Life of Paracelsus
Franz Hartmann MD

Paracelsus (1493-1541)


Modern philosophy is a system of theoretical speculation, based upon reasoning from that which is believed to be true to the unknown, drawing logical deductions from accepted opinions and establishing new theories; but theosophy is the possession of spiritual knowledge obtained by practical experience.

To be a philosopher it is necessary to have acute reasoning powers, and to calculate possibilities and probabilities; to be a true theosophist it is necessary to have the power of spiritual perception and to know the things perceived, irrespective of any possibilities, probabilities, or accepted opinions.

A speculative philosopher occupies an objective standpoint in regard to the thing which he examines; the theosophist finds the character of that thing in himself. There is nothing in the Macrocosm of Nature that is not contained in man, because man and Nature are essentially one, and a man who is conscious of being one with Nature will know everything in Nature if he knows only himself.

A philosopher having no knowledge of his own spirit can only speculate about things which he does not see; a practical theosophist, knowing his own spiritual state, does not need to speculate, because he sees the spirit of things and knows what he sees. Philosophy is the love of wisdom and the speculation thereon; theosophy is nothing more nor less than the clear understanding itself.

[Paracelsus writes:]

"There is a true and a false philosophy. As the froth in new-made wine swims upon the top and hides the true wine below, likewise there is a froth of sophistry and pseudo-philosophy swimming at the top of true philosophy; it looks like knowledge, but it is the outcome of ignorance, gilded and varnished to deceive the vulgar."

"It is like a parasite growing upon the tree of knowledge, drawing the sap out of the true tree and converting it into poison. The intellectual working of the brain alone is not sufficient to give birth to a physician; the true physician is not he who has merely heard of the truth, but he who feels the truth, who sees it before him as clearly as the light of the sun, who hears it as he would hear the noise of the cataract of the Rhine or the whistling of the storm upon the ocean, who smells it and tastes it, it being sweet to him as honey or bitter as gall."

"Nature produces diseases and effects their cures, and where, then, could be found a better teacher than Nature herself ? That alone which we see and feel and perceive constitutes true knowledge, not that of which we are merely informed in books and which is not confirmed by experience."

"The knowledge of Nature as it is — not as we imagine it to be — constitutes true philosophy. He who merely sees the external appearance of things is not a philosopher; the true philosopher sees the reality, not merely the outward appearance. He who knows the sun and the moon has a sun and a moon in him, and he can tell how they look, even if his eyes are shut."

"Thus the true physician sees in himself the whole constitution of the Microcosm of man, with all its parts. He sees the constitution of his patient as if the latter were a clear crystal, in which not even a single hair could escape detection. He sees him as he would the stones and pebbles at the bottom of a clear well."

"This is the philosophy upon which the true art of medicine is based. Not that your physical eyes are able to show you these things, but it is Nature herself who teaches it to you. Nature is the universal mother of all, and if you are in harmony with her — if the mirror of your mind has not been made blind by the cobwebs of speculations, misconceptions, and erroneous theories — she will hold up before you a mirror in which you will see the truth."

"But he who is not true himself will not see the truth as it is taught by Nature, and it is far easier to study a number of books and to learn by heart a number of scientific theories than to ennoble one's own character to such an extent as to enter into perfect harmony with Nature and to be able to see the truth."

[Hartmann writes:]

If "theosophy" means the clear perception and understanding of truth, there can be no true philosophy, religion, or science without theosophy, the understanding of truth being the only basis upon which all true knowledge rests.

No one can, therefore, be truly called a theosophist who does not possess the knowledge of his own divine self, which enables his person to know all things as only God knows them. This power is in possession of no mortal man, but belongs to the god in man. Only when man has found the god in him can he partake of divine wisdom.

