A Collection of Esoteric Writings of T. Subba Row/Esoteric Spiritualism



By William Yeates,

Fellow of "the British Theosophical Society".

[In giving room to the following clever paper, it is but just that its several points should be answered by Mr. T. Subba Row, against whom it is directed, now and here, and without having to postpone the reply for another month. Most of the foot-notes, therefore, are his.—Ed.]

The October number of the Theosophist for 1882 contains strictures on Mr. William Oxley's article (in the September number) by a respected Eastern Brother, Mr. T. Subba Row. In the latter, quoting from the former's words to the effect "that there cannot be any difficulty or objection 'to accepting as a possibility, that the actual author of the Mahabharata should put in, not an objective but a subjective appearance in London, or elsewhere, if he chose so to do". Mr. Subba Row remarks:—"Quite true; but he will never choose to do so."

After making the admission of the possibility is there not an inconsistency in adding the latter clause, coming as it does from a defender of the true faith in Orthodox Brahmanism?*[1] It sounds like a claim on Mr. Row's part to a perfect knowledge of the motives which actuate the exalted one. On what grounds does Mr. Row claim his right to the knowledge as to what the real author of the Mahabharata "chooses to do"?†[2]

From the Bhagavatgita, I learn that the one who (in a certain state) is described as the "Lord of all created beings," used this language, "Having command over my nature, I am made manifest by my own power: and as often as there is a decline ot virtue, and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world, I make myself manifest: and thus I appear from age to age". Through thus taking command over his own nature, and all men, I hold that for all practical purposes, he does choose "a chela in human form:" i. e., one who takes on the clothing of The Sun, by means of the divine ray in which he makes Himself evident: and more, that there are chelas in human form, through whom the powers of The Grand Spirits Identity will be unfolded in due order; even as it has been in past ages. What is true in regard to the Great one, is true in regard to spirits of lesser degree; who also can have chelas of a degree corresponding with them.

According to The Theosophist, a Raja Yogee Brother has the power to assume whatever form he pleases, and to communicate with spirits either in, or the body. Why then should it be deemed incredible that one, such as undoubtedly was Vyasa, can take command of his own life and nature in the forms beneath him, and assume the name of "Busiris," in order to make himself manifest through a medium?*[3] Does not the greater include the less?

"If I pass entirely under the dominion of my highest, or seventh principle," I can, while in that state, receive a communication from spirits of that degree, and translate the substances to other; just as a chela in human form would do with a message, or communication received from the Brothers. The modes of manifestation may be diverse, but the same law is operative in both instances; surely, then, Mr. Subba Row must be mistaken in his assertion that "Busiris has no chela in human form". For most certainly, He, who has seconded to such an altitude, has command over his own nature in all those who subsist in the atomic life of his Spiritual Body; for it is only such that he can command, or "control". Likewise the Brothers themselves, they are able to command the unseen atoms who subsist within, or beneath, their own order; but can they so command the interior lives of life atoms which form the Spiritual Body of another of different order, and it may be suprrior to their own? Herein lies the difficulty of any attempt to mould the new order of the modern Spiritualistic movement, according to the genius of the order of Eastern Occultism. Before this can be accomplished, command over the invisible heads of the Spirit Bands must first be obtained.

The inner Voice of the Angel of God speaks through the intuitions to all men and women who belong to this order of life, and who form the body, Church, or system, telling each one in their own order, the way to the Resurrection of the life; (some partake of the life of more than one order) and everyone who perceives a ray of light, should follow it, for it will lead them to the summit of the Mount to which they are called whether it be that of a Planetary or Solar order Adeptship.*[4]

As matter is within matter; spirit within spirit; atom within atom: and as Influx is within Efflux; even so there are orders within orders of Intelligences, both of a Planetary and Solar nature. From these we derive our life, and from them (mediately,) we receive that which form the higher qualities of our life. It matters little how the life quality is divided in its descent or ascent to the atom from whence it came and returns; the line may be extended until the atom becomes invisible to the external man; but invisibility becomes visible in the lives of the whole body of atom who came out from that one which can never be divided into less than one. Even so, it is possible for us to be inducted into a perceptive knowledge of the direct presence of the Angelic parents who gave us birth into the inmost quality of their life, and in which we live, and move, and have our being. By means of such outbirths, we partake of the differentiations of every Father and Mother through whom we came besides that of our own, and these augmented qualities will take eternity to unfold themselves; and in view of such a truth, there can be no place found for annihilation; inasmuch as the annihilation of one atomic quality in the child's life would be the the annihilation of him who gave it birth.†[5] Can a part of God be destroyed?*[6] In the universal life, I maintain, that not one single atom can be lost.†[7]

