The Word Foundation
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Copyright 1910 by H. W. PERCIVAL


What are the essential differences between Theosophy and New Thought?

Motives, methods and definiteness.

These differences are not based upon the talk and actions of so called theosophists nor of new thoughters, but upon the books of the theosophists and those of the new thought. Most members of present day theosophical societies make claims and act as unreasonably as most of the people of the New Thought. Each set of people shows the side of human nature which is working out at that particular time. The doctrines of Theosophy are: karma, the law of justice; reincarnation, the development of the mind and of the matter of the physical and other bodies by means of the mind’s return from life to life in human bodies into this physical world; the sevenfold constitution of man, the principles and their interaction which enter into the makeup of man; the perfectibility of man, that all men are potentially gods and that it is in the power of every man to attain to the state of highest perfection and become consciously and intelligently one with God, the Universal Mind; brotherhood, that all men come from one and the same divine source and that all men are related and the same in essence though differing in degree of development, and that spiritually all have duties to and are related to each other as members of one family, and that it is the duty of each member of it to help and assist the others according to his powers and capacities.

The motives advocated or suggested in the books of theosophists and of new thoughters differ widely. The motives as urged by theosophical doctrines are: to comply with the requirements of Karma by fulfilling one’s obligations, that is, duty, because it is demanded by the law of justice; or because by so doing, one will make good karma; or because it is right—in which case duty will be done without fear and without hope of reward. Immortality or perfection is looked forward to not because by its attainment one shall escape responsibilities and enjoy its fruits, but because by reaching it one is the better able to assist others in their overcoming of ignorance, sorrow and misery and attaining the same goal. The motives which prompt the new thoughter to action are first his own betterment, generally for physical benefits, and the enjoyment of that, and then to tell others that they too can have their desires along these lines satisfied.

The methods which Theosophy advises for the attainment of its objects are by doing one’s duty wherever placed, by acting, unselfishly for the good of others, by controlling the desires through the intellect, by becoming illumined and by devoting a reasonable amount of one’s time, money and work to the spreading of the doctrines. This is done, without money or charges of any kind. The methods of the New Thought are to promise physical benefits and mental satisfaction, and money is charged for courses in instruction in the thought and for practical application.

Another difference is that the doctrines of Theosophy are definite, as to principle and statement; whereas, in the New Thought societies vague claims are made, and a lack of definiteness in terms and philosophy is shown in the teachings. New Thought teachings speak mildly, if at all, of karma and reincarnation. Some of their writers speak of the seven principles or of some of them; they hold that man is divine in origin and fact, and believe that men are brothers. But there is a lack of definiteness in all these New Thought teachings which is a marked difference from the direct and insistent statements made in theosophical books.

The distinguishing features then are: that the motive which prompts the follower of Theosophy is unselfishness and service for the purpose of realizing the God within, whereas, the motive which prompts the new thoughter is to apply such information as he has for personal, material gain and advantage. The methods of work of one who follows Theosophy is to spread the doctrines without pay; whereas, the new thoughter says that the laborer is worthy of his hire and he charges money for benefits, or alleged benefits, conferred. The follower of Theosophy has definite objects and doctrines which are distinct in themselves, whereas the adherent of the New Thought is not particular as to doctrine, but has a hopeful and cheerful disposition and is confident that he will get all he desires. These are differences according to doctrine and books, but the so called theosophist is human and frail as well as the new thoughter; each acts according to his nature notwithstanding his particular conviction or beliefs.

Where Theosophy begins New Thought ends. Theosophy begins with one’s duty in life, and aims to reach perfection in the physical world; and through that perfection, perfection in the spiritual world. New thought begins with a cheerful and confident belief in one’s divinity, and seems to end with physical, wealth, prosperity and happiness—sometimes and for the time being.


What is the cause of cancer? Is there any known cure for it or will some method of treatment have to be discovered before its cure can be effected?

There are immediate and remote causes of cancer. The immediate causes are those engendered in the present life. The remote causes originate in and come over from the action of the mind in previous human births. The immediate causes for the appearance of cancer are such as a bruise or continued irritation, which cause an obstruction to the blood circulation, tissue proliferation and which furnish soil favorable to the development of, what is believed to be a cancer germ, or they may be due to improper foods which the body is unable to assimilate or excrete and by reason of which the cancer germ develops, or that disease may be due to the restraining, suppressing and killing, but retaining in the body of the vital fluid during sexual practices. The killing, retaining and accumulation in the body of the life germs of the vital fluid is fertile soil which calls the cancer germ into existence; by continuing the practice the body abounds with cancerous growth. Again similar conditions may be furnished by the inability of the body to bring the vital germs to maturity, failing to do which the life germs die and decay and remain within the body which is unable to assimilate or excrete them.

