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5204Dialog with H P B

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  • dalval14@earthlink.net
    Feb 8, 2002
      Friday, February 08, 2002

      Dear Friends:

      H P B and Mabel Collins were co-editors of the first issues of
      LUCIFER in London (1877). They exchanged thoughts on various
      aspects of theosophical philosophy related to states after death,
      and also to the Astral Body and the "Mayavi Rupa" used by the
      Adepts. As some of these matters arose in the past few weeks, I
      though it would be useful to reproduce these for us.

      Best wishes,


      ========= QUOTE ===============


      by H. P. Blavatsky

      M C. Great confusion exists in the minds of people about the
      various kinds of apparitions, wraiths, ghosts or spirits. Ought
      we not to explain once for all the meaning of these terms? You
      say there are various kinds of "doubles"--what are they?

      H.P.B. Our occult philosophy teaches us that there are three
      kinds of "doubles," to use the word in its widest sense. (I) Man
      has his "double" or shadow, properly so called, around which the
      physical body of the fœtus--the future man--is built. The
      imagination of the mother, or an accident which affects the
      child, will affect also the astral body.

      The astral and the physical both exist before the mind is
      developed into action, and before the Atma awakes. This occurs
      when the child is seven years old, and with it comes the
      responsibility attaching to a conscious sentient being.

      This "double" is born with man, dies with him and can never
      separate itself far from the body during life, and though
      surviving him, it disintegrates, pari passu, with the corpse. It
      is this which is sometimes seen over the graves like a luminous
      figure of the man that was, during certain atmospheric
      conditions. From its physical aspect it is, during life, man's
      vital double, and after death, only the gases given off from the
      decaying body.

      But, as regards its origin and essence, it is something more.
      This "double" is what we have agreed to call linga sarira, but
      which I would propose to call, for greater convenience, "Protean"
      or "Plastic Body."

      M. C. Why Protean or Plastic?

      H.P.B. Protean, because it can assume all forms; e.g. the
      "shepherd magicians" whom popular rumor accuses, perhaps not
      without some reason, of being "were-wolves," and "mediums in
      cabinets," whose own "Plastic Bodies" play the part of
      materialized grandmothers and "John Kings." Otherwise, why the
      invariable custom of the "gear departed angels" to come out but
      little further than arm's length from the medium, whether
      entranced or not? Mind, I do not at all deny foreign influences
      in this kind of phenomena.

      But I do affirm that foreign interference is rare, and that the
      materialized form is always that of the medium's "Astral" or
      Protean body.

      M. C. But how is this astral body created?

      H.P.B. It is not created; it grows, as I told you, with the man
      and exists in the rudimentary condition even before the child is

      M. C. And what about the second?

      H.P.B. The second is the "Thought" body, or Dream body, rather;
      known among Occultists as the Mayavi-rupa, or "Illusion-body."

      During life this image is the vehicle both of thought and of the
      animal passions and desires, drawing at one and the same time
      from the lowest terrestrial manas (mind) and Kama, the element of

      It is dual in its potentiality, and after death forms what is
      called in the East, Bhoot, or Kama-rupa, but which is better
      known to theosophists as the "Spook."

      M. C. And the third?

      H.P.B. The third is the true Ego, called in the East by a name
      meaning "causal body" but which in the trans-Himalayan schools is
      always called the "Karmic body," which is the same. For Karma or
      action is the cause which produces incessant rebirths or

      It is not the Monad, nor is it Manas proper; but is, in a way,
      indissolubly connected with, and a compound of the Monad and
      Manas in Devachan.

      M. C. Then there are three doubles?

      H.P.B. If you can call the Christian and other Trinities "three
      Gods," then there are three doubles. But in truth there is only
      one under three aspects or phases: the most material portion
      disappearing with the body; the middle one, surviving both as an
      independent, but temporary entity in the land of shadows; the
      third, immortal, throughout the manvantara unless Nirvana puts an
      end to it before.

      M. C. But shall not we be asked what difference there is between
      the Mayavi and Kama rupa, or as you propose to call them the
      "I)ream body" and the "Spook"?

