Originally published 1893. Theosophical University Press electronic version ISBN 1-55700-034-4 (print version also available). Due to current limitations in the ASCII character set, and for ease of searching, no diacritical marks appear in this electronic version of the text. Corrections made by Mr. Judge after the first edition are incorporated in the text.
Chapter 1: THEOSOPHY AND THE MASTERS (25K)
Theosophy generally defined. The existence of highly developed men in the Universe. These men are the Mahatmas, Initiates, Brothers, Adepts. How they work and why they remain now concealed. Their Lodge. They are perfected men from other periods of evolution. They have had various names in history. Apollonius, Moses, Solomon, and others were members of this fraternity. They had one single doctrine. They are possible because man may at last be as they are. They keep the true doctrine and cause it to reappear at the right time.
Chapter 2: GENERAL PRINCIPLES (17K)
A view of the general laws governing the Cosmos. The sevenfold division in the system. Real Matter not visible and this always known to the Lodge. Mind the intelligent portion of the Cosmos. In the universal Mind the sevenfold plan of the Cosmos is contained. Evolution proceeds upon the plan in the universal Mind. Periods of Evolution come to an end; this is the Night of Brahma. The Mosaic account of Cosmogenesis has dwarfed modern conceptions. The Jews had merely one part of the doctrine taken from the ancient Egyptians. The doctrine accords with the inner meaning of Genesis. The general length of periods of Evolution. Same doctrine as Herbert Spencer's. The old Hindu chronology gives the details. The story of Solomon's Temple is that of the evolution of man. The doctrine far older than the Christian one. The real age of the world. Man is over 18,000,000 years old. Evolution is accomplished solely by the Egos within that at last become the users of human forms. Each of the seven principles of man is derived from one of the seven great divisions of the Universe.
Chapter 3: THE EARTH CHAIN (12K)
The doctrine respecting the Earth. It is sevenfold also. It is one of a chain of seven corresponding to man. The whole seven are not in a chain separated as to members, but they interpenetrate each other. The Earth chain is the reincarnation of a former old and now dead chain. This old chain was one of which our moon is the visible representative. Moon now dead and contracting. Venus, Mars, etc., are living members of other similar chains to ours. A mass of Egos for each chain. The number, though incalculable, is definite. Their course of evolution through the seven globes. In each a certain part of our nature is developed. At the fourth globe the process of condensation is begun and reaches its limit.
Chapter 4: SEPTENARY CONSTITUTION OF MAN (12K)
The constitution of man. How the doctrine differs from the ordinary Christian one. The real doctrine known in the first centuries of this era, but purposely withdrawn from a nation not able to bear it. The danger if the doctrine had not been withdrawn. The sevenfold division. The principles classified. The divisions agree with the chain of seven globes. The lower man is a composite being. His higher trinity. The lower four principles transitory and perishable. Death leaves the trinity as the only persistent part of us. What the physical man is, and what the other unseen mortal man is. A second physical man not seen but still mortal. The senses pertain to the unseen man and not to the visible one.
Chapter 5: BODY AND ASTRAL BODY (21K)
The body and life principle. The mystery of life. Sleep and death are due to excess of life not bearable by the organism. The body an illusion. What is the cell. Life is universal. It is not the result of the organism. The Astral Body. What it is made of. Its powers and functions. As a model for the body. It is possessed by all kingdoms of nature. Its power to travel. The real sense organs are in the astral body. The place the astral body has at spiritualistic seances. The astral body accounts for telepathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and all such psychical phenomena.
Chapter 6: KAMA -- DESIRE (13K)
The fourth principle. Kama Rupa. In English, the Passions and Desires. Kama Rupa is not produced by the body but is the cause for body. This is the balance principle of the seven. It is the basis of action and mover of the will. Right desire leads to right act. This principle has a higher and a lower aspect. The principle is in the astral body. At death it coalesces with the astral body and makes of it a shell of the man. It has powers of its own of an automatic nature. This shell is the so-called "spirit" of seances. It is a danger to the race. Elementals help this shell at seances. No soul or conscience present. Suicides and executed criminals leave very coherent shells. The principle of desire is common to all the organized kingdoms. It is the brute part of man. Man is now a fully developed quaternary with the higher principles partially developed.
