Once the desire for Occultism has really awakened in a man's heart, there remains for him no hope of peace, no place of rest and comfort in all the world.
While the world is plunged in gratifying the desires of the senses, there are not a few of our race who are goaded by mental desires—great knowledge, power over the hearts of men, serenity to pursue one aim or another; and some among these are attracted by the lure of the Occult. We are not referring to those who run after astrologers and palmists, gypsies and psychics, fakes and faquirs, but to those serious-minded men who perseveringly follow the search of higher knowledge. H.P.B.'s remark quoted above applies to such earnest minds.
Among the records of the Great Lodge there are the life-stories of abject suffering, or varied experience of such men, resulting in many failures and a few successes. The Adepts of the Great Fraternity, possessing full knowledge of the Law of Cycles and knowing that in this era an increase of psychism was due, helped H.P.B. to warn, to advise and to offer suitable explanations so that men and women drawn by the lure of the Occult might save themselves much trouble and suffering. Several of the articles reprinted in the book Raja-Yoga or Occultism show this very clearly, and among them is "Occultism versus the Occult Arts" from which the above quotation is taken. Among students of Theosophy there are many who have come to U.L.T. goaded by the lure of the Occult; some have already learnt the wisdom of this article; others fancy that somehow not all that is said is applicable to them!
As the human will is weak, generally speaking, and remains to be developed, there is real lack of sustenance of the right kind for such men and women. Unless the will to gain knowledge becomes natural and manifests in the habit of learning the lessons of life, no progress is made. Unless a child acquires the habit of going to school regularly, he never learns; so with these men and women who desire to know, to gain siddhis, to possess power; unless they develop a will to go to school, they will not learn, they will not grow. And for almost all such it is well that their will to go to school is weak. For, as H.P.B. points out, "His heart is too full of passion and selfish desire to permit him to pass the Golden Gate."
There is misunderstanding about the nature of Will, its movements and manifestations. Theosophy teaches that the main characteristic of real will is that it flows steadily all the time, is steadfast in all events. It is an inner steadfastness and without it real progress is not possible. In the olden days, among Hindus, sage instructors instituted the elaborate exercise of Sandhya-Puja, and people went through it every day at dawn and twilight. This ritual accustomed the elemental lives of the personality to move with and in rhythm and thus helped the consciousness to turn inwards: this dual process developed the spiritual will. But such elaborate exercises are not suitable for men and women of our era. Cyclic conditions and their influence require very different means. In previous yugas the rites of sacrifice, yagna, were elaborate; at the dawn of Kali Yuga, Krishna inaugurated a mighty change; he introduced simplicity: "A leaf, a flower, or fruit, or water." Two thousand five hundred years later, Gautama, the Buddha, took men's minds a step further; in confirming the Gita teachings, he emphasized the inner ritual as real, outer sacrifices of objects to God and Gods as dangerous and futile; and in our own times H.P.B. carried on the mission of making men and women reliant on the Self within, transforming all life-actions into sacrifices, because all deeds are to be infused with the pure thoughts of the indwelling Ego.
Theosophy teaches its votaries to cast off outer formalism—not only the formalism of creed and caste, but every type of formalism. Our actions devised by the reasoning mind in which is induced the light of the Wisdom-Religion have to be made sacred. When the Esotericist is asked to make his psycho-mental luggage ready for the journey to the Temple of Occultism, he is called upon to cast off what is not really needed and to secure that which is necessary. What specialized actions, such as sacrifice, were intended to achieve in the olden days can now be achieved by a more subjective method, in the hourly affairs of life. Through right performance of duty, the inner spirutual will can be developed.
Next, Theosophy points out that there are those who have laboured along this line in past lives and whose will to know the secrets of Mother Nature has awakened. For such, the almost frightening statement is made: "There remains for him no hope of peace, no place of rest and comfort in all the world."
It is the "desire for another world" which makes this one reposeless, comfortless. It is this desire for another world which stirs the slumbering elementals of a certain kind. The veil between the visible and the invisible is loosened and, unknown to himself, the student is influenced and impressed by the denizens of the invisible. Elementals or devatas, gods or devas, Sapta Rishis and others, as well as Mahatmas, Boddhisattvas and Nirmanakayas live in the infinitudes of space. The student-aspirant draws to himself the influence therefrom according to the Law of Consubstantiality. If he is not careful and watchful to walk strictly the path shown by the Masters or H.P.B., he es bound to go wrong. Enough has been said in our books about the dangers of the elemental forces; but these are not the only tempters. The student needs to reflect on this statement of H.P.B.'s: "Those who fall off from our living human Mahatmas to fall into the Saptarishi—the Star Rishis, are no Theosophists."
What precaution should the student take? In what particular way should he behave so that he shall not fall off? Once the Path of Life and Light is entered, there cannot but be contact with the invisible realm where dwell a vast host, from Masters of Life and Light to Magicians of the Black Art and of Soul Death. For the novice, there is protection in his pure faith which must without delay be strengthened by true Knowledge. Knowledge alone cannot save, but salvation cannot be attained without knowledge. Application follows, and therefore needs, knowledge. If we examine our habits, methods of doing things, modes of thought and speech, we glimpse what corrections we need to make. The way we talk, the way we walk, the way we eat, the way we do things—small, plain things—affect astral forms in the Astral Light, because behind and within all physical actions there is our thought-energy. The Astral Light is both lower and higher, and our deeds, words, emotions and thoughts attract and imprison elementals of the lower or become channels of the influence which flows from the higher.
The nature and flow of our magnetism undergo a change with our thought-feeling, and the latter modulates the tone of our speech and the harmony of our actions. For the man devoid of the desire for Occultism, confined to the three-dimensional world of gross matter, his manners and methods matter little; but for one whose desire for Occultism has awakened and made him touch the World Invisible, they matter enormously.
H.P.B. mentions the passing of the Golden Gate. There are several golden gates, which the strength of our purified and radiant magnetism or prana enables us to unlock and pass. The Wisdom of Virtues holds the keys. As a string vibrates and gives forth an audible note, so the nerves of the human body vibrate in correspondence with various emotions under the general impulse of the circulating prana, thus producing undulations in the psychic aura of the person which result in chromatic effects. Therefore it is written in the Mirror of Magic:
Man is a Musician, his body a Vina, his nerves its strings. They thrill with raga and out flows the music, sad and pensive or genial and cheery; exciting or becalming. Radiant love or blackening lust streams forth to gladden the hearts or pollute the ears of all who hear. Beware, O Musician, what thy Vina intones.
Thought makes the whole dignity of man; therefore endeavour to think well, that is the only morality.