thoughts—as happened with every tongue—the more the latter became materialized in the cold atmosphere of Western selfishness and its incessant chase after the goods of this world, the less was there any need felt for the production of new terms to express that which was tacitly regarded as obsolete and exploded "superstition." Such words could answer only to ideas which a cultured man was scarcely supposed to harbor in his mind. "Magic," a synonym for jugglery; "Sorcery," an equivalent for crass ignorance; and "Occultism," the sorry relic of crack-brained, medieval Fire-philosophers, of the Jacob Boehmes and the St. Martins, are expressions believed more than amply sufficient to cover the whole field of "thimble-rigging." They are terms of contempt, and used generally only in reference to the dross and residues of the Dark Ages and its preceding aeons of paganism. Therefore have we no terms in the English tongue to define and shade the difference between such abnormal powers, or the sciences that lead to the acquisition of them, with the nicety possible in the Eastern languages—pre-eminently the Sanskrit. What do the words "miracle" and "enchantment" (words identical in meaning after all, as both express the idea of producing wonderful things by breaking the laws of nature [!!] as explained by the accepted authorities) convey to the minds of those who hear, or who pronounce them? A Christian—breaking "of the laws of nature," notwithstanding—while believing firmly in the miracles, because said to have been produced by God through Moses, will either scout the enchantments performed by Pharoah's magicians, or attribute them to the devil. It is the latter whom our pious enemies connect with Occultism, while their impious foes, the infidels, laugh at Moses, Magicians, and Occultists, and would blush to give one serious thought to such "superstitions." This, because there is no term in existence to show the difference; no words to express the lights and shadows and draw the line of demarcation between the sublime and the true, the absurd and the ridiculous. The latter are the theological interpretations which teach the "breaking of the laws of Nature" by man, God, or devil; the former—the scientific "miracles" and enchantments of Moses and the Magicians in accordance with natural laws, both having been learned in all the Wisdom of the Sanctuaries, which were the "Royal Societies" of those days—and in true OCCULTISM. This last word is certainly misleading, translated as it stands from the compound word Guptâ-Vidyâ, "Secret Knowledge." But the knowledge of what? Some of the Sanskrit terms may help us.
There are four (out of the many other) names of the various kinds of Esoteric Knowledge or Sciences given, even in the exoteric Purânas. There is (1) Yajña-Vidyâ,C knowledge of the occult powers awakened in Nature by the performance of certain religious ceremonies and rites. (2) Mahâ-Vidyâ, the "great knowledge," the magic of the Kabalists and of the Tântrika worship, often Sorcery of the worst description. (3) Guhyâ-Vidyâ, knowledge of the mystic powers residing in Sound (Ether), hence in the Mantras (chanted prayers or incantations) and depending on the rhythm and melody used; in other words a magical performance based on Knowledge of the Forces of Nature and their correlation; and (4) Âtma-Vidyâ, a term which is translated simply "Knowledge of the Soul," true Wisdom by the Orientalists, but which means far more.
This last is the only kind of Occultism that any Theosophist who admires Light on the Path, and who would be wise and unselfish, ought to strive after. All the rest is some branch of the "Occult Sciences," i.e., arts based on the knowledge of the ultimate essence of all things in the Kingdom of Nature—such as minerals, plants, and animals—hence of things pertaining to the realm of material Nature, however invisible that essence may be, and howsoever much it has hitherto eluded the grasp of Science. Alchemy, Astrology, Occult Physiology, Chiromancy exist in Nature, and the exact Sciences—perhaps so called because they are found in this age of paradoxical philosophies the reverse—have already discovered not a few of the secrets of the above arts. But clairvoyance, symbolized in India as the "Eye of Śiva," called in Japan, "Infinite Vision," is not Hypnotism, the illegitimate son of Mesmerism, and is not to be acquired by such arts. All the others may be mastered and results obtained, whether good, bad, or indifferent; but Âtma-Vidyâ sets small value on them. It includes them all, and may even use them occasionally, but it does so after purifying them of their dross, for beneficent purposes, and taking care to deprive them of every element of selfish motive. Let us explain: Any man or woman can set himself or herself to study one or all of the above specified "Occult Arts" without any great previous preparation, and even without adopting any too restraining mode of life. One could even dispense with any lofty standard of morality. In the last case, of course, ten to one the student would blossom into a very decent kind of sorcerer, and tumble down headlong into black magic. But what can this matter? The Voodoos and the Dugpas eat, drink and are merry over hecatombs of victims of their infernal arts. And so do the amiable gentlemen vivisectionists and the diploma-ed "Hypnotizers" of the Faculties of Medicine; the only difference between the two classes being that the Voodoos and the Dugpas are conscious, and the Charcot-Richet crew unconscious Sorcerers. Thus, since both have to reap the fruits of their labors and achievements in the black art, the Western practitioners should not have the punishment and reputation without the profits and enjoyments they may get therefrom. For we say it again, hypnotism and vivisection as practised in such schools, are Sorcery pure and simple, minus a knowledge that the Voodoos and Dugpas enjoy, and which no Charcot-Richet can procure for himself in fifty years of hard study and experimental observation. Let then those who will dabble in magic, whether they understand its nature or not, but who find the rules imposed upon students too hard, and who, therefore, lay Âtma-Vidyâ or Occultism aside—go without it. Let them become magicians by all means, even though they do become Voodoos and Dugpas for the next ten incarnations.
But the interest of our readers will probably center on those who are invincibly attracted towards the "Occult," yet who neither realize the true nature of what they aspire towards, nor have they become passion-proof, far less truly unselfish.
How about these unfortunates, we shall be asked, who are thus rent in twain by conflicting forces? For it has been said too often to need repetition, and the fact itself is patent to any observer, that when 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. He is driven out into the wild and desolate spaces of life by an ever-gnawing unrest he cannot quell. His heart is too full of passion and selfish desire to permit him to pass the Golden Gate; he cannot find rest or peace in ordinary life. Must he then inevitably fall into sorcery and black magic, and