Celibacy Quotes

H.P. Blavatsky on Celibacy

The effect of sexual morality on the culture and physical strength of a population

Blavatsky's views on celibacy and chastity primarily have to do with the descent of spirit into matter, and the struggle of the spirit to reascend.

Collected from various sources.

H. P. Blavatsky

Blavatsky Links on this page.

'How wise and grand, how far-seeing and morally beneficent are the laws of Manu* on connubial life, when compared with the licence tacitly allowed to man in civilized countries. That those laws have been neglected for the last two millenniums does not prevent us from admiring their forethought. The Brahmin was a grihasta, a family man, till a certain period of his life, when, after begetting a son, he broke with married life and became a chaste Yogi. His connubial life was regulated by his Brahmin astrologer in accordance with his nature. Therefore, in such countries as the Punjab, for instance, where the lethal influence of Mussulman, and later on of European, licentiousness, has hardly touched the orthodox Aryan castes, one still finds the finest men -- so far as stature and physical strength go -- on the whole globe; whereas the mighty men of old have found themselves replaced in the Deccan, and especially in Bengal, by men whose generation becomes with every century (and almost with every year) dwarfed and weakened.'

* In Hindu mythology Manu is the progenitor of mankind.

- Secret Doctrine v. II, p. 411 theosociety.org/pasadena/sd/sd2-1-23.htm

Index to Blavatsky online: theosociety.org/pasadena/ts/tup-onl.htm#blavatsky


On the fall of mankind and its mythology:

'Creative powers in man were the gift of divine wisdom, not the result of sin. This is clearly instanced in the paradoxical behaviour of Jehovah, who first curses Adam and Eve (or Humanity) for the supposed committed crime, and then blesses his 'chosen people' by saying 'Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth' (Gen. ix. 1) ... Nor was the curse of KARMA called down upon them for seeking natural union, as all the mindless animal-world does in its proper seasons; but, for abusing the creative power, for desecrating the divine gift, and wasting the life-essence for no purpose except bestial personal gratification.'

- Secret Doctrine v. II, p. 410 theosociety.org/pasadena/ sd/sd2-1-23.htm


Cautionary advice on the topic of marriage and occultism:

".... save in a few exceptional cases of practical Occultism, marriage is the only remedy against immorality."

- Blavatsky, "Key to Theosophy," p. 262 theosociety.org/pasadena/key/key-hp.htm


More on marriage:

ENQ. But why cannot one acquire this knowledge and power when living a married life ?

THKO. My dear sir, I cannot go into physiological questions with you; but I can give you an obvious and, I think, a sufficient answer ... Can a man serve two masters? No! Then it is equally impossible for him to divide his attention between the pursuit of Occultism and a wife. If he tries to, he will assuredly fail in doing either properly; and, let me remind you, practical Occultism is far too serious and dangerous a study for a man to take up, unless he is in the most deadly earnest, and ready to sacrifice all, himself first of all, to gain his end.

- Blavatsky, "Key to Theosophy," p. 263 theosociety.org/pasadena/key/key-hp.htm


'.... the seed of woman or lust, bruised the head of the seed of the fruit of wisdom and knowledge, by turning the holy mystery of procreation into animal gratification; hence the law of Karma 'bruised the heel' of the Atlantean race, by gradually changing physiologically, morally, physically, and mentally, the whole nature of the Fourth Race of mankind,* until, from the healthy King of animal creation of the Third Race, man became in the Fifth, our race, a helpless, scrofulous being, and has now become the wealthiest heir on the globe to constitutional and hereditary diseases, the most consciously and intelligently bestial of all animals!

In Blavatsky's system there are 7 rounds and races, first descending into matter, increasing materiality and coarseness, and then ascending towards increasing spirituality, the absolute. We are now in the 4th round, just past the midpoint, the most material state. Thus, man in very distant ages used to be much more spiritual and less degenerate than now.

- Secret Doctrine v. II, p. 411 theosociety.org/pasadena/sd/sd2-1-23.htm


On the allegory of Prometheus:

'But, with the arts, the fire received has turned into the greatest curse: the animal element, and consciousness of its possession, has changed periodical instinct into chronic animalism and sensuality.* It is this which hangs over humanity like a heavy funereal pall. Thus arises the responsibility of free-will; the Titanic passions which represent humanity in its darkest aspect; 'the restless insatiability of the lower passions and desires, when, with self-asserting insolence, they bid defiance to the restraints of law.'

