The Word Foundation

When ma has passed through mahat, ma will still be ma; but ma will be united with mahat, and be a mahat-ma.

—The Zodiac.



Vol. 9 SEPTEMBER, 1909. No. 6

Copyright, 1909, by H. W. PERCIVAL.



MAHATMAS do live apart from ordinary men, not because they dislike or have grown apart from them, but because it is necessary that their habitations are far from the atmosphere of the market place. The dwelling place of a master is also removed from the rush of life and desires in a large city, because his work is not in a maelstrom of desires of physical existence, but with orderly systems of thought. The adept, too, seeks a habitation away from the cauldron of physical life, because his studies must be conducted quietly, but when necessary he enters into and may live an entire life busily engaged with affairs of the world. The adept is particularly concerned with forms and desires and the customs of men and with the changes of these; therefore he must at times be in the world.

Adepts, masters and mahatmas do not choose their physical abodes because of likes or prejudices, but because it is often necessary for them to live and act from certain points on the earth’s surface which are best suited for their work. Before selecting a physical habitation and center from which their work is to be done, they must consider many factors, among them, magnetic centers of the earth, freedom from or prevailing of elemental conditions, the clearness, density or lightness of the atmosphere, the position of the earth in relation to sun and moon, the influence of the moonlight and sunlight.

There are seasons and cycles in which the races of man and his civilizations come and go in each age of the earth. These races and civilizations appear and proceed around the earth’s surface within a zone. The path of the centers of civilization is like that of a serpent.

There are geographical centers on the earth’s surface which have served as the stages on which the drama-comedy-tragedy of life has been enacted again and again. Within the serpentine path of civilization is the zone of human progression, while those not belonging to the age may live on the borders of or away from the zone. Adepts, masters and mahatmas select their habitations, with respect to the progress of man, along this path of civilization. They live at such points on the earth’s surface as will enable them to deal best with those with whom they are concerned. Their dwellings away from men are naturally in caves and forests and on mountains and in deserts.

Caves are chosen, among other reasons, because in their recesses bodies undergoing certain initiations are protected from atmospheric influences and the influences of the moon and sunlight; because of the sympathetic magnetic action of the earth in stimulating and developing the inner senses and the inner body; because of certain races who live in the interior of the earth and who may be met with in the recesses of the earth only; and because of means there available for rapid and safe transportation through the earth which cannot be had over the earth’s surface. Such caves as are chosen are not mere holes in the ground. They are the gateways of avenues leading into grand courts, spacious halls, beautiful temples and vast spaces within the earth, awaiting those ready to enter them.

Forests are chosen by some adepts and masters on account of the activity of vegetable life and animal forms, and because their work may be with the life and types of animals and plants, and because the vegetable and animal forms are dealt with in the instruction of their disciples.

Mountains are the resorts of adepts, masters and mahatmas, not only because of their geographical positions, the seclusion which they afford, and because the air is lighter, purer and better suited to their bodies, but because from mountains certain forces can be best and most easily controlled and directed.

Deserts are sometimes preferred because they are free from demoniacal and inimical elementary presences and influences, and because the dangers attending travel over desert country will keep inquisitive and meddlesome people away, and because the sand or underlying strata afford magnetic and electric conditions necessary to their work, and generally because of climatic advantages. Great deserts are usually free from these elementary presences because great deserts have been ocean beds. Though these ocean beds may have been the scenes of human life before they became such, the atmosphere has been cleared and purified by the submerging of the land. When the waters of the ocean roll over a country they destroy not only the astral bodies of beings who have lived there, but they also disintegrate the elementaries; that is, inimical desire-bodies of human beings who have lived there. The old countries of Europe which have been above water for thousands of years, and have given birth to family after family of the old races, have hovering over the land the presences of many of the old heroes who have lived and fought and died and who persist about the earth in a thought body, nourished and perpetuated by the thought of the people. Pictures of the past are held in the atmosphere of such lands and are sometimes seen by those who put themselves in touch with the life of the past. Such presences often retard progress by holding the pictures of the past over the minds of the people. A desert is clear, and free from such influences.

Positions of importance on the earth, such as those where cities stood or stand, where rivers rolled or now flow, where volcanoes lie dormant or are active, and such places as are selected by adepts, masters and mahatmas as abodes are centers where invisible worlds and cosmic forces contact, enter or pass through or out of the earth. These points are physical centers which offer conditions under which cosmic influences may be more easily contacted.

Temples are built at important centers which are then used by adepts, masters and mahatmas for such purposes as the initiation of the inner bodies of their disciples into sympathetic relation with universal forces and elements, or the instruction of their disciples in the laws by which such forces, elements and bodies are controlled.