      H.P.B. Most likely, and we shall answer, in addition to what has
      been said, that the "thought power" or aspect of the Mayavi or
      "Illusion body," merges after death entirely into the causal body
      or the conscious, thinking EGO.

      The animal elements, or power of desire of the "Dream body,"
      absorbing after death that which it has collected (through its
      insatiable desire to live) during life; i.e., all the astral
      vitality as well as all the impressions of its material acts and
      thoughts while it lived in possession of the body, forms the
      "Spook" or Kama rupa.

      Our Theosophists know well enough that after death the higher
      Manas unites with the Monad and passes into Devachan, while the
      dregs of the lower manas or animal mind go to form this Spook.
      This has life in it, but hardly any consciousness, except, as it
      were by proxy, when it is drawn into the current of a medium.

      M. C. Is it all that can be said upon the subject?

      H.P.B. For the present this is enough metaphysics, I guess. Let
      us hold to the "Double" in its earthly phase. What would you

      M. C. Every country in the world believes more or less in the
      "double" or doppelganger. The simplest form of this is the
      appearance of a man's phantom, the moment after his death, or at
      the instant of death, to his dearest friend. Is this appearance
      the mayavi rupa?

      H.P.B. It is; because produced by the thought of the dying man.

      M. C. Is it unconscious?

      H.P.B. It is unconscious to the extent that the dying man does
      not generally do it knowingly; nor is he aware that he so
      appears. What happens is this. If he thinks very intently at the
      moment of death of the person he either is very anxious to see,
      or loves best, he may appear to that person.

      The thought becomes objective; the double, or shadow of a man,
      being nothing but the faithful reproduction of him, like a
      reflection in a mirror, that which the man does, even in thought,
      that the double repeats. This is why the phantoms are often seen
      in such cases in the clothes they wear at the particular moment,
      and the image reproduces even the expression on the dying man's
      face. If the double of a man bathing were seen it would seem to
      be immersed in water; so when a man who has been drowned appears
      to his friend, the image will be seen to be dripping with water.

      The cause for the apparition may be also reversed; i.e., the
      dying man may or may not be thinking at all of the particular
      person his image appears to, but it is that person who is
      sensitive. Or perhaps his sympathy or his hatred for the
      individual whose wraith is thus evoked is very intense physically
      or psychically; and in this case the apparition is created by,
      and depends upon, the intensity of the thought. What then happens
      is this. Let us call the dying man A, and him who sees the double
      B. The latter, owing to love, hate, or fear, has the image of A
      so deeply impressed on his psychic memory, that actual magnetic
      attraction and repulsion are established between the two, whether
      one knows of it and feels it, or not. When A dies, the sixth
      sense or psychic spiritual intelligence of the inner man in B
      becomes cognizant of the change in A, and forthwith apprises the
      physical senses of the man, by projecting before his eye the form
      of A, as it is at the instant of the great change. The same when
      the dying man longs to see some one; his thought telegraphs to
      his friend, consciously or unconsciously along the wire of
      sympathy, and becomes objective. This is what the "Spookical"
      [Psychical] Research Society would pompously, but none the less
      muddily, call telepathic impact.

      M. C. This applies to the simplest form of the appearance of the
      double. What about cases in which the double does that which is
      contrary to the feeling and wish of the man?

      H.P.B. This is impossible. The "Double" cannot act, unless the
      keynote of this action was struck in the brain of the man to whom
      the "Double" belongs, be that man just dead, or alive, in good or
      in bad health. If he paused on the thought a second, long enough
      to give it form, before he passed on to other mental pictures,
      this one second is as sufficient for the objectivizations of his
      personality on the astral waves, as for your face to impress
      itself on the sensitized plate of a photographic apparatus.
      Nothing prevents your form, then, being seized upon by the
      surrounding Forces--as a dry leaf fallen from a tree is taken up
      and carried away by the wind--being made to caricature or distort
      your thought.