Creation is infinite, with an endless capacity for growth and development. But if only the law of Efflux were operative there could be no improvement. Like produces Like, and although there might be an endless procession of variations—they would be but a mere repetition of the series of like to like again, and no improvement in the forms evolved from the parent stock.‡[8] But with the Law of Influx in operation, the forms are respective of new and higher qualities, which when evolved produce new and living forms of a higher and more interior order. It is only the recognition of this that can account for the development and manifestation of new forms of life of all kinds. To produce these, it must be evident that the germs of this new order of life were begotten from above within the transformed soul; and in no case is it a repetition firom the "old seed after its kind". Hence it is, that the new order of spiritual life appearing in the West so diverse in its manifestation to that of the East, is scarcely comprehended by the latter, in the light as I have shown it. In the Hebrew Record we read that the young Sampson "as yet, knew not his strength". Neither, as yet, is the spiritual power of the child of the Occident known or comprehended by his elder Brother of the Orient. Will the Brothers of the Orient take to the stripling by recognising him as the "Heir of the Inheritance," and send down a little of the hoarded stores to nature the new-born life in the valley below?

The Theosophist admits that notwithstanding the vantage ground of the possession of ancient stores of occult knowledge the Oriental system has, from time to time, declined: and in spite of repeated revivals at different epochs, every effort to restore it to the traditional pristine glory of the Golden Age has failed.*[9]

Now assuming that one section of the Brothers succeed in resuscitating their order on the old lines, what security can we have that, at best, it would be but a sprouting out from the decaying trunk of the old tree of knowledge: as is proved by the history of the past.

The ancient Hindu, Brahminical, Buddhistic, Egyptain, Hebrew or Arabic, Christian and Mahomedan systems are mere variations from the same stock, and all of which were best at their beginnings. How comes it, that notwithstanding the more immediate presence, influence, and tutelage of the Brothers to the Indian populatious, that these confessedly have become degraded, and have lost their own spirituality and power.*[10]

What other fate can befall us, as a Theosophical Society, if the very roots of our life, as such, draw their vitality from a decaying Tree, whose fruits, leaves, and branches are of "efflux" growth, and that of a descending order; inasmuch as it ignores the inmost "Law of Influx" from the Tree of Life of an inner causation? All outgrowth in that direction must, of necessity, sooner or later exhaust their vitality.

It is the new influx from the Grand Central Sun of all existences, that causes of the soul to rise to higher states and forms of consciousness; and by means of this, the newly evolved states therefrom, form a new series of a system—on an ascending scale which will never retrograde, as have done and do, the grades of a purely Planetary Cycle of incarnations, whose occultations shut out the direct light of Grand Eternal Sun.

The teachings of 'Theosophy' appear to imply that there is latent power possessed of self-sufficient energy, sufficient in itself for the evolvement of a new species, without the intervention of a still higher power.

For instance, can this alleged self-sufficient energy from an object without existing materials? Can it create a thought or an idea of a new form, absolutely independent of that which comes into the mind from the ideal realm of being from whence all germs are derived?*[11]

It it were possible to sever the lines of the subtile—but externally invisible—thread of life which extends from the Parent Tree of life in the midst of the universal Garden to the external circumference of its physical manifestation; and to maintain such severed lives vitality; then, I admit, the Law of Efflux would be an all-sufficient cause for the appearance and perpetuation of those new and higher forms of life which have been evolved and manifested at different epochs.