Adepts, masters and mahatmas may exist in their physical bodies in such places as outlined. They do not live in disorder and confusion. No master or mahatma would live with a people who persist in wrongdoing and who constantly act against law. No master or mahatma would live in the midst of discord or among impure physical bodies.

A few reasons have been given why adepts, masters and mahatmas select caves, forests, mountains and deserts as temporary or permanent abodes. It must not be supposed that every person who lives in a cave or a forest or on a mountain top or in a desert, is an adept, master or mahatma, though these places are adapted to their work. Those who seek to meet and know an adept, master or mahatma may go to caves, forests, mountains or deserts, and meet many people in each of these places, but will not know an adept, master or mahatma even if they stood before one, unless the seekers had some means of knowing him, aside from his physical appearance or from the location where they find him. One is not an adept because he lives in places removed from the habitations of men. Many strange looking human beings live in many of the places described, but they are not adepts, masters nor mahatmas. Living in a desert or on a mountain will not make a man a mahatma. Half breeds, mongrel types and degenerates of the races of men are found in those out of the way places. Men who are dissatisfied with or have a grudge against the world and their fellowmen have gone and go to lonely places and become hermits. Human beings with fanatical tendencies or religious mania have selected for themselves dismal and dangerous places to work off their fanaticism or give vent to their mania by doing penances through ceremonies or bodily torture. Introspective men have selected a waste country or deep forest as places of study. Yet none of these are adepts, masters or mahatmas. If we find men as natives or as old residents or as travellers, in desert or mountain, in forest or cave, and whether they be beetle-browed and uncouth or be handsome and polished in manner and speech, yet are neither their appearance and manners nor the place where they are found, indications that they are adepts, masters or mahatmas. Passing through a chemical laboratory one meets many students, but unless they are seen at their work and the instructions are heard which they receive he will not be able to distinguish between the students, assistants, professor or strangers, who may be present. In the same way one would hardly be able to distinguish an adept by his physical appearance or manner from others.

How can we know or meet an adept, master or mahatma, and would there be any advantage in such a meeting?

As has been indicated, an adept is a being distinct from his physical body; as an adept he lives and moves consciously, in the astral or psychic world. A master is a distinct being, aside from the physical body in which he lives, and as a master he thinks and acts in the mental world. A mahatma is a being quite different from his physical body, and as a mahatma he exists and knows and has his being in the spiritual world. Either of these beings may have and live in his physical body, but the physical body will give comparatively little evidence of who its inhabitant is.

To know an adept in the same manner as we know a physical body of a man, we must be able to enter the psychic world and there see the adept in his own world. The adept may make himself visible as an astral body and allow his body to be touched. Beings and creatures of the astral world have appeared in human form and subjected themselves to the senses of sight and touch in the physical world and have disappeared and faded away again even while being held by physical men, but those who held them were unable to tell anything except that they saw an appearance, touched it and saw it disappear. When a thing is brought from the invisible astral world into the physical world the man who is limited to his physical senses alone cannot understand the astral appearance except in physical terms, and none of the accompanying phenomena, if there be any, can be understood except in physical terms. Therefore, to know an astral creature or phenomenon or adept, one must be able to enter at will into or to look down upon the astral world. A master may look down upon, from the mental world and know anything in the astral world. An adept in the astral world may and will know another adept in that world; but an ordinary human being cannot really know an adept as an astral being because he has no such corresponding body as has the adept and therefore he cannot prove him. To enter and know the astral world from the physical, one must know in the physical those things and forces of the physical which correspond to the elements, forces or beings in the astral world. A medium enters the astral world, and frequently describes certain appearances, but the medium does not know about such appearances anything more than a child would know of differences and values of landscapes, or the materials used in painting.

The body or form of a master, as such, cannot be known by any of the physical senses, nor can it be known through, though it may be noticed by, the inner astral senses. A master does not deal directly with the forms of the astral world as does the adept. A master deals with thoughts chiefly; when desire is dealt with it is controlled or changed by him into thought. A master raises desire into thought and directs life by thought not merely as a human thinker would. A human thinker deals with life and changes desire into form by his thinking. But the human thinker is as a child in a kindergarten at play with building blocks when compared to a master, who would be as a builder capable of designing and directing the construction of edifices, mines, bridges and ships. The human thinker neither knows the material which he uses nor the essential nature, form or terms of existence of his thoughts. A master knows all this and, as a master, he deals consciously and intelligently with the life forces of the world and with the thoughts and ideals of men.