Man is a mixed being; he is a centre or focus in which the three kingdoms — i.e., the three forms of manifestation of the primordial Will, the world of darkness or fire, the world of spiritual light, and that of external nature— are active, and in which the powers of either of these three kingdoms may become conscious and manifest. If he is a temple of the holy spirit, God will reveal His wisdom in him; if he is a dwelling of evil will, the devil will become personified in him; if the world of mind, intellect, emotion, &c. — i.e., the "heaven" of the external world — is reflected within his soul, and his mind becomes absorbed by it, he will be a child of the world.

It is most true and certain that if there were no natural world, Nature could not become manifested in man, and it is equally true that if there were no God and no devil — i.e., no supreme power for good and no power for evil in the universe — neither a god nor a devil could become revealed or personified in a man. Evil exists for the purpose of being conquered by good. Only in this way can knowledge be obtained.

There is no seed having the power to create itself the sunlight which it requires to enable it to grow, and in the same sense there is no man having himself the power to create a god by his own will and pleasure; but like acts upon like. The natural (physical or astral) principles in man are acted upon by the corresponding powers in Nature; the growth of plants is due to the power of the sun being active in them, and the spiritual unfoldment of the soul of man is also due to the power (the grace) of the God of the universe descending upon him.

[1. God is the supreme will of the universe, or, as Boehme calls it, the will of divine wisdom. It is therefore a divine will, and it could not be divine if it were not free and subject to nothing. This does not imply that God is something external to Nature, but that He is superior to it.]

The knowledge of a man in regard to a truth, however learned and intellectual he may be, can be nothing else but a dream to one who does not recognise his own real existence in God. If we believe or accept the doctrine of another man who perceives the truth, it does not follow that we possess that truth as our own; it simply means that we consider his opinion worthy of our belief.

A knowledge of the opinions of others may guide us in our researches as long as we cannot find the truth in ourselves, but such a knowledge is as liable to mislead us as to lead us right; the only key to arrive at the recognition and understanding of the truth is the perception and understanding itself. Opinions change, and creeds and beliefs change accordingly, but the knowledge which we find in our own experience stands as firm as a rock.

There is no such thing as a theoretical theosophy, because divine wisdom is not a matter of theory, but the divine knowledge of self. To know a thing we must see it and feel it and be identified with it ourselves. Things that transcend the physical power of sight can only be known if they are experienced and seen by the soul. Love or hate, reason and conscience, are unknown things to those who do not realise their existence.

The attributes of the spirit are not only beyond the power of sensual perception, but they are beyond the power of intellectual comprehension; they can only be known to the spirit itself, and they are called occult because they cannot be understood without the possession of the light of the spirit. This spiritual light is an attribute of the spirit and beyond the reach of the merely intellectual but unspiritual mind.

"Man has two kinds of reason, angelic and animal reason. The former is eternal and of God, and remains with God; the latter is also, but indirectly, originating from God, and not eternal; for the body dies and its animal reason with it. No animal product can be victorious over death. Death kills that which is animal, but not that which is eternal. A man who is not a man as far as wisdom in him is concerned, is not a man but an animal in human shape." (De Fundamento Sapientiae)

To be able to understand good, it is necessary that man should experience evil, for without the knowledge of darkness the true nature of light could not be known; but no amount of evil experience will enable a man to know that which is good and divine if he is not in possession of the true understanding, which endows him with the power to profit by his experience, and which is not of his own making, but given to him as a gift by wisdom itself.

"The wise rules the stars in him, but animal man is ruled by his stars, which force him to do as he is directed by his animal nature. He who has escaped the gallows once will repeat his crimes; for he thinks that, having escaped his punishment once, he will escape it again. Such a person is blown about like a reed, and cannot resist the forces which are acting upon him, and the reason of this is, that he has no real self-knowledge, and does not know that there is in him a power superior to that of the stars (the lower mind). Wisdom in man is nobody's servant and has not lost its own freedom, and through wisdom man attains power over the stars." (De Fundamento Sapientiae)

[2. Everybody knows that the thinking faculty is not our own self, but that there is something in us which has the power to think or to let thinking alone. This something is higher than the intellectual realm, and therefore higher than all of its "stars."]

