STUDENT. - What is the effect of trying to develop the power of seeing in the astral light before a person is initiated?
Sage. - Seeing in the astral light is not done through Manas, but through the senses, and hence has to do entirely with sense-perception removed to a plane different from this, but more illusionary. The final perceiver or judge of perception is in Manas, in the Self; and therefore the final tribunal is clouded by the astral perception if one is not so far trained or initiated as to know the difference and able to tell the true from the false. Another result is a tendency to dwell on this subtle sense-perception, which at last will cause an atrophy of Manas for the time being. This makes the confusion all the greater, and will delay any possible initiation all the more or forever. Further, such seeing is in the line of phenomena, and adds to the confusion of the Self which is only beginning to understand this life; by attempting the astral another element of disorder is added by more phenomena due to another plane, thus mixing both sorts up. The Ego must find its basis and not be swept off hither and thither. The constant reversion of images and ideas in the astral light, and the pranks of the elementals there, unknown to us as such and only seen in effects, still again add to the confusion. To sum it up, the real danger from which all others flow or follow is in the confusion of the Ego by introducing strange things to it before the time.
Student. - How is one to know when he gets real occult information from the Self within?
Sage. - Intuition must be developed and the matter judged from the true philosophical basis, for if it is contrary to true general rules it is wrong. It has to be known from a deep and profound analysis by which we find out what is from egotism alone and what is not; if it is due to egotism, then it is not from the Spirit and is untrue. The power to know does not come from book-study nor from mere philosophy, but mostly from the actual practice of altruism in deed, word, and thought; for that practice purifies the covers of the soul and permits that light to shine down into the brain-mind. As the brain-mind is the receiver in the waking state, it has to be purified from sense-perception, and the truest way to do this is by combining philosophy with the highest outward and inward virtue.
Student. - Tell me some ways by which intuition is to be developed.
Sage. - First of all by giving it exercise, and second by not using it for purely personal ends. Exercise means that it must be followed through mistakes and bruises until from sincere attempts at use it comes to its own strength. This does not mean that we can do wrong and leave the results, but that after establishing conscience on a right basis by following the golden rule, we give play to the intuition and add to its strength. Inevitably in this at first we will make errors, but soon if we are sincere it will grow brighter and make no mistake. We should add the study of the works of those who in the past have trodden this path and found out what is the real and what is not. They say the Self is the only reality. The brain must be given larger views of life, as by the study of the doctrine of reincarnation, since that gives a limitless field to the possibilities in store. We must not only be unselfish, but must do all the duties that Karma has given us, and thus intuition will point out the road of duty and the true path of life.
Student. - Are there any Adepts in America or Europe?
Sage. - Yes, there are and always have been. But they have for the present kept themselves hidden from the public gaze. The real ones have a wide work to do in many departments of life and in preparing certain persons who have a future work to do. Though their influence is wide they are not suspected, and that is the way they want to work for the present. There are some also who are at work with certain individuals in some of the aboriginal tribes in America, as among those are Egos who are to do still more work in another incarnation, and they must be prepared for it now. Nothing is omitted by these Adepts. In Europe it is the same way, each sphere of work being governed by the time and the place.
Student. -What is the meaning of the five-pointed star?
Sage. - It is the symbol of the human being who is not an Adept, but is now on the plane of the animal nature as to his life-thoughts and development inside. Hence it is the symbol of the race. Upside down it means death or symbolizes that. It also means, when upside down, the other or dark side. It is at the same time the cross endowed with the power of mind, that is, man.
Student. - Is there a four-pointed star symbol?
Sage. - Yes. That is the symbol of the next kingdom below man, and pertains to the animals. The right kind of clairvoyant can see both the five- and the four-pointed star. It is all produced by the intersections of the lines or currents of the astral light emanating from the person or being. The four-pointed one means that the being having but it has not as yet developed Manas. Student. - Has the mere figure of a five-pointed star any power in itself?
Sage. - It has some, but very little. You see it is used by all sorts of people for trademarks and the like, and for the purposes of organizations, yet no result follows. It must be actually used by the mind to be of any force or value. If so used, it carries with it the whole power of the person to whom it may belong.
Student. - Why is the sword so much spoken of in practical Occultism by certain writers?
Sage. - Many indeed of these writers merely repeat what they have read. But there is a reason, just as in warfare the sword has more use for damage than a club. The astral light corresponds to water. if you try to strike in or under water with a club, it will be found that there is but little result, but a sharp knife will cut almost as well under water as out of it. The friction is less. So in the astral light a sword used on that plane has more power to cut than a club has, and an elemental for that reason will be more easily damaged by a sword than by a club or a stone. But all of this relates to things that are of no right value to the true student, and are indulged in only by those who work in dark magic or foolishly by those who do not quite know what they do. It is certain that he who uses the sword or the club will be at last hurt by it. And the lesson to be drawn is that we must seek for the true Self that knows all Occultism and all truth, and has in itself the protecting shield from all dangers. That is what the ancient Sages sought and found, and that is what should be striven after by us.
Path, November, 1894