The remote causes are brought over by the mind from its actions in previous incarnations in which the mind took part in excess and indulgence, but in which incarnation it did not reap the harvest which it then sowed, in the same way that those who are addicted to morbid and wrong sexual practices in the present life may not now reap, but are sowing, the causes for future harvest—unless they set up contrary causes by present thought and action. Unless cancer is physically transferred or transplanted, all cases of cancer are due to karmic causes; that is to say, they are caused by the action and interaction between the mind and desire in the field of one’s physical body. This action between mind and desire must have taken place in the present life or in a preceding life. If it has taken place in the present life, it will be recognized as the immediate cause of the cancer when the attention is directed to it. If none of these or similar causes have been set up in the present life, in which cancer appears, then the disease is due to a remote cause which may be recognized. One may act against the law for a time, only, but he is checked in time. The cancer cell and its development may be destroyed, but the cancer germ is not physical and it cannot be destroyed by any physical means. The cancer germ is astral and is the form in which the cell grows and develops, although the cancer cell shows the form of the cancer germ. The cancer cell and germ can be treated and transformed by physical means.

There is a treatment for the cure of cancer, and cures have been effected. Cures have been made by the Salisbury treatment. This treatment has been known for over forty years, but comparatively few physicians have tried it. The Salisbury treatment of diseases has not found favor with the medical profession. A few who have tried it fairly, have had remarkable results in the treatment of most of the so called incurable diseases. The basis of the Salisbury treatment is the eating of well broiled lean beef from which all fat and fiber and connective tissue have been removed, and which eating is accompanied by the drinking of hot water not less than an hour and a half before and after meals. This treatment is too simple and inexpensive for most physicians. Nevertheless this treatment, when it is consciously applied, strikes at the roots, and effects cures of nearly every known disease. Well cooked lean beef, from which tissue and fat has been removed, and water furnish the simplest and most important material for the maintenance of healthy human animal bodies. The eating of lean beef and the drinking of pure water affects the physical body and its astral counterpart, the form body. Lean meat will not supply the material favorable to the growth and development of any germs which may bring disease to the body into which the lean meat is taken. When the supply of food is withheld from a disease and such food is taken in the body as cannot be used by the disease, but is wholesome to the body, the disease dies away. So when lean beef is taken into the body, it will not supply food favorable to the cancer or other disease germs, and if other food is withheld, the unhealthy growths in the body gradually die and disappear by a process of starvation. This may take years and the body may appear emaciated and feel weak and physically exhausted. This condition is due to the sloughing off of the diseased portions of the body, but if the treatment is persisted in the body will regain health. What takes place during the process is that the old diseased physical body is gradually being allowed to die off and is eliminated, and in its place there is being grown and developed gradually, another physical body built up on the lean beef. The drinking of the boiled water taken hot an hour and a half before and after meals is as important as the eating of the meat, and the meat should not be eaten to cure disease without drinking hot water and at the times stated. The drinking of a quantity of hot water neutralizes the acids and injurious matter and passes them off from the body, and in that water this matter is passed off from the body. The meat is the food of the body; the water irrigates and cleanses the body. The lean beef builds healthy cells of the body, but the meat cannot touch or directly affect the invisible cancer germ. Hot water does this. Hot water affects and transforms the cancer germ and other germs in the body and adjusts these to the needs of the body. The meat builds up the physical body; the water supplies the needs of the astral body.

A body built up on this basis is clean and wholesome and is a good working instrument for the mind. By such a treatment not only is one’s physical and astral body changed and made healthy, but the desires will also have been affected, curbed and trained. Only the Salisbury treatment of diseases deals directly with the physical body which is the field of the cancer cell and with the astral body which is the seat of the cancer germ. By the Salisbury treatment the mind also is trained, indirectly, because considerable determination and will must be exercised by the mind in order to hold the body and desires strictly to the treatment. Many fail in the treatment because they will not hold to it and because of mental discontent and rebellion which often appear in those who try it and which they do not overcome. If the rebellion is quelled and discontent replaced by a patient and confident attitude of mind, a cure will inevitably result. By training one’s body according to reasonable methods, the mind is self-instructed by the operation and learns mastery not only of the body but also of its own disquietude and restlessness. When there is a harmonious relation between the body and the mind disease can find no home in that body. The cancer germ and cell will not cause disease unless the constitution of the body is unable to use them. There are many cancer germs and cells in nearly every human body. In fact myriads of germs swarm in the human body. Any of these will cause virulent diseases if the condition of the body is not such as will keep the germs in order and preserve a well organized body. Germs of diseases yet unknown teem in the body, but the body and the mind have not yet provided the conditions which will let these germs become known to the world as special diseases. They may be called into evidence at any time when the mind becomes aware of the possible disease, and the pathological conditions are provided by improper eating and living.

The cancer germ and cell belong to the period in the history and development of the human race when the human body was bi-sexual. At that period it would have been impossible to have the disease now called cancer because that was the normal cell used in the building up of bodies. Our present race has reached a point in its evolution which brings it to the same plane as that which the race passed in its involution, that is, the plane on which took place the involution or development of bi-sexual male—female bodies into the sexual male bodies and female bodies we now know.

The physical body is built up and maintained by a constant creation and destruction of germs. It is a war of the germs. The body is established according to a certain form of government. If it preserves its form of government it maintains order and health. If order is not preserved, opposing factions enter the government and cause disorder, if they do not cause revolution or death. The body cannot remain inactive or passive. The armies of germs which build up the body and other armies of germs which defend it against the attacks and invasion of opposing germs must be able to capture and assimilate the invaders. This is done when the body eats of wholesome food, drinks of pure water, breathes deeply of fresh air, and man entertains healthy thoughts and tries to think of influences and actions according to right motives.

A Friend [H. W. Percival]