* The animal world, having simple instinct to guide it, has its seasons of procreation, and the sexes become neutralized during the rest of the year. Therefore, the free animal knows sickness but once in its life -- before it dies.'

- Secret Doctine v. II, p. 412 theosociety.org/pasadena/sd/sd2-1-23.htm


More on the allegory of Prometheus:

'The Promethean myth is a prophecy indeed; ... It points to the last of the mysteries of cyclic transformations, in the series of which mankind, having passed from the ethereal to the solid physical state, from spiritual to physiological procreation, is now carried onward on the opposite arc of the cycle, toward that second phase of its primitive state, when woman knew no man, and human progeny was created, not begotten.

'That state will return to it and to the world at large, when the latter shall discover and really appreciate the truths which underlie this vast problem of sex. It will be like 'the light that never shone on sea or land,' and has to come to men through the Theosophical Society. That light will lead on and up to the true spiritual intuition. Then (as expressed once in a letter to a theosophist), 'the world will have a race of Buddhas and Christs, for the world will have discovered that individuals have it in their own powers to procreate Buddha-like children* -- or demons.' 'When that knowledge comes, all dogmatic religions, and with these the demons, will die out.''

- Secret Doctine v. II, p. 415 theosociety.org/pasadena/sd/sd2-1-23.htm

* A contributor writes: This is accomplished by maintaining celibacy during pregnacy, which creates a pure environment for the developing fetus; cultivating innocence and a pure environment for the growing infant and child; and giving positive direction for his developing abilities. Richard Rose is supportive evidence for this quote: his mother was celibate while pregnant, because his father was sent to the penitentiary for killing a man who called her a 'slut' while she was walking to church. She also held a long vigil on the statehouse steps every day protesting her husband's imprisonment, asking for his release - so her mind was occupied during pregnancy with a spiritual aspiration - that of loyalty, and the will to do something about it.


Comments on prenatal impressions, in a Theosophical article by William Judge:

'... Each child emerges into life the possessor of pictures floating about and clinging to it, derived from the mother: and thus you can go back an enormous distance in time for these pictures, all through the long line of your descent. It is a part of the action of the same law which causes effects upon a child's body through influences acting on the mother during gestation.*

* See Isis Unveiled, chapter 11.

Forms of Elementals, William Judge
theosophy.org/Judge/Articles/forms-of-elementals.htm


From The Mahatma Letters - unnatural living promotes disease and misery:

'[Man's] mission and destiny in the economy of nature is to die his natural death brought by old age; save accident, neither a savage nor a wild (free) animal die of disease. Food, sexual relations, drink, are all natural necessities of life; yet excess in them brings on disease, misery, suffering, mental and physical, and the latter are transmitted as the greatest evils to future generations, the progeny of the culprits. Ambition, the desire of securing happiness and comfort for those we love, by obtaining honours and riches, are praiseworthy natural feelings but when they transform man into an ambitious cruel tyrant, a miser, a selfish egotist they bring untold misery on those around him; on nations as well as on individuals. All this then -- food, wealth, ambition, and a thousand other things we have to leave unmentioned -- becomes the source and cause of evil whether in its abundance or through its absence. Become a glutton, a debauchee, a tyrant, and you become the originator of diseases, of human suffering and misery. Lack all this and you starve, you are despised as a nobody and the majority of the herd, your fellow men, make of you a sufferer your whole life. Therefore it is neither nature nor an imaginary Deity that has to be blamed, but human nature made vile by selfishness. '

- Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, letter 10, p. 57, Theosophical University Press edition. theosociety.org/pasadena/mahatma/ml-10.htm


Severe punishment

'... the laws of the Talapoins of Siam and Birmah;* laws, which prevail unto this very day and which sentence a sahan, or punghi (a learned man; from the Sanscrit pundit), as well as a simple Talapoin, to death by decapitation, for the crime of unchastity.'

- Isis Unveiled II, pp. 320-21 theosociety.org/pasadena/isis/iu2-07b.htm

* Comment: Some strict Buddhist monasteries. She relates this account in more detail elsewhere. The local populace will revolt against the monastery if they are not true to their vows. They want their 'holy men' to be holy.

Samael Aun Weor refers to this phononema in reverse, in The Perfect Matrimony: The practicioners of sex magic were killed by their own sect if they divulged their secrets.