      M. C. Supposing the double expresses in actual words a thought
      uncongenial to the man, and expresses it--let us say to a friend
      far away, perhaps on another continent? I have known instances of
      this occurring.

      H.P.B. Because it then so happens that the created image is
      taken up and used by a "Shell." Just as in seance-rooms when
      "images" of the dead--which may perhaps be lingering
      unconsciously in the memory or even the auras of those
      present--are seized upon by the Elemental or Elemental Shadows
      and made objective to the audience, and even caused to act at the
      bidding of the strongest of the many different wills in the room.
      In your case, moreover, there must exist a connecting link--a
      telegraph wire--between the two persons, a point of psychic
      sympathy, and on this the thought travels instantly.

      Of course there must be, in every case, some strong reason why
      that particular thought takes that direction; it must be
      connected in some way with the other person. Otherwise such
      apparitions would be of common and daily occurrence.

      M. C. This seems very simple; why then does it only occur with
      exceptional persons?

      H.P.B. Because the plastic power of the imagination is much
      stronger in some persons than in others. The mind is dual in its
      potentiality: it is physical and metaphysical. The higher part of
      the mind is connected with the spiritual soul or Buddhi, the
      lower with the animal soul, the Kama principle.

      There are persons who never think with the higher faculties of
      their mind at all; those who do so are the minority and are thus,
      in a way, beyond, if not above, the average of human kind. These
      will think even upon ordinary matters on that higher plane.

      The idiosyncrasy of the person determines in which "principle" of
      the mind the thinking is done, as also the faculties of a
      preceding life, and sometimes the heredity of the physical. This
      is why it is so very difficult for a materialist--the
      metaphysical portion of whose brain is almost atrophied--to raise
      himself, or for one who is naturally spiritually minded, to
      descend to the level of the matter-of-fact vulgar thought.
      Optimism and pessimism depend on it also in a large measure.

      M. C. But the habit of thinking in the higher mind can be
      developed--else there would be no hope for persons who wish to
      alter their lives and raise themselves? And that this is
      possible must be true, or there would be no hope for the world.

      H.P.B. Certainly it can be developed, but only with great
      difficulty, a firm determination, and through much
      self-sacrifice. But it is comparatively easy for those who are
      born with the gift. Why is it that one person sees poetry in a
      cabbage or a pig with her little ones, while another will
      perceive in the loftiest things only their lowest and most
      material aspect, will laugh at the "music of the spheres," and
      ridicule the most sublime conceptions and philosophies?

      This difference depends simply on the innate power of the mind to
      think on the higher or on the lower plane, with the astral (in
      the sense given to the word by St. Martin), or with the physical
      brain. Great intellectual powers are often no proof of, but are
      impediments to spiritual and right conceptions; witness most of
      the great men of science. We must rather pity than blame them.

      M. C. But how is it that the person who thinks on the higher
      plane produces more perfect and more potential images and
      objective forms by his thought?

      H.P.B. Not necessarily that "person" alone, but all those who
      are generally sensitive. The person who is endowed with this
      faculty of thinking about even the most trifling things from the
      higher plane of thought has, by virtue of that gift which he
      possesses, a plastic power of formation, so to say, in his very

      Whatever such a person may think about, his thought will be so
      far more intense than the thought of an ordinary person, that by
      this very intensity it obtains the power of creation.

      Science has established the fact that thought is an energy. This
      energy in its action disturbs the atoms of the astral atmosphere
      around us. I already told you; the rays of thought have the same
      potentiality for producing forms in the astral atmosphere as the
      sun-rays have with regard to a lens. Every thought so evolved
      with energy from the brain, creates nolens volens a shape.

      M. C. Is that shape absolutely unconscious?

      H.P.B. Perfectly unconscious unless it is the creation of an
      adept, who has a pre-conceived object in giving it consciousness,
      or rather in sending along with it enough of his will and
      intelligence to cause it to appear conscious. This ought to make
      us more cautious about our thoughts.