If any order,—dependent solely on the traditional observances of those who ages ago derived their light at first and second hand from the fountain of all light,—should deny us the privilege of using their stores of ancient experimental knowledge by interposing impractical barriers; yet no order can prevent our access to the Grand Fountain of Light and Love, where we may drink freely of the waters of Life.†[12] Is not this better than being confined to partake of a descending stream of wisdom which silts up its outlets with the stands of ages,—leaving a portion of its strength and power at every stage of its descent, until, at length, it is lost in the desert waste, where so many famish; and who cannot reach the purer water higher up the stream? Nor is it so with those systems which are on the ascending plane and order. By virtue of their being ever subject to the direct energy of the Divine Solar ray, they have power to do that which other systems never could accomplish.

How can a system impart that which it admits it does not possess, viz., the dual states of adeptship? Where there are no feminine adepts in the order, it must ultimately yield to that dual power which is able to polarise and prepare both male and female atoms for the state in which they are fitted to be drawn up into the 'Celestial Marriage'. When intromitted into this state these wedded atoms act and re-act until every quality of their united being rotates and vibrates up and down the seven sides of the ray until becoming all radiant with light and heat in themselves, they are able to project the new born germs of a higher and purer life into the souls of those beneath them, who are drawn into the same state, and who, in their turn, may give out their several degrees of light and heat, and life to all around; and so on ad infinitum.*[13]

By these intermediates the mass of mankind receive the new order of life unconsciously according to their respective deeds, but the dual adepts will receive it consciously by direct influx. In order that new life-forms may be generated, the new life-force of a higher and purer order, must inflow into prepared atoms to receive the same both on this and other earths.

How, except throngh the Divine Solar state of a wedded pair, can this higher and purer life be generated? With this in view, it can be seen that the 'Brothers'—with their celibate conditions of adeptship—cannot possibly beget a higher, or purer, order of life than their own; hence it follows that a system, based on such a principle, cannot perpetuate itself.*[14]

It is at the culmination of a seventh cycle—a symbol of the Celestial Sun-day—that another Ray is shot forth across the universal Earth, and those who are prepared to receive its influence, and give birth, or ultimation, to higher forms of life, upon the respective earths they inhabit, according to its degree of development in the series; for as so ably shown by the writer of "Fragments of Occult Truth," the varied earths of a system, all differ as to states of mental and spiritual development; and yet not one could suffer deprivation of this Cyclic action from the 'Grand Sun,' without all the rest suffering from such loss to any specific member of the Solar family. Here comes in the distinction and difference between the guidance and teaching of the Planetary and Solar Guru. The one is the Forerunner, and prepares the way for the other; and it is the later one who leads his Chelas—both masculine and feminine—beyond the Tree of Knowledge, even to the Tree of Life itself.†[15]

It is the leaves of this Tree—the life-giving power which are to be given for the "healing of the nations," and by this means the long-lost, and neglected ones, which the Occult system woald hopelessly consign to annihilation, are to be gathered up and untilted by the great Economiser; so that there shall be nothing lost; and thus the fragments of the (apparently) long-lost Orb shall be collected and form a shining Sun to enlighten the still denser darkness of the neither realms.

In the above few hints, (for your space would not permit of more) I have shown a use for the elementals, reliquæ, etc., etc., which Occult science does appear to recognise; and did your space permit I should be glad to show the necessity for these in the formation of earths, and sustenance of life-forms thereon, and the position they occupy in the Cosmos; but I content myself with this bare outline.

Modern spiritualism, when viewed as an entirely new and diverse (from all that preceded) order of life,—which, instead of being the best at its beginning, commences at Zero,—is a factor which is overlooked in this respect by the Theosophist in its response to Mr. Terry, of Australia—(who is a personal acquaintance of my own) and is hardly satisfactory to those who accept the higher aspects of a more advanced spiritualism. Occultists say that the only safe and right way in dealing with unseen forces, entities, intelligences, or whatever else, is according to their method: and that to seek for or allow 'Controls' to use the human organism, is wrong, if not positively dangerous to the morals of those who permit it; but to my view, the right or wrong of this depends upon the use we make of it, and we must not be forgetful, that this "Controlling power and influence" sometimes comes with a resistless force and the sensitives are completely helpless to withstand.*[16]

