[Article by Ursula N. Gestefeld; Editor's Note (following) by W. Q. Judge]
The opinion of metaphysical healing presented in the January issue of The Path by the Editor will probably be shared by such of its readers as have not examined the subject sufficiently to arrive at an understanding of the principles involved.
This opinion comes especially before the members of the Theosophical Society whose time and attention are given -- presumably -- to the study of Theosophy mainly; and who, therefore, do not give special attention to that teaching which is covered by the term "Divine Science" and which is ignorantly classed as the same thing under different heads -- viz., "Mind Cure," "Mental Science," "Christian Science," etc.
But these, and all fair-minded individuals, will agree that the only true basis for judgment is understanding of the matter involved; and a moment's reflection will show that opinion is one thing and understanding another. With all due respect for Mr. Judge personally and for his recognized high attainments, it is maintained that his whole article betrays lack of understanding of the subject involved. It shows a confounding of statements made by individuals with the true conclusions compelled by exact principles.
Neither Mr. Judge nor other earnest Theosophists would like to have Theosophy judged by the declarations of some of the members of the Society. Speaking for it they would cry, "Deliver me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies." There is all the difference in the world between a mere believer in Theosophy and a conscientious student of it. There is equal difference in the statements about it likely to be made by each.
No one knows better than a conscientious student of "Divine Science" -- the term being used merely as a distinctive appelation -- that numbers of people who call themselves variously "Christian Scientists," "Mental Scientists," and "Mind Curers," make declarations which are absurd and illogical in the extreme, perform acts which were better left undone. Every true defender of this teaching will admit this and protest against the identification of it with these declarations, even as the earnest Theosophist would make the same protest under like circumstances.
A fair and candid examination of any teaching, by whatever name it is called, can be given only when it is considered apart from any and all representatives of it; when it is studied from the basis of its own premise, following along the line of deduction to conclusions. No subject can be honestly studied and righteously judged from the basis of comparison with something else.
If Mr. Judge could forget that he was a Theosophist and, laying Theosophy aside for a season -- for it will keep, give his attention more to the principles bearing the various tags, and less to the erratic utterances of individuals and the awful examples of which he has a record, he might, and probably would, arrive at different conclusions than those he at present voices; and this course is absolutely essential for every Theosophist -- for every one who would know instead of believe some one's opinion.
As the result of some years of attention to both "Theosophy" and "Divine Science," the writer affirms that the essence of the two is one and the same; Theosophy being that presentation which appeals to and engages the intellect, Divine Science the one which appeals to and engages the soul or the self-consciousness. Strip Theosophical teaching of its foreign terms, use for the various designations and appellations plain every-day English, detach it from any and all persons, lay aside the spectacles of veneration for authority both ancient and modern, and we shall have an exhaustive, detailed system, in which every part has its relative and appropriate place, a cosmology including the visible and invisible which holds the mind in admiration and awe.
Separate "Divine Science" -- what it is in itself -- from the claims made for and about it by those partisans whose zeal outruns their discretion; accept -- for the time being and for the purpose of a clear understanding -- the terms as used, with the meaning attached to them and which they are meant to convey; follow the process of deduction from its premise to its conclusions without weighing and measuring these according to another standard than their premise, and we shall have the skeleton, the inner structure of that magnificent body, Theosophy.
We shall have that supporting inner form around which all the muscles, nerves, and tissues cling, which these only round out into a full shape where every composite part is in its appropriate place.
"For the soul the body form doth take,
For soul is form and doth the body make."
But the skeleton of a body remains when the blood, muscle, and tissue have been consumed; and in this skeleton we have the substantial and enduring, that which will be the possession of the soul when it has worked its weary way through the many rounds outlined by Theosophy.
Within the limits of a single article one can not give the exhaustive argument necessary to sustain positions contrary to those occupied by Mr. Judge: but some of his, as affirmed, are open to critical examination from the Theosophist's point of view. To quote from the article in question -- "We know that the thoughts of the preceding life are the causes for the troubles and joys of this, and therefore those troubles are now being exhausted here by the proper channel, the body, and are on their way down and out."
Here is admission of the truth of "Divine Science" teaching that thought is the cause of these conditions. It follows, naturally, that the condition is according to the kind or quality of the thought, on the principle that the seed produces according to its kind. It follows, as naturally, that a higher kind or quality of thought will be a corrective of undesirable conditions, these being the legitimate fruit of a lower kind.
The logical inference is that thought must remove what thought produces. This is simply the sequence of cause and effect. If it is the Karma of an individual that he is suffering now from thoughts held and allowed in a preceding life; if, because this condition is Karma, it should not be interfered with, why do those who hold this view seek to be rid of their suffering by any means whatever? Why do they use medicine in any form, why do they use physical applications of any kind or sort, why do they thus interfere with Karma? According to the view put forth in the article under consideration, the trouble is on its way down and out and should not be interfered with.
It would seem that it is a question of means, simply, that is raised, for the Theosophist does not allow himself to suffer from the thoughts of a previous life passively, making no effort to be rid of the suffering. He uses what he recognizes as legitimate means. The one who recognizes a truth in "Divine Science" and endeavors to live according to it, does the same. He uses what to him is legitimate means. He uses thought as a corrective of what it produces. The Theosophist uses external remedies. Which course is most in accordance with the view held by both alike, that the kind of condition is according to the kind of thought?
