THEOSOPHY, Vol. 51, No. 9, July, 1963
(Pages 251-254; Size: 12K)
WHAT IS MAGNETISM?(1)
ALL things, says the Kabala, are derived from the one great Principle, and this principle is the unknown and invisible God. Pythagoras taught his disciples that God is the universal mind diffused through all things, and that this mind by the sole virtue of its universal sameness could be communicated from one object to another, and be made to create all things by the sole will-power of man. What is this God but Æther as it was known to the ancient philosophers, with all its mysterious and occult properties, containing in itself the germs of universal creation?
Plato and the Pythagoreans named it the Soul of the World. Æther, in esotericism, is the very quintessence of all possible energy, and it is certainly to this universal agent (composed of many agents) that all the manifestations of energy in the material, psychic and spiritual worlds are due. The ancients called it Chaos; according to the Hindus, the Deity in the shape of Akasha pervades all things. Among other names this universal Proteus was termed by the theurgists "the living fire," the "Spirit of Light," and Magnes. This last appellation indicates its magnetic properties and shows its magical nature. Magnes, a word used by Paracelsus and medieval Theosophists, meant the spirit of light, or Akasha. Who knows where ends the power of the protean giant -- Æther, or whence its mysterious origin; who, we mean, that denies the spirit that works in it and evolves out of it all visible forms?
As "God" creates, so can man create. Long ago the Magi were described by Porphyry as "the learned men who engaged among the Persians in the service of the Deity" -- Akasha-Æther, the Pater Omnipotens. Among the Rosicrucians, Magus was the title of the highest members. Ancient and hereditary priests derived their name from Maha, great, in whose honor the lodestone was called magnet, for the Magi were the first to discover its wonderful properties. Temples of healing dotted the country in all directions, and among these were some temples of Hercules -- hence the stone, when it once became known that the priests used it for their curative and magical purposes, received the name of the Magnesian or the Herculean stone.
A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature only for ignorant people. "Magician" was once the synonym of all that was honorable and reverent, of a possessor of learning and wisdom, a title of renown and distinction. White Magic was beneficent, devoid of selfishness, love of power, ambition or lucre; bent only on doing good to the world in general, and one's neighbor in particular. But one asks, what constitutes magic? What is a magician? Paracelsus teaches that determined will is the beginning of all magical operations, and that it is because men "do not perfectly imagine and believe the result, that the (occult) arts are so uncertain, while they may be perfectly certain."
Is it enough for man to know that he exists, to be formed a human being, to enable him to deserve the appellation of MAN? To become a genuine spiritual entity, which that designation implies, man must first create himself anew, so to speak; i.e., thoroughly eliminate from his mind and spirit, not only the dominating influence of selfishness and other impurity, but also the infection of superstition and prejudice. The latter is far different from what we commonly term antipathy or sympathy. We are at first irresistibly or unwittingly drawn within its dark circle by that peculiar influence, that powerful current of magnetism which emanates from ideas as well as from physical bodies. By this we are surrounded, and finally prevented through moral cowardice -- fear of public opinion -- from stepping out of it. It is rare that men regard a thing in either its true or false light, accepting the conclusion by the free action of their own judgment. The conclusion is more commonly reached by blindly adopting the opinion current at the hour among those with whom they associate.
"Know thyself." Man, the most perfect of organized beings on earth, in whom matter and spirit, i.e., will, are the most developed and powerful, is alone allowed to give a conscious impulse to that principle which emanates from him. Only he can impart to the magnetic fluid opposite and various impulses without limit as to their direction. Man can create. The fire stolen by Prometheus has fallen down in the struggle to earth; it embraces the lower regions of the sky, and settles in the waves of the universal ether -- or astral light -- as potential Akasha. We breathe and imbibe it into our organic system with every mouthful of fresh air. Our organism is full of it from the instant of our birth. But it becomes potential only under the influx of WILL and SPIRIT.