Chapter 7: MANAS (17K)
Manas the fifth principle. The first of the real man. This is the thinking principle and is not the product of brain. Brain is only its instrument. How the light of mind was given to mindless men. Perfected men from older systems gave it to us as they got it from their predecessors. Manas is the storehouse of all thoughts. Manas is the seer. If the connection between Manas and brain is broken the person is not able to cognize. The organs of the body cognize nothing. Manas is divided into upper and lower. Its four peculiarities. Buddha, Jesus, and others had Manas fully developed. Atma the Divine Ego. The permanent individuality. This permanent individuality has been through every sort of experience in many bodies. Manas and matter have now a greater facility of action than in former times. Manas is bound by desire, and this makes reincarnation a necessity.
Chapter 8: OF REINCARNATION (19K)
Why is man as he is, and how did he come. What the Universe is for. Spiritual and physical evolution demand reincarnation. Reincarnation on the physical plane is reimbodiment or alteration of form. The whole mass of matter of the globe will one day be men in a period far distant. The doctrine ancient. Held by the early Christians. Taught by Jesus. What reincarnates. Life's mysteries arise from incomplete incarnation of the higher principles. It is not transmigration to lower forms. Explanation of Manu on this.
Chapter 9: REINCARNATION CONTINUED (17K)
Objections urged. Desire cannot alter law. Early arrivals in heaven. Must they wait for us. Recognition of the soul not dependent on objectivity. Heredity not an objection. What heredity does. Divergences in heredity not recognized. History goes against heredity. Reincarnation not unjust. What is justice. We do not suffer for another's but for our own deeds. Memory. Why we do not remember other lives. Who does? How to account for increase of population.
Chapter 10: ARGUMENTS SUPPORTING REINCARNATION (19K)
From the nature of the soul. From the laws of mind and soul. From differences in character. From the necessity for discipline and evolution. From differences of capacity and start in life at the cradle. Individual identity proves it. The probable object of life makes it necessary. One life not enough to carry out Nature's purposes. Mere death confers no advance. A school after death is illogical. The persistence of savagery and the decay of nations give support to it. The appearance of geniuses is due to reincarnation. Inherent ideas common to man show it. Opposition to the doctrine based solely on prejudice.
Chapter 11: KARMA (21K)
Definition of the word. An unfamiliar term. A beneficent law. How present life is affected by past acts of other lives. Each act has a thought at its root. Through Manas they react on each personal life. Why people are born deformed or in bad circumstances. The three classes of Karma and its three fields of operation. National and Racial Karma. Individual unhappiness and happiness. The Master's words on Karma.
Chapter 12: KAMA LOKA (20K)
The first state after death. Where and what are heaven and hell? Death of the body only the first step of death. A second death after that. Separation of the seven principles into three classes. What is Kama Loka? Origin of Christian purgatory. It is an astral sphere with numerous degrees. The Skandhas. The astral shell of man in Kama Loka. It is devoid of soul, mind, and conscience. It is the "spirit" of the seance rooms. Classification of shells in Kama Loka. Black magicians there. Fate of suicides and others. Pre-devachanic unconsciousness.
Chapter 13: DEVACHAN (17K)
The meaning of the term. A state of Atma-Buddhi-Manas. Operation of Karma on Devachan. The necessity for Devachan. It is another sort of thinking with no physical body to clog it. Only two fields for operation of causes -- subjective and objective. Devachan is one. No time there for the soul. Length of stay therein. Mathematics of the soul. Average stay therein is 1500 mortal years. Depends on psychic impulses of life. Its use and purpose. On the last thoughts at death the devachanic state is fashioned. Devachan not meaningless. Do we see those left behind? We bring their images before us. Entities in Devachan have a power to help those they love. Mediums cannot go to those in Devachan except in rare cases and when the person is pure. Adepts only can help those in Devachan.