Mr. Judge quotes Mm. Blavatsky's statement that "whenever the healer interferes -- consciously or unconsciously -- with the free mental action of the person he treats, it is Black Magic," and endorses it. So does the writer of this article, who admits that much of the work done by many under the name of "Mental Science" and "Christian Science" is ignorant practice of the same; but the mistakes of individuals should not be credited to the thing itself. It does not follow but that White Magic may also be practiced by those who see the difference between the two, even though these may be called "Christian Scientists" or by another title. And it is affirmed that those who have grown sufficiently in the understanding of Divine Science, and have incorporated the same in their daily lives through hourly effort to "live the life that they may know the doctrine," will never interfere with the free mental action of any one. He will respect another's mental freedom as religiously as he does the physical.
Mr. Judge speaks of some nervous derangements which may be cured by directing the mind of the patient to high thoughts. To this, he says, there can be no objection.
This is just what is done by the intelligent and honest practitioner of Divine Science healing. His patient is always directed, never held in mental bondage. He is shown a higher ideal than his sense-consciousness permits him to view. The healer's work is a helping work only; never a finality. The sufferer is afforded "a sign from heaven"; he must win heaven, or a higher consciousness, for himself.
The Divine Science healer who stands upon and works from the principle involved, under bonds to no human authority, listening for and obeying the voice of the higher self heard in the Soul, will feel himself to be standing on holy ground where shoes of any and all kinds should be removed from his feet. These have served him on the way, he has walked by their help, but what he has to do there is between him and the Most High. He simply cannot practice what he does "for purely selfish ends or for money in addition."
The question of money payment is one which needs to be looked at from an all-round point of view, not from one only. Mr. Fullerton in a number of the FORUM gave an opinion which will be endorsed by a large number as fair and sensible. No one knows better than a practitioner of Divine Science healing -- of the order referred to -- that divine or spiritual powers can not be bought or sold, even if there were, through ignorance, inclination to do so. He knows too, as every Theosophist should, that through daily endeavor and increasing aspiration he must and will bring himself into that juxtaposition with these which will bring their healing, purifying, and elevating influence into his self-consciousness, regenerating it in time.
Mr. Judge warns Theosophists that there is danger in these practices which they will do well to avoid. The only danger for Theosophists, and for others, is ignorance. We can all take to heart Solomon's injunction and profit by it. "With all thy getting, get understanding." The best safeguard against such dangers is earnest and honest endeavor to know truth and to grasp it wherever we find it, looking through names, persons, and acts for that purpose. Perfect sincerity and fearlessness, with reliance upon that which is, will always protect the searcher.
URSULA N. GESTEFELD.
Editor's Note. The Path has no desire to seem unfair, and hence the foregoing article is inserted at the request of a friend. It cannot be considered as a reply to the article in January issue, nor does it deal with the important points then raised and which will be further discussed at a later date. Very few earnest Theosophists will share with Mrs. Gesterfeld, however much they respect her, the assumption made in her second paragraph that because they give time and attention to the study of Theosophy they "also therefore" do not give attention "to the teaching covered by the term Divine Science." Such assumption assumes the total non-existence of Theosophical literature. Divine Science is a term used ages ago in Indian writing, and is well understood to cover a real science of psychology, physiology, and spirit; but if a number of people in America appropriate the term to cover a few half-truths from the whole, it does not necessarily follow that others who are not of that cult do not study the real thing. There is no sequence between her premise and her conclusion.
The next point on which we must differ from our contributor is where she says this "Divine Science" of which she speaks -- and which is different in her opinion from Mental Science, etc., as promulgated illogically -- must be studied by throwing away all standards save those adopted by its exponents, "accepting for the time being the terms as used with the meanings attached to them" (by its exponents), and "following them" to conclusion "without weighing and measuring them by another standard than their premise." This is just the difficulty. The terms used are strained in general, and thus false conclusions are arrived at, if we thus throw away right standards long ago fixed by the use of English by wiser and better educated people than most of us can claim to be. We cannot do that, even to show that "Divine Science" is the same as Theosophy; nor can we with the same object in view abandon words from foreign tongues to express ideas for which materialistic English has no counters. By such a process the students of Modern Divine Science may be saved the trouble of investigating and classifying the manifold divisions in man's personality -- and which even now the celebrated hypnotists call number 1, 2, and so on. The resulting calm ignorance of these vital matters might be pleasant, but it would not destroy the existence of the subtle form of matter called akasa, nor the subtle body temporarily called sukshma-sarira, nor the Mayavi-rupa, nor those negative and positive astral currents known as Ida and Pingala but not yet perceived distinctly by either scientific men or "metaphysical or divine healers." When, diving into Greek or Latin, the authorities of the day shall have adopted distinctive terms for these things as they discover their existence, use, and function, then we will take those more familiar terms and drop Sanskrit. For, digressing, we may remind our readers that it is a tradition in the Lodge "which seeth all, holding all, as it were, in its eye," that our language will creep slowly back by way of Greek and Latin to the ancient Sanskrit.
From The Path, February, 1892, pp. 341-46.