A mahatma body, as such, cannot be sensed by a physical man any more than a physical man is able to sense the presence of the ether of space; like the ether of space, the body of a mahatma requires finer faculties, of a mental and other than of a physical nature, to perceive it. A mahatma deals with the spiritual nature of man. Training men to think is a master’s work, and instructing them in the transmutation of forms is an adept’s work. A mahatma acts by knowledge in the spiritual world and deals with the minds of men when they are ready to learn of and enter the spiritual world and will live according to and by the laws of the spiritual world, in which all other manifested worlds are included.

It is useless, then, to guess that this or that person is or is not an adept, master or mahatma. It is folly to go on a mahatma hunt. It is foolish to believe that adepts, masters and mahatmas exist because some one in whom the believer has confidence says that this or that person is an adept, master or mahatma. No authority whatever outside of one’s own knowledge is sufficient. If the existence of adepts, masters or mahatmas does not seem reasonable, after one has given the matter consideration and has thought of the problem without prejudice, then he is not to be blamed for not believing in them. No one should believe in their existence until life itself will present to him such facts and conditions as will allow him to say with reason that he feels and sees a necessity for the existence of such intelligences.

To accept adepts, masters or mahatmas on the authority of some one in whom we believe, and to grant as true that an adept, master or mahatma has said this or that, and to act on such suggestions and alleged commands unless they are reasonable, would be a return to the dark ages of ignorance and superstition and would encourage the setting up of a hierarchy by which the reason of man would be suppressed and he be subjected to fear and a condition of infantile life. Not by guessing, nor by wishing, nor by favor, but by an earnest and unselfish desire to know, an aspiration to the divine, by acting according to the knowledge of one’s own better nature and the divine within him, and by a conscientious and unremitting endeavor to control one’s lower by the better desires, and a careful, patient and continued effort to understand and control one’s own thoughts, together with a feeling of the unity of life in all things, and with a sincere desire without hope of reward to gain knowledge, for the love of mankind: by these means one may come in contact with and prove and know, without harm to himself or others, of adepts, masters and mahatmas.

One is able to find an adept, or the adept will find him, when he has developed within himself somewhat of the nature of an adept, which is controlled desire. He is able to meet and prove a master as he is able to think and to live intelligently in the world of thought and when he himself has developed a body capable of living or thinking clearly in the thought or mental world. He will know a mahatma only when he has attained to a knowledge of his own individuality, knows himself to be I-am-I as distinguished from all other things.

Every one has the possibility of knowing adepts, masters and mahatmas; but it is a latent possibility, it is not actual ability. No one will ever be able to know an adept, master or mahatma, or to know the differences and relationships between them until he has at least apprehended these differences and relationships within his own make up. It is possible for a man to know these differences and to distinguish between the natures and beings within and outside himself even though he may not as yet have fully developed bodies equal to such beings.

By the inner senses, latent in most men, a man will find an adept. By his own power of thought and his ability to live in the thought or ideal mental world, a man may perceive and meet and prove a master. This he does by the thought body if he has developed one sufficiently. The thought body which each human being has is the body he uses when he dreams intelligently, in the dream world, while the physical body is asleep, and when his dreams are not caused by disturbance of the physical body. If one can act in his dream body consciously and when he is awake, he will be able to perceive and know and prove a master.

Every human being has a body of knowledge. This knowledge body is his individuality, which is not always evident to him because of the confusion caused in his mind by his senses and desires. By no other means than by his knowledge, apart from his thinking and his sensing, can man know a mahatma. Each man’s knowledge body corresponds to and is in nature similar to the mahatma body.

Each human being senses directly or apprehends vaguely the different principles within himself which correspond to adept, master and mahatma bodies. The astral form body which holds the physical matter in form, linked with the desires which surge through his form body, is that by which a man will be able to tell an adept; but he will be able to tell to that degree only to which he is able to feel and sense his form body and direct the desires in it. If he is unable to feel his own form body, and is unable to direct and control his own desires, he will not be able to tell whether or not a being is an adept, even though the investigator has objects precipitated from the astral world for him, or beings suddenly appear physically and disappear again, or he witnesses other strange phenomena. One will be able to meet or prove a master to be such when he is able to dream consciously and intelligently in his waking moments and while still conscious in his physical body.

One can be able, in his physical body, to know a mahatma as such, and distinct from other orders of intelligences, by his own knowledge body, which is in or through or above the physical. The knowledge body is that which intelligently persists in deep sleep, after the physical body with its desires and the formative body and the life thought body have been left behind. Then he, alone, as a knowledge body, exists in the spiritual world. All bodies and faculties are processes or degrees of becoming and attainment. The mahatma body is the attainment.