      But the wide distinction that obtains between the adept in this
      matter and the ordinary man must be borne in mind. The adept may
      at his will use his Mayavi rupa, but the ordinary man does not,
      except in very rare cases. It is called Mayavi rupa because it is
      a form of illusion created for use in the particular instance,
      and it has quite enough of the adept's mind in it to accomplish
      its purpose. The ordinary man merely creates a thought-image,
      whose properties and powers are at the time wholly unknown to

      M. C. Then one may say that the form of an adept appearing at a
      distance from his body, as for instance Ram Lal in Mr. Isaacs, is
      simply an image?

      H.P.B. Exactly. It is a walking thought.

      M. C. In which case an adept can appear in several places almost
      simultaneously .

      H.P.B. He can. Just as Apollonius of Tyana, who was seen in two
      places at once, while his body was at Rome. But it must be
      understood that not all of even the astral adept is present in
      each appearance. [H P B wrote an article titled: APOLLONIUS
      TYANEUS and SIMON MAGUS -- published in Theosophist for June
      1881; BLAVATSKY: Collected Works (TPH) Vol. III, p. 174; U L T
      H P B Articles, III 161 -- in which this is described in

      M. C. Then it is very necessary for a person of any amount of
      imagination and psychic powers to attend to his thoughts?

      H.P.B. Certainly, for each thought has a shape which borrows the
      appearance of the man engaged in the action of which he thought.
      Otherwise how can clairvoyants see in your aura your past and
      present? What they see is a passing panorama of yourself
      represented in successive actions by your thoughts.

      You asked me if we are punished for our thoughts. Not for all,
      for some are still-born; but for others, those which we call
      "silent" but potential thoughts--yes. Take an extreme case, such
      as that of a person who is so wicked as to wish the death of
      another. Unless the evil-wisher is a Dugpa, a high adept in black
      magic, in which case Karma is delayed, such a wish only comes
      back to roost.

      M. C. But supposing the evil-wisher to have a very strong will,
      without being a dugpa, could the death of the other be

      H.P.B. Only if the malicious person has the evil eye, which
      simply means possessing enormous plastic power of imagination
      working involuntarily, and thus turned unconsciously to bad uses.
      For what is the power of the "evil eye"? Simply a great plastic
      power of thought, so great as to produce a current impregnated
      with the potentiality of every kind of misfortune and accident,
      which inoculates, or attaches itself to any person who comes
      within it.

      A jettatore (one with the evil eye) need not be even imaginative,
      or have evil intentions or wishes. He may be simply a person who
      is naturally fond of witnessing or reading about sensational
      scenes, such as murder, executions, accidents, etc., etc. He may
      be not even thinking of any of these at the moment his eye meets
      his future victim. But the currents have been produced and exist
      in his visual ray ready to spring into activity the instant they
      find suitable soil, like a seed fallen by the way and ready to
      sprout at the first opportunity.

      M. C. But how about the thoughts you call "silent"? Do such
      wishes or thoughts come home to roost?

      H.P.B. They do; just as a ball which fails to penetrate an
      object rebounds upon the thrower. This happens even to some
      dugpas or sorcerers who are not strong enough, or do not comply
      with the rules -- for even they have rules they have to abide
      by -- but not with those who are regular, fully developed "black
      magicians," for such have the power to accomplish what they wish.

      M. C. When you speak of rules it makes me want to wind up this
      talk by asking you what everybody wants to know who takes any
      interest in occultism.

      What is a principal or important suggestion for those who have
      these powers and wish to control them rightly--in fact to enter

      H.P.B. The first and most important step in occultism is to
      learn how to adapt your thoughts and ideas to your plastic

      M. C. Why is this so important?

      H.P.B. Because otherwise you are creating things by which you
      may be making bad Karma.

      No one should go into occultism or even touch it before he is
      perfectly acquainted with his own powers, and that he knows how
      to commensurate it with his actions. And this he can do only by
      deeply studying the philosophy of Occultism before entering upon
      the practical training. Otherwise, as sure as fate--HE WILL FALL
      INTO BLACK MAGIC. " --- H P B


      Lucifer. December 1888

      D T B