Even the 'invocation' of spiritual beings, if the modern practice of Seance-holding can be so called, which affords conditions for spiritual manifestations—is quite in conformity with the rituals and ceremonials of the ancient Indian system; as, for instance, the Sama Veda says, "Come, Father, along with the spirits of our Fathers."*[17] If this practice was observed, and formed an integral part of religious worship,—and if this was done under the ægis of the Church itself in far back ages; surely with our increase of knowledge, and, we may hope, with improved morals, we may now safely engage in it with safety to both sides, provided the motives are pure and worthy. Are there not any adept "Brothers" of British or European extraction in sufficient sympathy with the efforts of their own countrymen to open up a direct correspondence with those who are striving to attain to a higher order of Life?†[18]

[A full reply is left over for a future article.]

  1. * Our esteemed correspondent and brother is wrong here. We say again—Mr. T. Subba Row is no "defender of the true faith in orthodox Brahmanism," for the present "orthodox Brahmanism" is rather heterodox than orthodox. Our brother Mr. T. Subba Row is a true Vedantic Adwaitee of the esoteric, hence genuine Brahman faith and—an occultist—Ed.
  2. † On the grounds of the genuine and authentic teachings of the true "exalted one" himself as correctly understood, on the grounds of the esoteric teaching of the "real author of the Mahabharata," rightly comprehended by the initiated Brahmins alone.—T. S. R.
  3. * For the simple reason that the alleged teachings and esoteric interpretations of "Busiris" clash entirely with the teachings and interpretations of both Vyasa and the initiates ol the esoteric school. The "Spirit" of Vyasa cannot well contradict, and without giving any reasons for it, the teachings of the latter when alive.—T. S. R.
  4. * I confess to my inability to distinguish between the two kinds of adeptship, called "Solar" and "Planetary" since the terminology is not in vague among Asiatic Occultists, but belongs, most likely, to the new Western "hierosophy."—T. S. R.
  5. † Eastern esoteric philosophy denies the theistic idea that "the whole body of atoms" came out from some "ONE atom," and teaches that there is no difference between the 7th principle of man and that of universal nature. "Hence a child may be annihilated as a personality, whereas his 6th and 7th principles, the one divine monad, remain unaffected by this disintegration of freed atoms of still particled matter known as Soul."—T. S. R.
  6. * "A part of God!" Before we venture to talk of a part, we ought to make sure of the existence of the whole; or at least learn to know something more than we do of the Essence of that "God" people are so freely discussing about. The Adwaita philosophy teaches to believe in one univarsal Principle it calls Parabrabm and to eschew idols. Hence it rejects the idea of a personal God, whether called by the latter name or that of ONE ATOM the Father and Creator of all other atoms.—T. S. R.
  7. † "Atom lost?" No atom is ever lost but atoms combine in transitory groups which are entities, which are atomic congeries. So that if one personality is "annihilated," this is but a breaking up of an atomic group, and the freed atoms are drawn into new combinations—the 6th and the 7th principles being of course excluded—T. S. R.
  8. ‡ "Creation infinite." For "creation" read universe, and then the "endless capacity for growth and development" would fit in better, and there would be no contradiction to comment upon. As here written it reads like a theological paradox. For if the whole creation is "infinite" and there is still in it "an endless capacity for growth and development," then it becomes the antithesis of "creation". And if the writer means that cosmic matter was created and infused with a law of "growth and development," then cosmic matter must have been created out of nothing which is scientifically absurd. "Efflux" and "Influx" sound here like words without meaning. It is Influx that brings into being everything, and it is Efflux that changes conditions and obliterates all temporary forms, to evolve out of them the one Eternal Reality.—T. S. R.
  9. * We beg to be permitted to emphatically deny the statement. Neither the Theosophisti..e., its editor nor any one of the Founders, has ever admitted anything of the sort about the "Oriental System," whatever some of its contributors may have remarked upon the sabject. If it has degenerated among its votaries in India (a fact due entirely to the cunning of its dead letter interpretation by the modern orthodox Brahmin who has lost the key to it) it flourishes as high as ever in the Himalayan retreats, in the ashrum of the initiated Brahmin, and in all the "pristine glory of the Golden Age."—Ed.