Prescribed lifestyles:

'There are different conditions and orders prescribed in the Shastras. (1) Brahmachari - one who leads simply a life of celibacy, maintaining himself by begging while prosecuting his studies; (2) Grihasthasrama - one who leads a married but a holy life; (3) Vanaprastha - who lives the life of a hermit; (4) Sannyas or Chaturthasrama. This is the highest of the four; in which the members of either of the other three may enter, the necessary conditions for it being the renunciation of all worldly considerations. Following are the four different successive stages of this life: (a) Kutichaka - living in a hut, or in a desolate place and wearing a red-ochre coloured garment, carrying a three-knotted bamboo rod, and wearing the hair in the centre of the crown of the head, having the sacred thread, and devoting oneself to the contemplation of Parabrahma; (b) Bahudaka - one who lives quite apart from his family and the world, maintains himself on alms collected at seven houses, and wears the same kind of reddish garment; (c) Hansa - the same as in the preceding case, except the carrying of only a one-knotted bamboo; (d) Paramahansa - the same as the others; but the ascetic wears the sacred thread, and his hair and beard are quite long. This is the highest of all these orders.'

- Blavatsky Collected Writings, vol. 2, p. 118 theosociety.org/pasadena/theosoph/theos1a.htm


Questions on Yoga-Vidya:

'Q. - Can a married man acquire the Vidya?

'A. - No, not while a Grihastha. You know the invariable rule was that a boy was placed at a tender age under his guru for this training; he stopped with him until he was twenty-five to thirty; then lived as a married man fifteen to twenty years; finally retired to the forest to resume his spiritual studies. The use of liquors, of beef, and certain other meats and certain vegetables, and the relations of marriage prevent spiritual development.'

- Blavatsky Collected Writings, vol. 3, p. 27 katinkahesselink.net/blavatsky/articles/v3/y1881_006.htm


Blavatsky disputes historical accounts which contradict her thesis:

'[The writer speaks of occultists of a higher grade as being a law unto themselves and says that they should not be criticized or imitated by the ignorant and impatient Chela. He instances the case of Sri Samkaracharya who is alleged to have lived with a widow princess; he also mentions Arjuna who is said to have married a widow, and Krishna who had a thousand wives. To this H.P.B. remarks:]

'These examples are 'unsuited' because these are not historical facts, but allegorical fictions that are accepted literally but by the ignorant. No adept - while one at any rate - has ever 'lived with a widow (or no widow) princess'; nor has he married anyone; least of all, no adept had, since the world's evolution, even one, let alone a 'thousand wives.'

- Blavatsky Collected Writings, vol. 4, p. 266 katinkahesselink.net/blavatsky/articles/v4/y1882_110.htm


Blavatsky replies to some critics, who call her views on celibacy "severe"
(the letter can be seen at the reference link):

'... The above letter raises certain important questions. Some enquire how the world is to go on if all were to become occultists, one of the vital conditions of that order being celibacy. Others say that the ancient Rishis married, quoting some of the names mentioned in the Hindu religious books; and argue therefrom that celibacy is not an essential condition for progress in practical occultism. Generally, they put a literal interpretation upon what is beautifully conveyed by means of an allegory and insist upon the dead-letter sense being correct, whenever such a course is profitable in their narrow interests. They find it difficult to control the lower animal desires; and, in order to justify their conduct of persistence in hankering after sensual pleasures, they resort to these books as their authority, interpreting them in a manner most convenient to themselves.

Of course, when any passages, even in their exoteric sense, conflict with the dictates of their 'lower self,' then others are quoted, which esoterically convey the same sense, although exoterically supporting their peculiar views. The question of the marriage of the Rishis is one of such disputed points. The readers of The Theosophist may recall here, with advantage, a passage occurring in the article under the heading of 'Magicon,' where one of the occultists is said to have rejected the hand of a beautiful young lady, on the ground of his having taken the vow of celibacy, although he himself confesses further on to be courting a virgin whose name was 'Sophia.' Now, it is explained there that 'Sophia' is wisdom or the Buddhi - the spiritual soul (our sixth principle). This principle is everywhere represented as a 'female,' because it is passive inasmuch as it is merely the vehicle of the seventh principle. This latter - which is called Atma when spoken of in connection with an individual and Purush when applied in its relation to the Universe - is the active male, for it is the CENTRE OF ENERGY acting through and upon its female vehicle, the sixth principle.'