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Intellectual reasoning may arrive at the door of the spiritual temple, but man cannot enter without perceiving that the temple exists and that he has the power to enter. This knowledge is called faith; but faith does not come to those who do not desire it, and a desire for divine wisdom is not created by man.

Man's desires depend on the presence of an exciting cause, and that which attracts him strongest is the thing for which he has the greatest desire. It is not within the power of the animal or intellectual nature of man to desire or to love that which he does not know. He may have a curiosity to see the unknown God, but he can truly love only that which he feels, and of which he knows that it exists. He must realise the presence of the highest in his own heart before he can know it.

The spiritual temple is locked with many keys, and those who are vain enough to believe that they can invade it by their own power, and without being shown the way by the light of wisdom, will storm against it in vain. Wisdom is not created by man; it must come to him, and cannot be purchased for money nor coaxed with promises, but it comes to those whose minds are pure and whose hearts are open to receive it.

It is said that those who wish to become wise must be like children, but there are few amongst the learned who would be willing to undertake such a feat. There are few who would be able to realise the fact, even if they were willing to do so, that they themselves are without life, without knowledge, and without power, and that all life and consciousness, knowledge and power, come from the universal fountain of all, of which they are merely imperfect instruments for its manifestation.

There are few amongst the learned capable of giving up their pet theories, their accepted opinions, their dogmatic reasoning and speculations about possibilities and probabilities, and sinking their own personal will entirely into the wisdom of God. Humanity resembles a field of wheat, in which each individual represents a plant, attempting to grow higher than the others and to bear more abundant fruit; but there are few who desire to be nothing themselves, so that God may take full possession of them and be all in and through them.

"The great majority of the 'investigators of theosophy' do not love wisdom, they only desire it; they desire to possess it for the purpose of adorning themselves with it; but wisdom is no man's servant — it comes only to those who, abandoning self, sacrifice themselves in the spirit of wisdom. Those who seek the truth for their own benefit and gratification will never find it, but the truth finds those in whom the delirium of 'self' disappears, and it becomes manifested in them."

The object of existence is to become perfectly happy, and the shortest way to become so is to be perfect and happy now, and not wait for a possibility to become so in a future state of existence. All may be happy, but only the highest happiness is enduring, and permanent happiness can be obtained only by attaining permanent good. The highest a man can feel and think is his highest ideal, and the higher we rise in the scale of existence and the more our knowledge expands, the higher will be our ideal.

As long as we cling to our highest ideal we will be happy, in spite of the sufferings and vicissitudes of life. The highest ideal confers the highest and most enduring happiness, and the whole of Theosophy consists in the recognition and realisation of the highest ideal within one's self. This is to be accomplished only by the overcoming of the illusion of separate existence and the awakening of the soul to the essential unity of all things. It is a state of divine wisdom which can be attained in no other way than by the light of that wisdom becoming manifested in man.[3]

[3. God is the greatest power in the universe, because He is the source and sum of all powers in their highest mode of manifestation. God is therefore absolute consciousness, absolute love, and absolute wisdom. If we wish to accomplish anything great, the first requirement is the presence of God, because He is man's understanding and power, and resides in man. But God cannot be approached by an intellect that is without love. God is love, and is only attracted by love. We cannot know the principle of love unless we love it with our heart, and the more we desire it, the more will we be able to comprehend with the heart what this principle is. The love of God is therefore a power transcending the lower nature of man; it cannot develop itself out of the animal elements of man, but it is a gift from the universal fountain of love, in the same sense as sunshine cannot grow out of the earth, but comes from above. Gods lives in the hearts of men, and if we desire to love Him, we must love all that is good in humanity. The love of humanity is the beginning of the knowledge of God. The intellect is the greatest possession of mortal man, and an intellect that rises to the source of all knowledge by the power of love may know God and all the mysteries of Nature, and become godlike itself; but an intellect without love leads into error, grovels in darkness, and goes to perdition. An intellect combined with love for the supreme good leads to wisdom; an intellect without love leads to the powers of evil.]