The physical body is the gross matter which contacts and acts in the physical world; the body which acts through the physical is the sense body or astral body, which senses the physical world and the elements and forces which act through it. The full and complete development of this sense body is adeptship. The life or thought body is that by which the forces and elements, their combinations through the physical, and their relationships are reasoned about. The thought body is distinctively human. It is the body of learning which is the result of numerous lives, in each of which are overcome forces of form and desire by one’s increasing ability to think and to direct and control desires and forms by thought. The complete development and attainment is the thought body of a master. The knowledge body is that by which things are known. It is not the process of reasoning, which leads to knowledge, it is knowledge itself. That body of knowledge which is perfect and not obliged to go through reasoning processes and reincarnations is or corresponds to a mahatma body.

A man becomes an adept when he is able to move and act consciously in the astral world and deal with things in the astral world as he is capable of acting in his physical body in the physical world. Conscious entrance into the astral world is similar to a birth in the physical world, but the adept newly born into the astral world, though he is not at once fully equipped to deal with all things in the astral world, is yet able to move and live there, whereas the physical body of the human born into the physical world requires long care and growth before it can take care of itself in the physical world.

A man becomes a master when he knows the laws of his own life and has lived according to them and has completely controlled his desires and when he has entered and lives intelligently in the mental world and acts in the mental world in a mental body. The entrance of a man as a master into the mental world is like another birth. The entrance is made when he discovers or is aided in the discovery of himself as a mental body moving free in that mental world in which the mind of a thinking man now fumbles and moves laboriously in the dark.

A master becomes a mahatma when he has completely worked out all his karma, complied with all the laws demanding his presence in the physical, astral and mental worlds, and has done away with all necessity to reincarnate or appear in any of these. Then he enters the spiritual world and becomes immortal; that is to say, he has a body individual and immortal which will persist throughout the manifested and spiritual worlds so long as they shall last.

A man must become an adept, master or mahatma while his physical body is still alive. One does not become either, nor attain immortality, after death. After attaining adeptship, or becoming a master or mahatma, one may according to his class and degree remain away from the world or return to and act with the physical world. Adepts often work in the world though the world does not know them as adepts. Masters are rarely present in the busy world; only under most important circumstances do mahatmas move among the men of the world. Aside from any special mission which an adept, master or mahatma may undertake to the world, there are certain times when these intelligences do appear in and before the world and are known by men not, perhaps, by these terms or titles but by the work they do.

Their presence or appearance in the world is due to cyclic law brought about by the desires and thoughts and achievements of mankind, and when it is time to assist in the birth of a new race and the inauguration or re-establishment of a new old order of things. There is a cyclic law according to which adepts, masters and mahatmas appear successively to take part in the affairs of the world and as regularly as the coming of the seasons in their order.

Among the visible signs that an adept, master and mahatma has appeared, is here or will in the future appear, are the many people who claim to be adepts, masters or mahatmas. None of the claims, alleged messages, advices, proclamations, prove the passing, presence or coming of adepts, masters or mahatmas, but they do give evidence that the human heart yearns toward something and for the attainment of that something in man himself, which adepts, masters and mahatmas are. As the season of the year is announced by the passing of the sun into a particular sign of the zodiac, so the coming of an adept, master or mahatma is announced when the heart of humanity passes or reaches into the realms where adepts, masters and mahatmas dwell.

Besides the appearance of adepts, masters and mahatmas, due to the desires or aspirations of a people, these intelligences appear and give to the world at regular periods the results of the work done by them. When an adept, master or mahatma becomes such, then, in compliance with the law or of his own free will and for love of mankind, he comes into the world and makes a gift to the world of something which will show the path of travel which he has gone over, indicate dangers to be avoided, obstacles to be overcome, and work to be done. This is done that those following may be aided by their having gone on before. These gifts to the world are like sign-posts at cross roads, each indicating the road it is left to the traveller to choose.

When adepts, masters and mahatmas appear physically they do so in a body which will attract as little attention as the purpose for which they appear will allow. When they appear to a race it is usually in a physical body most suited to that race.

Adepts, masters and mahatmas carry on their work with the world in groups, each in turn being assisted in the general work by the others.

No part or section of the globe can do without the presence of an intelligence such as an adept, master or mahatma, any more than any department of government could continue without the guiding presence of its head. But as the heads of governments change, so change the presiding intelligences of a nation or race. The representative of government is an expression not of a few, but of the sum total of the will of the people. So is the intelligence presiding over nations and races. Adepts, masters and mahatmas are not like politicians who abuse, coddle or flatter the people and make promises, and so get themselves elected to office. Theirs is not a tyrannical tenure like that of many heads of governments. They do not try to outwit or break or make law. They are administrators of the law according to the demands in the hearts of the people, and they respond to them under the law of cycles.

To be continued.