- Blavatsky Collected Writings, "The Future Occultist", vol. 6, p. 261 katinkahesselink.net/blavatsky/articles/v6/y1884_043.htm


Blavatky responds a writer 'Aleph', saying he has misconceptions, and that married life is not prohibited by the Indian scriptures:

'... India has never condescended to preach the God-misfortune, nor asceticism as understood by 'Aleph'. This is proven by the law of Manu which enjoins marriage to the Grihastha Brahmana, before he becomes an ascetic Brahmana. The greatest misfortune for a Brahmana is not to have a son, and marriage is obligatory barring the exceptional cases when the child is destined to become a Brahmacharin, a Yogi celibate, for occult reasons which cannot be enumerated here. Esotericism has never proscribed sexual or marital functions created by nature herself. Esotericism works in, with, for nature, and condemns but immorality, abuse and excess. Moreover, of all the animals, man is the most animal in his excesses; the beast has its seasons, but man has none.

''Aleph' probably speaks of Christian ascetics, those who plunge themselves into exoteric asceticism, a blessed rosary in their hands and the dogmas of the church in their heads. The Hindu becomes an ascetic only after having sufficiently studied the occult sciences to allow his spiritual nature to control his material nature.

She goes on to say that those who indulge in occult practices without being chaste create incubi and succubi:

'Aleph' surely confuses the ascetics of India with the Spiritualistic mediums of Europe-America. The latter, poor sensitives and neurotics, ignore the esoteric laws, and it is they who end by creating incubi and succubi - as is proven by the discarnate wives of certain mediums in Paris itself.'

- Blavatsky Collected Writings 8, pp. 88-89 katinkahesselink.net/blavatsky/articles/v8/y1887_016.htm


On what Richard Rose calls the 'Process Observer':

"The mental state in which self is known implies, like every other mental act, a perceiving subject and a perceived object. If then the object perceived is self, what is the subject that perceives? or if it is the true self which thinks, what other self can it be that is thought of?* Clearly a true cognition of self implies a self in which the knowing and the known are one--in which subject and object are one; and this Mr. Mansel rightly holds to be the annihilation of both! So that the personality of which each is conscious, and of which the existence is to each a fact beyond all others the most certain, is yet a thing which cannot truly be known at all; the knowledge of it is forbidden by the very nature of thought."

* The Higher Self or Buddhi-Manas, which in the act of self-analysis or highest abstract thinking, partially reveals its presence and holds the subservient brain-consciousness in review.

Blavatsky Collected Writings 8, p. 335fn, Psychology, The Science of the Soul theosophytrust.org/524-psychology-the-science-of-the-soul


Celibacy in the New Testament:

'... if celibacy be 'a transgression of the laws of nature,' as the lecturer says - and so say the Brahmins, for even Gautama Buddha was married and had a son before he became an ascetic - why should Jesus have never married and advised celibacy to his disciples? For it is celibacy at best, which is enjoined to those who are able to receive it in verses 10, 11 and 12, of Matthew xix, the literal term implying still worse ... 'and there are eunuchs, which made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.'

- Blavatsky Collected Writings 9, p. 150 katinkahesselink.net/blavatsky/articles/v9/y1888_026.htm


Incubi and succubi:

'... Sophia [Divine Wisdom] descends as a 'bride to the Adepts, from the higher regions of spirit, the astral Ninons de l'Enclos, from Kamaloka, to hysterical epileptics. The less one has to do with the latter class - the better. Let 'sensitives' talk as poetically as they like, the naked truth is that such unnatural sexual unions, between the living man and the beauteous beings of the Elemental world, arise from the abnormal surexcitation of the nervous system and animal passions, through the unclean imagination of the 'sensitive.' In the Kabalistic world, these 'celestial' brides and bridegrooms have always been called by the harsh names of Succubi and Incubi; and the difference between those creatures and the 'Sympneumatas' shown in Laurence Oliphant's Scientific Religion is only a supposed one, and exists for no one except the author. There are some such unions between mediums and their 'controls' - we have known several such personally - and some involuntarily submitted to, under obsession. The tie is a psycho-physiological one, and can be broken by an exercise of will-power, either by the victim or a friendly mesmeriser. Colonel Olcott cured two such cases - one in America, the other in Ceylon. Amiable hysteriacs and certain religious ecstatics may give free run to their diseased fancy, and construct Sophias, Lillies, and other 'Sympneumatas' out of the opalescent aura of their brains; but all the same they are but unconscious sorcerers: they enjoy lustful animal feelings by working black magic upon themselves. If they admit that these unnatural unions, or rather hysterical hallucinations of such are disease, then they are on a level with insane nymphomaniacs; if they deny it, then, accepting responsibility, they place themselves on a far lower level.'

- Blavatsky Collected Writings 10, pp. 156-57 katinkahesselink.net/blavatsky/articles/v9/y1888_026.htm


Spiritual vs. physical relationships:

'In Egypt, in days of old, the marriage service contained an article that the woman should be the 'lady of the lord,' and real lord over him, the husband pledging himself to be 'obedient to his wife' for the production of alchemical results such as the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone, for the spiritual help of the woman was needed by the male alchemist. But woe to the alchemist who should take this in the dead-letter sense of physical union. Such sacrilege would become black magic and be followed by certain failure. The true alchemist of old took aged women to help him, carefully avoiding the young ones; and if any of them happened to be married they treated their wives for months both before and during operations as sisters.'

- Blavatsky Collected Writings 12, p. 533 katinkahesselink.net/blavatsky/articles/v12/y1890_053.htm


From Thoughts on the Elementals

' It has been said elsewhere, that white magic differed very little from practices of sorcery except in effects and results - good or bad motive being everything. Many of the preliminary rules and conditions to enter societies of adepts, whether of the Right or the Left Path, are also identical in many things. Thus Gabalis says to the author: 'The Sages will never admit you into their society if you do not renounce from this very present a Thing which cannot stand in competition with Wisdom. You must renounce all carnal Commerce with Women.'

'This is sine qua non with practical Occultists - Rosicrucians or Yogis, Europeans or Asiatics. But it is also one with the Dugpas and Jadoos of Bhutan and India, one with the Voodoos and Nagals of New Orleans and Mexico,* with an additional clause to it, however, in the statutes of the latter, and this is to have carnal commerce with male and Female Jinns, Elementals or Demons, call them by whatever names you will.**

* We speak here of the well-known ancient statutes in the Sorcery of the Asiatics as in the Demonology of Europe. The Witch had to renounce her husband, the Wizard his marital rights over his legitimate human wife, as the Dugpa renounces to this day commerce with living women; and, as the New Orleans Voodoo does, when in the exercise of his powers. Every Kabalist knows this.'

** The intercourse said to give magic powers and Supernal Force.

- Blavatsky Collected Writings 12. pp. 191-92
blavatsky.net/index.php/thoughts-on-the-elementals


On the struggle between man's higher and lower natures:

'.....the divine Titan is moved by altruism, but the mortal man by Selfishness and Egoism in every instance.

'The modern Prometheus has now become Epimetheus, 'he who sees only after the event'; because the universal philanthropy of the former has long ago degenerated into selfishness and self-adoration.* Man will rebecome the free Titan of old, but not before cyclic evolution has re-established the broken harmony between the two natures -- the terrestrial and the divine; after which he becomes impermeable to the lower titanic forces, invulnerable in his personality, and immortal in his individuality, which cannot happen before every animal element is eliminated from his nature. When man understands that 'Deus non fecit mortem' (Sap. I., 13)**, but that man has created it himself, he will re-become the Prometheus before his Fall.

* Commentator: The key to spiritual/buddhic powers, direct-mind abilities, is unselfishness, altruism, purity, celibacy.

** "God made not death," from the apocryphal Book of Wisdom. See dictionary.babylon.com/deus_non_fecit_mortem/ (scroll down on page)

Secret Doctrine, Blavatsky, vol. II, p. 422, original edition wisdomworld.org/additional/TheRacesOfMan-Series/TheFuture-6of6.html


As do Jacob Boehme and Paracelsus, Blavatsky says that "purity" is the basis for spiritual dvelopment.

'[Theosophy] placed personal purity on a level which barred out nine-tenths of these claimants from all thought of their presumed inheritance, and showed that such a condition of purity, far transcending any popular ideal of such virtue, was the absolute and all-essential basis of spiritual insight and attainment. '

- Blavatsky Collected Writings 12 12, p. 260, On Pseudo-Theosophy and Pseudo-Adepts (compilation) blavatskyarchives.com/onpseudotheosophy.htm

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