As the Intelligent Idea (God), which, by directing its sole will-power toward a centre of localized forces, called objective forms into being, so can man, the microcosm of the great Macrocosm, do the same in proportion with the development of his will-power. The will creates; for the will in motion is force, and force produces matter. The miracle-workers of all periods, schools, and countries, produced their wonders because they were perfectly familiar with the imponderable -- in their effects -- but otherwise perfectly tangible waves of the astral light. They controlled the currents by guiding them with their will-power. The wonders were both of physical and psychological character; the former embracing effects produced upon material objects; the latter, the mental phenomena of Mesmer and his successors. Mesmerism is the most important branch of magic, and its phenomena are the effects of the universal agent which underlies all magic and has produced at all ages the so-called miracles.
Says William Q. Judge: "The human Will is all powerful, the Imagination a most useful faculty with a dynamic force. The Imagination is the picture-making power of the human mind. When trained it is the Constructor in the human workshop. Will cannot do its work if the Imagination be at all weak or untrained." Imagination is the power to make in the ether an image; it is the sight and the hand of the mind and the will, without this the latter can accomplish nothing. But given a certain intensity of the will, and the shapes created by the mind become subjective. Given a more intense and intelligent concentration of this will, and the form becomes concrete, visible, objective; the man has learned the secret of secrets; he is a Magician. The life-principle is but a blind force obeying a controlling influence. The subjective model outlined in the imagination forces this blind force to obey and follow the original in its least detail, as the hand and brush of the painter follow the image which they copy from his mind. The will forms an invisible but yet, to it, perfectly objective matrix, in which matter is caused to deposit itself and assume a fixed shape.
How is it to be explained? The will acts with immense force, exerting the powers both of attraction and repulsion as desired; these mysterious effects of attraction and repulsion are the unconscious agents of that will. Inorganic matter exercises unconsciously, will; magnetic objects will attract, repel. The germ point of every atom, its preexistent matter, is the first manifestation and emanation of the Deity itself. The inexplicable power of attraction is but an anatomical portion of that essence that scientists and kabalists alike equally recognize as the "principle of life" -- the Akasha. Of course, a clear realization of that which is meant by will in Occult Science, is necessary. In the physical world and its material planes, it is called MOTION; in the worlds of mentality and metaphysics it is known as WILL -- the many-faced magician throughout all nature.
Magnetism, then, is a FORCE in nature and in man, obedient and creative when guided by the will. It is taught that prayer opens the spiritual sight of man, for "prayer is desire, and desire develops WILL; the magnetic emanations proceeding from the body at every effort -- whether physical or mental -- produce self-magnetization and ecstacy -- illumination." The Magus is the spiritually illumined, one who "has deserved the appellation of MAN." True life means the certitude of personal immortality in Spirit, not in Soul, which, as a finite emanation, must certainly disintegrate its particles -- a compound of human sensations, passions, and yearnings for some objective kind of existence -- before the immortal spirit of the Ego is quite freed. And how can man ever reach this state so long as the Upadana, that state of longing for life, more life, does not disappear from the sentient body, from the Ahankara clothed, however, in a sublimated body? It is the "Upadana" or the intense desire which produces Will, and it is will which develops force, and the latter generates matter, or an object having form.
Thus the disembodied Ego, through this sole undying desire in him, unconsciously furnishes the conditions of his successive self-procreations in various forms, which depend on his mental state and the Karma, the good and bad deeds of his preceding existence, commonly called "merit and demerit."
This is why Buddha recommended to his mendicants the cultivation of the four degrees of Dhyana, the noble "Path of the Four Truths," that gradual acquirement of stoical indifference to either life or death; that state of spiritual self-contemplation during which man utterly loses sight of his physical and dual individuality, composed of body and soul; and uniting himself with his third and higher immortal self the real and heavenly man merges, so to say, into the divine Essence, whence his own spirit proceeded like a spark from the common hearth.
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