Chapter 14: CYCLES (20K)
One of the most important doctrines. Corresponding words in the Sanskrit. Few cycles known to the West. They cause the reappearance of former living personages. They affect life and evolution. When did the first moment come. The first rate of vibration determines the subsequent ones. When man leaves the globe the forces die. Convulsions and cataclysms. Reincarnation and karma intermixed with cyclic law. Civilizations cycle back. The cycle of Avatars. Krishna, Buddha, and others come under cycles. Minor personages and great leaders. Intersection of cycles causes convulsions. The Moon, Sun, and Sidereal cycles. Individual cycles and that of reincarnation. The motion through the constellations, and the meaning of the story of Jonah. The Zodiacal clock. How the ideas are impressed and preserved by nations. Cause for earthquakes, Cosmic Fire, Glaciation, and Floods. The Brahmanical Cycles.
Chapter 15: DIFFERENTIATION OF SPECIES -- MISSING LINKS (15K)
Ultimate origin of man not discoverable. Man not derived from a single pair, nor from the animals. Seven races of men appeared simultaneously on the globe. They are now amalgamated and will differentiate. The Anthropoid Apes. Their origin. They came from man. They are the descendants of offspring from unnatural union in the third and fourth rounds. The Delayed Races. The secret books on the question. Human features of apes accounted for. The lower kingdoms from other planets. Their differentiation by intelligent interference by the Dhyanis. The midway point of evolution. Astral forms of old rounds solidified in physical rounds. Missing links, what they are and why Science cannot discover them. The aim of Nature in all this work.
Chapter 16: PSYCHIC LAWS, FORCES, AND PHENOMENA (23K)
No true psychology in the West. It exists in the Orient. Man the mirror of all forces. Gravitation only a half law. Importance of polarity and cohesion. Rendering objects invisible. Imagination all powerful. Mental telegraphy. Reading minds is burglary. Apportation, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and second-sight. Pictures in the Astral Light. Dreams and visions. Apparitions. Real clairvoyance. Inner stimulus makes outer impression. Astral Light the Register of everything.
Chapter 17 PSYCHIC PHENOMENA AND SPIRITUALISM (15K)
Spiritualism wrongly named. Should be called necromancy and the worship of the dead. This cult did not originate in America. The practice long known in India. The facts recorded deserve examination. Theosophists admit the facts but interpret them differently from the "spiritualist." The examination confined to the question of whether the dead return. The dead do not return thus. The mass of communications are from the astral shell of man. Objections stated to the claims made by mediums. The record justifies the ridicule of science. Materialization and what it is. A mass of electric magnetic matter with a picture upon it from the astral light. Or it is the astral body of the medium extruded from the living body. Analysis of the laws to be known before the phenomena can be understood. The timbre of the "independent voice." Importance of the astral realm. The Dangers of mediumship. Attempt to get these powers for money or selfish ends also dangerous. Cyclic law ordains the slackening of the force at this time. The purpose of the Lodge.
An attempt is made in the pages of this book to write of theosophy in such a manner as to be understood by the ordinary reader. Bold statements are made in it upon the knowledge of the writer, but at the same time it is distinctly to be understood that he alone is responsible for what is therein written: the Theosophical Society is not involved in nor bound by anything said in the book, nor are any of its members any the less good Theosophists because they may not accept what I have set down. The tone of settled conviction which may be thought to pervade the chapters is not the result of dogmatism or conceit, but flows from knowledge based upon evidence and experience.
Members of the Theosophical Society will notice that certain theories or doctrines have not been gone into. That is because they could not be treated without unduly extending the book and arousing needless controversy.
The subject of the Will has received no treatment, inasmuch as that power or faculty is hidden, subtle, undiscoverable as to essence, and only visible in effect. As it is absolutely colorless and varies in moral quality in accordance with the desire behind it, as also it acts frequently without our knowledge, and as it operates in all the kingdoms below man, there could be nothing gained by attempting to enquire into it apart from the Spirit and the desire.
I claim no originality for this book. I invented none of it, discovered none of it, but have simply written that which I have been taught and which has been proved to me. It therefore is only a handing on of what has been known before.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE