platitudes or the performance of idle ceremonies. At least, these are the views of one Parsi — the writer.
LIGHTFROM THE MISSIONARIES WANTED.
By a Truth-Seeker.
The subjoined few questions are offered with a hope that some enterprising Christian will answer them. I send them to you in preference to any Christian journal for two reasons: first, I can count upon their publication in the THEOSOPHIST, and secondly, The THEOSOPHIST having a very wide circulation, the answers would be read by many who, like myself, are engaged in the pursuit of truth. The answerer will please cite authorities where necessary. The questions are:
1. Who wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy? They could not have been written by Moses as alleged, because he has recorded his own death, and no man can record his own death. (See Deuteronomy, chapter 34, verses 5, 6.) The tenth verse, of the Chapter cited reads thus: — And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. Does this not plainly show that the books were written by somebody else and not by Moses?
2. Who wrote the Book of Joshua? It could not have been written by Joshua for the reason given in question (See Joshua, chapter 24) verses 29, 30).
3. God created Adam and Eve. To them were born Cain and Abel. Cain slays his brother. God curses him and drives him out. Cain says "every one that findeth me shall slay me." (N. B. — There was no human being living except the family of Adam, even supposing that he had other children.) God, instead of assuring Cain that besides his family there was no living soul on the whole earth, sets a mark upon Cain "lest any finding him should slay him." Does this not plainly show that there were other people living besides Adam and his household? Again, "Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod. . . And Cain knew his wife"; who was Cain's wife? Surely he did not marry his own sister; for independently of the incest it would involve, Adam had no daughter at this time. Does this not prove beyond doubt that there were other people living and that the assertion that the whole human race sprang from Adam is utterly false? Or is the whole story bosh?
4. "There were giants in the earth in these days; and also after that when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, etc." (Genesis, chapter 6, verse 4.)
What is the meaning of the italicised expressions? Were there other sons of God besides Jesus?
5. Do the Christians observe the laws, rites and ceremonies and mode of worship laid down by God in chapters 21-30 of Exodus? If not, why not? Do they not break the commands of God in this respect?
6. Who wrote the Books of Samuel? Not Samuel, for reasons mentioned in Question 1 and 2. (See 1 Samuel, chapter 25.)
7. The Book of the Acts of Solomon, the Book of Jasher and possibly others existed before the Bible, since it quotes them. The Bible is, therefore, not the oldest book.
8. How is it that no mention is made in the Old Testament of the Trinity in the Godhead? If Christians believe that there are three persons in the Godhead and yet God is one, what difficulty can they find in believing that there are thirty-three crores of persons in the Godhead and yet God is one? When you have more than one person in the Godhead, it is perfectly immaterial whether you have three or thirty-three crores.
9. Why do the Christians make so much of faith in Jesus, whereas they seldom urge the necessity of having faith in God, the Father? The Holy Ghost is scarcely mentioned by them as a power itself.
10. When and by whom were the Gospels written? (Reasons required, not dogmatism.) How many Gospels were there? Why were only four recognised and the rest rejected? I mean on what grounds? What was the test of spuriousness? What assurance is there that the four Gospels also are not forgeries? For the present these questions will do. When these are answered satisfactorily, I shall suggest others. I shall be obliged if these could be sent to a missionary and if his answers could be published along with these questions. I require no names as I don't give mine. My object is only to learn the truth. I must, however, at the same time say that the answers must be published in the THEOSOPHIST; and if any one were to ask me to see him personally I would decline to do so.
AT WYTHEVILLE, IN THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, U. S. A., there is great excitement over certain miraculous cures which are said to have been performed by a mechanic, named Richard Miller. He is a deeply religious man and affirms that in March last he dreamt that "with God's help he could perform wonderful cures simply through faith." The next day he healed a, sick man by touching him. Instances are given in the Cincinnati Enquirer of cures wrought by him in cases of paralysis, rheumatism and even cancer. He scornfully refuses all recompense for his services, and altogether impresses one as a very humble and sincere zealot endowed with strong magnetic power, which he mistakes for a special miracle-working influence from God.