The talks which comprise this book, the inner life were given to students of Lead beater and Annie Besant, his close associate and fellow clairvoyant. Leadbeater assumed that his audience was thoroughly familiar with his enlarged world view. In this new edition it seems of this view, to make the book easily comprehensible.
This expanded world view did not originate with Leadbeater, though he filled in many details previously left blank. His scheme fits into a venerable tradition which has been with mankind since prehistoric times. History shows a kernel of truth appearing through the ages, a sometimes taught openly and dominating a culture, as in ancient Greece, at other times taught in secret to the few who sought. The principles have been styled quite differently and various aspects have been emphasized at different times, but the fundamentals have remained unchanged throughout the fundamental have remained unchanged throughout the centuries. This core of understanding is variously known today as the ancient wisdom, the occult a philosophy, the esoteric tradition theosophy.
Mr. Leadbeater was man of utmost integrity, using his enlarged vision as objectively and carefully as possible. Most of his investigations were corroborated by other clairvoyants who worked with him. However, necessarily some of the cultural coloration and Victorian thought patterns of his day have crept into his interpretations.
I wish that I could help my American readers to realise the conditions under which this book has been produced. The theosophical Society as a whole does not by any means sufficiently understand or appreciate the work done at its Headquarters and although for you in America it is away on the other side of the earth, I should like to help you to see it as it is. Readers of the “messenger” must at least have some general idea of the appearance of the place, and must know something of the life which is lived here-a long life, a strenuous life, and a life lived under very peculiar conditions. Nowhere else in the world at this present moment is there such a center of influence- a center constantly visited by Great Ones, and therefore bathed in their wonderful magnetism. The vibrations here are marvelously stimulating, and all of us who live here are therefore under a constant strain of a very peculiar kind, a strain which bring out whatever is in us. Strong vibrations from other planes are playing all the while upon our various vehicles, and those parts of us which can I any sense respond to them are thereby raised, strengthened and purified. But it must be remembered that there is another side to this. There may well be in each of us some vibrations the character of which is too far removed from the level of these great influences of fall into harmony with them, and where that is the case intensification will still take place, but the result may well be evil rather than good. To live at Adyar is the most glorious of all opportunities for those who are able to take advantage of it, but its effect on those who are constitutionally unable to harmonize with its vibrations may be dangerous rather than helpful. If a student can bear it be may advance rapidly; if he cannot bear it he is better away.
The workers here live mostly in the great central building, within the immediate aura of the shrine room and the president. The students live chiefly half-a-mile away at various other houses, though all within the large estate which now belongs to the society. Each during the day does his own work in his own way, but in the evening we all gather together upon the roof of the central building, in front of the President’s and there, under the marvelous night sky of India, so infinitely more brilliant than anything that we know in what are miscalled temperate climes, we sit and listen to her teaching. All through the summer of last year, so much of which she spent in tour through the United States, it fell to my lot to take charge of the meetings of the students here. In the course of that time I delivered many informal little addresses and answered hundreds of questions. All that I said was taken down in shorthand, and this book is the result of those notes. In a number of cases it happened that what was said on the roof at the meetings was afterwards expanded into a little article for The theosophist or The Adyar Bulletin; in all such cases I reprint the article instead of the stenographic report, as it has had the advantage of certain monetary in its nature; necessarily also it contains a certain amount of repetition; though this latter has been excised wherever possible. Many of the subjects treated also have been dealt with in my earlier book but what is written here represents in all cases the result of the latest discoveries in connection with those subjects. The subjects have been classified as far as possible, and this volume represents the first series, containing five sections. The second volume, containing the nine remaining sections, is now in the printer’s hands. A list of the subjects of which it will treat will be found at the end of this volume.
In today’s climate of interest in the occult, a surge of new attention is being given to clairvoyant investigators like C.W. Leadbeater. Such gifted seers offer an expanded view of man and the universe which takes into account whole areas
Unknowable can provide clues for understanding otherwise inexplicable phenomena of current interest such as par psychological events, prognostication, healing, etc.
As to the authenticity of clairvoyant faculties, Leadbeater himself felt even in his day “there is an overwhelming mass of irrefutable evidence in favor of the existence of this faculty. Twentieth century evidence is still more convincing. Parapsychologists collect and follow-up on spontaneous cases as well as conduct controlled laboratory studies. There are doctors who consult psychics in cases that are hard to diagnose. Even the police sometimes rely on psychics to solve puzzling crimes. But the most convincing evidence comes from the lose correspondence between accounts regarding unseen worlds given by psychics and clairvoyants in both modern and ancient times. It seems they are responding to the supersensory reality, though necessarily with their individual interpretation.
The talks which comprise this book, The INNER LIFE, were given to students of Leader beater and Annie Besant, his close associate and fellow clairvoyant. Leadbeater assumed his audience was thoroughly familiar with his enlarged world view. In this new edition it seems necessary to sketch out some of the main features of this view, in order to make the book more comprehensible.
This expanded world view did not originate with Leadbeater, though he filled in any details previously left blank. His scheme fits into a venerable tradition which has been with mankind since prehistoric times. History shows a kernel of truth appearing through the ages, sometimes taught openly and in secret to the few who sought. The principles have been styled quite differently and various aspects have been emphasized at throughout the centuries. This core of understanding is variously known today as the ancient wisdom, the occult philosophy, the esoteric tradition, theosophy. It is called “Occult” because it deals with that which is hidden, not obvious. It deals with nature’s processes and laws, with that which stands behind and beyond science. It deals with nature’s process and laws, with that which stands behind and beyond processes and laws, with that which stands behind and beyond sciences. It connotes the study of the metaphysical principles that uphold the universe.