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Spiritual Regeneration

As long as any one fancies his highest ideal to exist only outside of him, somewhere above the clouds or in the history of the past, he will go outside of himself to seek for it in dreamland or in the pages or history. This is not theosophy, but merely dreaming; for not that wisdom which exists outside of man but that which has taken root in him renders him wise. A child is not born from outside of its mother's womb, but from within, and the spiritual regeneration of the soul must be accomplished by that power which is existing within the soul itself.

The spiritual regeneration of man requires the opening of his inner senses, and this, again, involves the development of the internal organs of the spiritual body, while the latter is intimately connected with the physical form. Thus this regeneration is not an entirely spiritual process, but productive also of great changes in the physical body. He who rejects, neglects, or despises his physical body, as long as he has not outgrown the necessity of having such a corporeal form, may be compared to the yolk in an egg wanting to be free from the white of the egg and the shell, without having grown into a bird.

"Philosophy" means love of wisdom, but not those who love wisdom for their own aggrandisement are its true lovers. Such people love only themselves, and desire wisdom as a means for parading with it; they desire to know the secrets of Nature and the mysteries of God, for the gratification of their scientific curiosity.

"Theosophy" means the wisdom of God; in other words, the self-knowledge of God in man. It is not "man," but the god in man who knows his own divine self, and it therefore does not rest with the will and pleasure of man to become a theosophist, but this depends on the awakening of the divine spirit in him.

Philosophy argues and deducts, speculates, makes additions and multiplications, and by logical reasonings seeks to prove that for such or such reasons this or that cannot be otherwise than so or so; but divine wisdom requires no arguments, no logic or reasoning, because it is already the self-knowledge of the One from whom all other things are deriving their origin. It is the highest and most exalted kind of rationality, for there can be nothing more rational than to know the divine fountain of All, by entering into its own understanding.

"All numbers are multiples of one, all sciences converge to a common point, all wisdom comes out of one centre, and the number of wisdom is one. The light of wisdom radiates into the world, and manifests itself in various ways according to the substance in which it manifests itself. Therefore man can exhibit reason in a threefold manner: as instinct, as animal reason, and spiritual intelligence."

"The knowledge which our soul derives from the physical and animal elements is temporal; that which it derives from the spirit is eternal. God is the Father of wisdom, and all wisdom is derived from Him. We may grow into knowledge, but we cannot grow or manufacture knowledge ourselves, because in ourselves is nothing but what has been deposited there by God."

"Those who believe that they can learn anything real and true without the assistance of God, who is Himself the truth and the reality, will fall into idolatry, superstition, and error. But those who love the luminous centre will be attracted to it, and their knowledge comes from God."

"God is the Father of wisdom, and man is the son. If we wish for knowledge we must apply for it to the Father and not to the son. And if the son desires to teach wisdom, he must teach that wisdom which he derived from the Father."

"The knowledge which our clergymen possess is not obtained by them from the Father, but they learn it from each other. They are not certain of the truth of what they teach, and therefore they use argumentation, circumvention, and prevarication; they fall into error and vanity, and mistake their own opinions for the wisdom of God."

"Hypocrisy is not holiness; conceit is not power; slyness is not wisdom. The art of deceiving and disputing, sophisticating, perverting, and misrepresenting truths, may be learned in schools; but the power to recognise and to follow the truth cannot be conferred by academical degrees; it comes only from God. He who desires to know the truth must be able to see it, and not be satisfied with descriptions of it received from others, but be true himself."