  10. * The "tutelage of the Brothers to the Indian populations" is a fancy based on a misconception. Ever since Buddhism with its esoteric interpretations of the Vedas and other sacred books was driven out of the country by the ambition and jealousy of the Brahmins, the truths of esotericism began to fade out of the memory of those populations until there now remains hardly one Brahmin in ten thousand who understands the Shastras at all. Hindus were degraded for the same reason that life and spirit have gone out of Christianity. The increase of wealth-bred sensuality, quenched spiritual aspiration and intuition, plugged the ears that once listened and shut the eyes that once saw the teachers. And at last by gradual deterioration of species, multiplications of war, and increased scarcity of food supply, the prime question became that of a struggle for life to the obliteration of spiritual yearnings.—T. S. R.
  11. * Most assuredly not. Both this neither proves existence of the one Atom, separated from and differentiated by, its unity from all other atoms, nor does it point to the necessity of one. At any rate, even our English Brother's "one atom" or God can hardly create "an object" without existent materials or matter.—T. S. R.
  12. † The "Grand Fountain of Light and Love" is a very poetical metaphor—and no more, when applied to an unproved abstraction. We admit of such a fountain but not outside of, independent from, past, present and future humanity, (the crown of the evolution on our globe) every individual atom of which is a drop of that "Water of Life" the agglomeration of the drops of which forms that "one Fountain."—T. S. R.
  13. * Again an unwarranted assertion whichever way we see it. There are "female" adepts in the Brotherhood, and of a very high order. Therefore, there being such, in fact, the deductions drawn from a mistaken premise fall. And if our opponent had in mind in writing the above sentence, something more abstract and vague than a more physical difference of sexes, then he will allow me perhaps, to tell him that our esoteric philosophy proves that outside of the world of gross matter there is no such difference, the latter itself occurring (even on our earth) as an accident due to gestation and not as a result of such or another male or female germ. Even the Christian Bible, the youngest of the many attempts to religions philosophy, teaches him that in the resurrection the people "neither marry not are given in marriages". So that "Celestial marriage, whatever this may mean in modern Esotericism, appears to be but a figure of speech. Our readers might also be benefited were they explained what it meant by a "Dual Adept."—T. S. R.
  14. * Not necessarily. One critic seems to forget,—or perchance never know—that an adept has means of inbreathing, into his chosen "chela" besides his own "high order of life," to use his own expression, that of one still higher than himself, i. e., of the highest Bhodisatva living or dead, provided the parity of his own life permits to him the performance of the mysterious assimilation. But we can assure onr Brother, that without that "celibate" mode of life, against which he seems to protest so strongly, no adept could ever reach such a degree of power. Souls as well as spirits are sexless, and it is a great mistake to say that no "male monad" (?) can incarnate in a female body or vice versa. Mental and moral characteristics or idiosyncracies as met daily in life contradict the statement. It is owing to previous Karma that we discover so often masculine traits in weak female bodies and feminine tenderness and nervousness in strong men.—T. S. R.
  15. † Does our Brother, who speaks so often of the "Tree of Life," know its real esoteric significance? Let him prove it, by hinting at the grand mystery, and if he does show his knowledge—then verily will our Mahatmas be at his orders!—T. S. R.
  16. * Exactly; and since la this mad inrush of controls the poor sensitive may at any time be knocked off his moral feet down the precipice of spiritual degradation, why tamper with so dangerous a gift? Adepts never encounter a "resistless force," since adeptship means self-control first and then coutrol over all forces of nature external to himself.—T. S. R.
  17. * We invite our brother's attention, in reference to this quotation, to what Manu says (IV. 123, &c.,) of this practice. The Sama Veda dealing with the Spirits of the dead, he says that "even the sound of it (the Sama Veda) is impure."—T. S. R.
  18. † This seems hardly a fair question. Our correspondent first assumes that our adepts are of an inferior order, and neither living nor capable of showing a way to "a higher order of life," and then despairingly asks if there are no adepts to teach him. What talented beings there may be in the "Solar" and "Planetary" orders—we cannot say, our experience having been confined to human adepts. But among these, we should certainly say that on the terms stated there is not one among our Brothers, whether of British or Asiatic extraction, who would volunteer fnr the service.—T. S. R.