Traces of this philosophy can be found in such diverse sources as ancient Greece, plato, Pythagoras, the Kobbalah, Zohar, Christian Gnosticism, Lao-tse, the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Sufism, to mention only a few. The thread of truth running through such teaching was identified by H.P. Blavatsky in her remarkable work on occult philosophy, The secret Doctrine. Lead beater’s investigations were conducted in the context of the ancient world view as developed in her teaching.
This philosophy rests on the premise that there is one changeless, homogeneous, divine substance principle from which the world arises. The visible, physical world emerges by degrees from its non-material divine source. This idea is highly plausible in the setting of modern physics. Einstein’s theory of relativity shows time and space, not as distinct and separate, but as inseparable and interdependent. Nuclear physics-the science of subtonic particles rests on the notion of wholly non-material electrical and magnetic fields. Speaking of quantum fields, or fields that can take the form of quanta or particles, frit of copra says in the The tao of Physics:
Thus non-material fields and matter are seen as one; the material emerges from and disappears into its non-material origins.
But according to the occult philosophy the physical world is only a small part of the entire spectrum of matter. It is the more dense, most concrete of a series of worlds ranging from the extremely tenuous “superphysical’ to the solid physical. This is an idea found in ancient Egyptian mysteries , Hinsuiam, and Buddhuism and it has parallels in the Greek notion of the Elements. Many clairvoyants like leadbeater, who are sensitive to an increased range of stimuli, have given significant corroborative testimony to the existence of these finer worlds.
This notion is not so farfetched at a time when our television sets and radios, for example, give constant testimony to the existence of supersensory waves rushing about us. Instrument have revealed invisible light such as the ultra-violet, inaudible sound beyond the range of the human ear, x-rays, cosmic rays, microwaves, and many more. We know that the space around us is charged with a variety of energies we cannot detect with our senses.
The occult philosophy holds that there levels of supersensory material, structured in a significant, orderly way. According to Leadbeater’s way of presenting this concept, the familiar physical world of solids, liquid and gases extends itself into four rarer states of matter, collectively called the etheric plane or level. This subtle matter interpenetrates physical objects including the bodies of living things in which its role is closely including the bodies of living things in which its role is closely related to vitality and health.
Interpenetrating the physical and etheric worlds is an ever moving, radiant sphere called the astral plane or world.
Today atoms are subdivided in ways undreamt of in Leadbeater’s day. His statement suggests that perhaps the numerous short-lived particles that appear in the cloud chambers of modern physics are emerging from the astral plane.
Man has an aura or energy field at the astral level (called by Leadbeater the astral body) which is the vehicle for emotion and desires. Just as the life-or vital energy is the characteristic of the etheric, so feeling or emotion is the field phenomenon occurring at the astral level. The astral interpenetrates and interacts with the physical body by means of the etheric or vital, so that emotions and body work together closely. The next finer level, that of concrete mind, is also closely linked with the astral level, both in a person’s aura and in the plane of nature characteristic of it, called the lower mental or manasic plane. The whirling centers of energy called chakras exist at all these levels, helping to integrate forces from these planes. The chakras are centers of consciousness as well as foci of energy, and thus are also connected with spiritual awakening.
The upper levels of the mental plane are involved with deeper, abstract, philosophical thought. Leadbeater refers to this as the higher mental or manasic level. Beyond that lies a level called buddhic in many theosophical writings, the realms of intuitive insight, the most tenuous of all, is the source of the very sense of self in man, his spiritual essence in its purest embodiment.
Each of these levels exists as a unique state of rarefied matter throughout all of nature, as well as in individual vehicles in man, organized from the matter of that plane. Leadbeater refers to the matter of the astral and mental planes as “elements essence”. According to his presentation, each of the denser on that plane. These levels of existence are documented in Hindu philosophy and in Buddhism, where man’s vehicles at different levels are referred to as kasas or sheaths. Lama Anagarika Govinda, the contemporary authority on Tibetan Buddhism, stresses the Interpenetration of the different planes.
Each level has its unique characteristic and like the notes in a chort, all are necessary for full expression.
Man’s inner being has three aspects, according to occultism, analogous to Paul’s divisions of spirit, sould and body. Essentially man is a point of consciousness in the divine ground from which all emerges. This One Reality remains forever an undivided unity. Yet it emantes rays creating the immortal, indestructible Atman, as it is termed in Sanskrit. This ray is destined to become involved with denser and denser matter in order to obtain definiteness in the worlds of material expression. Clothed in a film of rarest matter it becomes the monad. Further encased in material from the higher mental realm, it becomes what leadbear call the ego. His use of the world is far different from any modern usage. He means Atma-Buddhi-Manas, the spiritual triad or soul of man, which has a stable locus on the higher mental plane. This is the reincarnating entity which unfolds its powers by generating personalities over and over in the various cultures of man.
According to the occult philosophy, all of the nature-including man-is evolving according to a grand design. The ancient Greeks held the idea of teleology, a purposed end that controls the course of events. Until recently this notion has been out favor, largely due to interpretations of Darwin’s theory of chance variation and survival of the fittest. However, many biologists today are finding this theory inadequate to account for evolution, which they are unable to reconcile with blind chance. Sir alister hardly and L.L. Whyte, among others, suggest that internal in guiding evolution. Goal – directedness and purposivness are obvious throughout the world of life.
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