"The highest power of the intellect, if it is not illumined by love, is only a high grade of animal intellect, and will perish in time; but the intellect animated by the love of the Supreme is the intellect of the angels, and will live in eternity." (De Fundamento Sapientiae)

"All things are vehicles of virtues, everything in Nature is a house wherein dwell certain powers and virtues such as God has infused throughout Nature and which inhabit all things in the same sense as the soul is in man; but the soul is a creature originating of God and returns again to God. Natural (terrestrial) man is a son of Nature, and ought to know Nature, his mother; but the soul, being a son of God, ought to know the Father, the Creator of all." (Vera Influentia Rerum)

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In regard to the true and the false faith Paracelsus says: — "It is not a faith in the existence of a historical Jesus Christ that has the power to save mankind from evil, but a faith in the Supreme Power (God), through which the man Jesus was enabled to act, and through which we also may act when it becomes manifested in us. The former 'faith' is merely a belief and a result of education; the latter is a power belonging to the higher constitution of man."

"Christ does not say that if we believe in His personal power to accomplish wonderful things we will be enabled to throw mountains into the ocean; but He spoke of our own faith, meaning the divine power of God in man, that will act through ourselves as much as it acted through Christ, if we become like Him. This power comes from God and returns to Him; and if one man cures another in the name of Christ, he cures him by the power of God, and by his own faith. That power becomes active in and through him by his faith, and not out of God's gratitude for his professed belief, or the belief of the patient that Christ once existed upon the earth."

"The power of the true faith extends as far as the power of God in the universe. Man can accomplish nothing by his own power, but everything can be accomplished through man by the power of faith. If we did not have faith in our ability to walk, we would not be able to walk. If we accomplish anything whatever, faith accomplishes it in and through us."

"Faith does not come from man, and no man can create faith or make himself faithful without faith; but faith is a power coming from God. Its germ is laid within man, and may be cultivated or neglected by him; it can be used by him for good or for evil, but it only acts effectively when it is strong and pure — not weakened by doubt, and not dispersed by secondary considerations. He who wants to employ it must have only one object in view."

"Diseases are caused and cured by faith, and if men knew the power of faith they would have more faith and less superstition. We have no right to call any disease incurable; we have only the right to say that we cannot cure it. A physician who trusts only in his own science will accomplish little, but he who has faith in the power of God acting through him, and who employs that power intelligently, will accomplish much."

"If any one thinks that he can cure a disease, or accomplish anything else, without the power derived from God, he believes in a superstition; but if he believes that he can perform such a thing because he is conscious of having obtained the power to do so, he will then be able to accomplish it by the power of the true faith. Such a faith is knowledge and power. True faith is spiritual consciousness, but a belief based upon mere opinions and creeds is the product of ignorance, and a superstition." [4]

[4. This is the curse of all dabblers in the divine mysteries, that when they begin to believe that there is something superior to the merely animal man, this belief opens the door for superstition and idolatry; for, having no knowledge of the power of the divine will within their own self, they are devoid of the true faith, which is divine self-confidence. They therefore put their trust, not in the one true God, but in the gods which they have created within their own imagination. They seek in outward things for that which they cannot find within their own empty shells. They neglect their duties as men and revel in dreams wherein there is nothing real. Some put their faith in doctors and priests, others in herbs and roots, still others in magic spells and incantations; but the wise know that the first step on the road to spiritual unfoldment is the fulfilment of one's duties as a man; for no god can grow out of a man unless the man has become truly that which he ought to be. In this fulfilment of one's duty and becoming true to one's nature as man rests the germ of true happiness, and from this germ is evolved the regenerated man in whom heaven exists and who lives through eternity.]

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"The body which we receive from our parents, and which is built up from the nutriments it draws directly and indirectly from the earth, has no spiritual powers, for wisdom and virtue, faith, hope, and charity, do not grow from the earth. These powers are not the products of man's physical organisation, but the attributes of another invisible and glorified body, whose germs are laid within man." [5]

[5. Where should that germ come from, if it had not existed before, and how did it attain its divine qualities?]

"The physical body changes and dies, the glorified body is eternal. This eternal man is the real man, and is not generated by his earthly parents. He does not draw nutriment from the earth, but from the eternal invisible source from which he originated. Nevertheless the two bodies are one, and man may be compared to a tree, drawing his nutriment from the earth, and from the surrounding air. The roots extend into the earth, and seek their nutriment in the dark, but the leaves receive their nutriment from the air."

