Occult Science in India, by Louis Jacoilliot, , at sacred-texts.com
The superior Guru began his lessons to those who had been admitted to the third degree of initiation, with the following aphorisms:
The first of all sciences is that of man: man is the soul; the body is only a means of communication with terrestrial matter; the study of the soul leads to the knowledge of all the visible and invisible forces of nature, to that of the Great All.
Having laid this down, the venerable priest proceeds to unveil to his audience, in the most majestic and poetic language, the mysteries of the soul. We are sorry that we are unable to accompany him as he more fully unfolds his doctrine. Our present space would not suffice. We can only give the substance of his teaching. The soul, or the ego, is a reality which manifests itself through the phenomena of which it is the cause; these phenomena are revealed to man by that interior light which the sacred books call ahancara, or conscience.
This ahancara is a universal fact and all beings are endowed with it more or less. It attains the greatest perfection in man. It is by this sovereign light, that the ego is enlightened and guided. We may say, by the way, according to the divine Manu, that from the plant, in which it seems to be in a state of suspended animation, to the animals and man, the ahancara gradually frees itself from matter by which it is encumbered, and overpowers and masters it, until it arrives at the supreme transformation,
which restores the soul to liberty and enables it to continue its progressive evolution forever and ever.
Released from these ties, the soul takes no further interest in the world which it once inhabited. It continues to be an active member of the Great All, and, as says the immortal legislator:
"The ancestral spirits in an invisible state accompany the Brahmins when invited to the funeral sraddha; in an aërial form they attend them and take their place beside them, when they take their seats." (Manu, Book iii.)
As the soul approaches its last transformation, it acquires faculties of infinite perfection, and finally its only Gurus are the Pitris, or spirits who have preceded it in a higher world. By means of the pure fluid called Agasa it enters into communication with them, receives instruction from them, and, according to its deserts, acquires the power or faculty of setting in motion the secret forces of nature.
Having set this forth at length, the Guru commences his second lesson by saying that logic alone leads to a knowledge of the soul and body.
Logic is defined to be a system of laws, by the aid of which, the mind being under proper control, perfect knowledge can be attained:
First, of the soul.
Second, of the reason.
Third, of the intellect.
Seventh, of the judgment.
Eighth, of activity.
Ninth, of privation.
Tenth, of the results of actions.
Eleventh, of the faculty.
Twelfth, of suffering.
Thirteenth, of deliverance.
Fourteenth, of transmigration or metempsychosis.
Fifteenth, of the body.
Sixteenth, of the organs of sensation.
Seventeenth, of the objects of sensation.
The different modes employed by logic to arrive at a knowledge of the truth, are then studied in sixteen lessons, the headings of which are as follows:
Second, the subject of, study and proof, or, in other words, the cause.
Third, scientific doubt.
Sixth, the truth demonstrated.
Seventh, the syllogism.
Eighth, demonstration per absurdum.
Ninth, the determination of the object.
Tenth, the thesis.
Eleventh, the controversy.
Twelfth, the objection.
Thirteenth, vicious arguments.
Fifteenth, of futility.
Sixteenth, of refutation.
It is unnecessary to call attention to the fact that the philosophy of Greece, as well as of modern Europe, seems r to be largely indebted to that of the Hindus.
We shall not dwell further upon these various points. The enumeration is alone sufficient to show how much further they might be developed. Suffice it to say, that they are treated in a most masterly manner by the old philosophers on the banks of the Ganges, whose whole life was spent in study of the most elevated speculations.
Proof in general is made in four ways:
First, by perception,
Second, by induction.
Third, by comparison.
Fourth, by testimony.
Induction, in its turn, is divided:
First, into antecedent, which separates the effect from the cause.
Second, into consequent, which deduces the cause from the effect.
Third, into analogy, which infers that unknown things are alike from known things that are alike.
After analyzing the soul and body, and testing them in all their manifestations in the crucible of logic, the Book of the Pitris, through the mouth of the Guru, gives the following list of their faculties and qualities:
Faculties of the Soul.
Faculties of the Intellect.
First, conscience, or organs of internal perception.
Second, sense, or organs of external perception.
Fifth, reason, or organs of absolute notions, or axioms.
Qualities of the Body.
First, color (sight).
Second, savor (taste).
Third, odor (smell).
Fourth, the sense of hearing and touch.
Ninth, disjunction. Tenth, priority.
Twelfth, gravity, or weight.
As there is nothing material about anything that proceeds from the soul, it is obvious that those faculties which emanate from the Ahancara, or inward light, and the Agasa or pure fluid, cannot under any circumstances and however thoroughly we may study them, be made the objects of sensation, and it follows that the final end of all science is to free the spirit at the earliest possible moment from all material fetters, from the bonds of passion, and any evil influences that stand in the way of its passage to the celestial spheres, which are inhabited by aërial beings whose transmigrations are ended.
The body, on the contrary, being solely composed of material molecules, is dissolved into its original elements, and returns to the earth from which it sprung.
If the soul, however, is not deemed worthy to receive the fluidic body, spoken of by Manu, it is compelled to commence a new series of transmigrations in this world, until it has attained the requisite degree of perfection, when it abandons the human form forever.
It is impossible to shut our eyes to the extraordinary similarity between this system of philosophy and that of the old Greek philosophers, and especially of Pythagoras, who believed in the doctrine of metempsychosis, and also held that the object of all philosophy was to free the soul from its mortal envelope and guide it to the world of spirits. Although it appears from all the traditions relating to the subject, that Pythagoras went to the Indus in Alexander's train and travelled in India and brought back this system from there, and was the only one of all the old Sophists that taught it, some people who have no eyes for anything that is not Greek, would have us believe
that India was indebted to the land of Socrates for its earliest knowledge of philosophy. We will merely repeat, in reply, the words of the illustrious Colebrook, who has studied this question for thirty years in India on the spot:
"In philosophy the Hindus are the masters of the Greeks, and not their disciples."
Pythagoras believed in a hierarchy of the superior spirits, exercising various degrees of influence upon worldly matters. That doctrine lies at the very foundation of the occult sciences. It necessarily supposes an acquaintance with the magical formulas of evocation, and while the philosopher only leads us to suppose that he had been admitted to a knowledge of supernatural sciences, there is reason to believe that in this he was deterred from telling all he knew by the terrible oath taken by all those who had been initiated.
The Guru ended his inquiries into the soul and its faculties by the study of the reason.
As the whole logical power of Hindu spiritism rests upon these faculties, we devote a special chapter to the superior Guru's discourse upon this interesting subject. We will give the introduction merely in the form of a dialogue.
We use the modern term spiritism, to designate the Hindu belief in the Pitris, for the reason that no other word exists in our language which sufficiently characterizes it.
The belief in the Pitris is a positive belief in spirits as manifesting themselves to and directing men: it matters little whether the word has any scientific value or not. It is enough that it correctly expresses the idea which we wish to convey.