"The temporal body is the house of the eternal, and we should therefore take care of it, because he who destroys the temporal body destroys the house of the eternal, and although the eternal man is invisible, he exists nevertheless, and will become visible in time, just as a child in its mother's womb is invisible before it is born, but after its birth it may be seen by all but those who are blind; and as everything returns after a while to the source from whence it came, so the body returns to the earth and the spirit to heaven or hell."

"Some children are born from heaven, and others are born from hell, because each human being has his inherent tendencies, and these tendencies belong to his spirit, and indicate the state in which he existed before he was born. Witches and sorcerers are not made at once; they are born with powers for evil.[6] The body is only an instrument; if you seek for man in his dead body, you are seeking for him in vain."

[6. They are born with the tendencies which they acquired in former lives upon the earth, or upon some other planet. The personified devils we meet in the world are the "materialised" forms of devilish powers existing upon the astral plane.]

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"The Philosopher's Stone"

But this physical body, which is believed to be of so little importance by those who love to dream about the mysteries of the spirit, is the most secret and valuable thing. It is the true "stone which the builders rejected," but which must become the corner-stone of the temple. It is the "stone" which is considered worthless by those who seek for a God above the clouds and reject Him when He enters their house. This physical body is not merely an instrument for divine power, but it is also the soil from which that which is immortal in man receives its strength.

A seed requires the power of the sunshine to enable it to take from the earth the elements necessary for its growth, and in the same sense the spiritual body of man, receiving its nutriment from the spirit, could not unfold and develop if it were not for the presence of the physical body of man, with its elementary and elemental forces; for the physical body is comparable to the wood from which is produced the fire which gives light; there would be no light if there were nothing to burn. "The more there is wood to burn, the greater will be the combustion, and thus it is with the Lapis Philosophorum or Balsamo perpetuo in corpore humano." [7]

[7. The balsam of life (a man without sexual power is unfit for initiation).]

"But it is not proper to say a great deal about the Lapis Philosophorum or to boast about its possession; the ancients have sufficiently indicated the way for its preparation to those who are not devoid of the true understanding; but they have spoken in parables, so that unworthy persons may not know the secret and misuse it. Look at a man; he is not a perfect being, but only a half a man as long as he has not been made into one with the woman.>[8] After having become one with the woman (in him), then will he be not a half, but a whole." (De Lapid. Philosoph.)

[8. Man and woman are both one in the Lord. The "man" is the spirit and "woman" the soul.]

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The Church

The rock upon which the true (spiritual) church is founded is not to be found in Rome nor in Protestantism, nor in the realm of fancy, but in the power of faith. "It is the Word of Wisdom from which you should learn, and in that Word you will find neither statuary nor paintings, but only the universal spirit. If faith is preached to you, it is done for the purpose of implanting it into your heart, where it may take root and grow and become manifest to you; but if your faith is not in your heart, but in forms and ceremonies, and if you cling to these forms you may know that your heart is evil; because, although the forms and the ceremonies cause you to weep and to sigh, this sighing and weeping is worthless, because your sentiment comes from those images, and to those images will it return.

All things return finally to the place from whence they took their origin, and as these things are perishable, the sentiments which they excite will perish with them. God only desires the heart and not the ceremonies. If you do not require the ceremonies, they will be useless in matters of faith as well as in the art of magic."

It is foolish to refuse to be guided by the church as long as one is not able to find one's own way; but to be thus guided is not the object of existence; we should strive to learn how to govern ourselves, instead of being continually dependent upon the help of another.

"I do not say that images should not be made, and that the suffering of Christ should not be represented in pictures. Such things are good to move the mind of man to the practice of piety, virtue, and veneration, and to those who are unable to read they are very useful and better than many a sermon. I am not speaking against the use of a thing, but against its misuses. Such things are useful if we know their true meaning and understand their effects." (De Imaginibus, iii.) [9]

[9. Thus it would also be better for our modern would-be theosophists if, instead of running after external "Mahatmas" and seeking salvation from them, each one were to strive after knowing the real Mahatma existing within his own soul.]

"The saints are in heaven, and not in the wood out of which an image is carved. Each man is himself nearest to his own god. I contradict your old fathers because they wrote for the body and not for the soul; they wrote poetry, but not theosophy; they spoke flatteries instead of telling the truth. They were teachers of fashions and usages, not teachers of eternal life."

"The mere imitation of the personal usages of the saints leads to nothing but damnation. The wearing of a black coat, or the possession of a piece of paper signed by some human authority, does not make a man a divine."

"Those are divine who act wisely, because wisdom is God. A clergyman should be a spiritual guide for others; but how can a man be a spiritual guide if he merely talks about spiritual things and knows himself nothing about them? It may be said that the personal behaviour of a clergyman does not affect the truth of what he teaches; but a clergyman who does not act rightly does not possess the truth, and therefore cannot teach it. He can only, parrot-like, repeat words and sentences, and their meaning will be incomprehensible to his hearers, because he knows nothing about that meaning himself."

"Belief in opinions is no faith. He who foolishly believes is foolish. A fool who believes unreasonable things is dead in faith, because he has no real knowledge, and without knowledge there can be no faith. He who wants to obtain true faith must know, because faith grows out of spiritual knowledge. The faith that comes from that knowledge is rooted in the heart. He who ignorantly believes has no knowledge, and possesses no faith and no power." [10]

[10. There is a false faith that comes from ignorance (Tamas) and a false faith that originates from selfish desire (Rajas); but the true faith springs from wisdom (Sattwa), and is itself the way for its attainment.]

"God does not desire that we should remain in darkness and ignorance; on the contrary, our knowledge should be of God. We should be the recipients of divine wisdom. God does not rejoice to see fools, blockheads, and simpletons, who are ready to believe anything, no matter how absurd it may be; neither does He desire that only one wise and learned man should be in each country, and that the other people should follow him blindly, as the sheep follow a ram; but we should all have our knowledge in God, and take it out of the universal fountain of wisdom."

"We should know who and what God is, but we can learn to know God only by becoming wise, and we become wise when the wisdom of God becomes manifested in us. The works of God will become manifest to us through wisdom, and God will be most pleased if we become His image. To become like God we must become attracted to God, who is the universal fountain of all, and the power that attracts us is divine love. The love of God will be kindled in our hearts by an ardent love for humanity, and a love for humanity will be caused by a love of God. Thus the God of the Macrocosm and the God of the Microcosm act upon each other, and both are one, for there is only one God, and one law, and one Nature, through which wisdom becomes manifest." (De Fundamento Sapientiae)

"There is an earthly sun, which is the cause of all heat, and all who are able to see may see the sun, and those who are blind and cannot see him may feel his heat. There is an eternal sun, which is the source of all wisdom, and those whose spiritual senses have awakened to life will see that sun, and be conscious of his existence; but those who have not attained full spiritual consciousness may nevertheless perceive his power by an inner faculty, which is called Intuition."

"Animal reason is active in the animal soul, and angelic wisdom in the spiritual soul. The former sees by the light of Nature, which is produced by a reflection of the rays of the divine light acting in Nature; but the light of the spirit is not a product of Nature, but the supreme cause of all which in Nature becomes manifest. Nature does not produce a sage; she merely furnishes a natural vehicle for a sage."

"Nature is not perfect, but produces cripples and diseases, abnormalities and monstrosities, the blind and the lame; but that which comes from God is perfect. It is a germ which is planted in the soul of man, and man is the gardener and cultivator, whose business it is to surround it with the elements necessary for its growth, so that when the earthly tabernacle is broken, the spirit, attracted by His love, His eternal home, may return to it, having grown in knowledge, being clothed in purity and illumined by divine wisdom."

"The wisdom of God is not made up of pieces, but is only one. While we are on this earth we ought to keep our mirror in God, so as to be in every respect as a child is like its father. Thus we ought to be made out of the whole cloth, and not be patched up. The wise man in God has his wisdom in God, and he will teach in a way that nobody can contradict or resist him, and his teaching will harm no one, but bring joy and gladness and glory to all who will receive it." (De Fundamento Sapientiae)

Spirit passes into the body, and out of it, like a breath of air passing through the strings of an Aeolian harp. If we succeed in binding it there, we will create a source of undying harmony and create an immortal being. But to bind spirit we must be able to bind thought. Man is a materialised thought; he is what he wills. To change his nature from the mortal to the immortal state he must change his material mode of thinking, and even rise above the sphere of thought.

He must cease to hold fast in his thoughts to that which is illusory and perishing, and hold on to that which is eternal. The visible universe is a thought of the eternal mind thrown into objectivity by its will, and crystallised into matter by its power. Look at the everlasting stars; look at the indestructible mountain-peaks. They are the thoughts of the universal mind, and they will remain as long as the thoughts of that mind do not change.

If we could hold on to a thought we would be able to create. But who but the enlightened, who live above the region of mentality in the kingdom of spirit, can hold on to a thought? Are not the illusions of the senses continually destroying that which we attempt to create? Men do not think what they choose, but that which comes into their mind. If they could control the action of their mind by rising above it, they would be able to control their own nature and the nature by which their forms are surrounded.

But mortal man has no power to control the powers of Nature in him, unless that power becomes manifested in him. "We mortals are not from heaven, but from the earth; we did not drop down from heaven, but grew from the earth. Terrestrial powers are moving in us; but if we are reborn in the spirit, then will we move in celestial power. What is this aid, these powers of which I am writing, but celestial powers? Who gives and distributes them but God alone?" (Morb. Invisib., v.).

He who trusts in his own power will fail, and become a victim of his own vanity; he who expects salvation from others will be disappointed. There is no god, no saint, and no power in which we can put any confidence, faith, or trust for the purpose of our salvation, except the power of divine wisdom acting within ourselves. Only when man realises the presence of God within himself will he begin his infinite life, and step from the realm of evanescent illusions into that of permanent truth.

The realisation of eternal truth is caused by the "Holy Ghost," this being the light of self-knowledge, the spirit of truth. No man can create within himself that light, nor drag the spirit of truth down to his level, nor push himself by his own will into that light; he can only wait in peace until that spirit descends and becomes manifest in his soul. Thus the acquisition of wisdom consists in passively receiving the light from above, and in actively resisting the influences from below which hinder its manifestation.

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"Theosophy" is the wisdom of God in man, and therefore cannot be appropriated by any person. It cannot become manifested in man as long as there exists in him the delusion of "self," because that "self" is a limited thing, which cannot grasp the infinite indivisible reality. For this reason "love" — that is to say, the abandonment of "self" — is the beginning of wisdom. This doctrine, however, is generally misunderstood.

It does not teach that I should merely desire nothing for myself; but it teaches that there should be no conception of "I" in my mind that loves or desires anything. Only when that illusion of "self" has disappeared from my heart and mind, and my consciousness arisen to that state in which there will be no "I," then will not I be the doer of works, but the spirit of wisdom will perform its wonders through my instrumentality. (Philosophia Occulta)

In this also exists the difference between divine love and "altruism." Altruistically inclined persons are usually not selfish, but possessed by the idea of "self." Not from God, but from their own illusion of selfhood, are their works emanating. They are themselves the doers of their works, and are proud of their own goodness and wisdom; but their good works, being the product of an illusion, are illusive, and therefore impermanent. The altruistic humanitarian sees in other human beings his brothers and sisters; but God, dwelling in the soul of the wise, sees in every vehicle of life and in every creature His own divine self.

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