The Inner Life


The Inner LifeTheosophical Talks at Adyar, Vol. II, Chicago: The Rajput Press, 1911, Kessinger Publishing Reprint Facsimile Edition, 1942, (Quoted Edition)

The Inner Life is a door-opener to all worlds beyond the visible and the physical. It’s a book that talks about things you perhaps won’t think can be true if you have not done research about the author, Charles W. Leadbeater.

In fact, the insights of a clairvoyant into the reality of our universe are so strikingly different from what mainstream science and school wisdom tells you that you may doubt this book is written in a scientific intention? But when you read the first ten pages you will perhaps arrest your hurried judgment because of the truly scientific style of the author, a style that is so dry and unpretentious that it’s not easy to read for non-academic readers. This book has very little to do with the trials of theosophy. It’s the meticulously honest account of a psychic who looks beyond the fence of ordinary reality and who didn’t really care about being promoted to ‘popular status.’

Much to the contrary, Leadbeater fostered a rather elitist philosophy that I found very healthy by and large, for not all truth is for all people:

To be psychic means to be able to bring through into the physical consciousness something of the wider life; it is therefore / in the condition of the physical vehicle that there is an inequality between the psychic and the ordinary person, but when the physical is dropped that inequality no longer exists./4-5

There are many observations in the book that can neither be verified nor falsified, except you are yourself a clairvoyant, and not just a clairvoyant but one of the highest initiation.

Leadbeater was on level five which means a direct perception of the aura, of the after-life through trance, and visions of the future without needing to dream, but in the trance-state or in wake consciousness. It is this level of perception that for example the seer Nostradamus was gifted with. The trance state is superior to dreaming because it can be brought about voluntarily by the subject, and it can be directed.

I think it’s important that you know this before reading the book, because if you have never done studies in theosophy or in esoteric religious teaching (such as Sufism, or the Cabbala, for example), you may come to think that this man was an impostor or that he had paranoid delusions. No, he didn’t have a deficient ego nor was he insane. This is widely recognized by biographical research, and I have studied several biographies of him, and also the beneficial role he played in the life of the young Krishnamurti.

Leadbeater and the Young Krishnamurti
Leadbeater and the Young Krishnamurti

As copyright has expired because of time reasons, I will be able to publish all my quotes from the book here without further commenting on them.

To be psychic means to be able to bring through into the physical consciousness something of the wider life; it is therefore / in the condition of the physical vehicle that there is an inequality between the psychic and the ordinary person, but when the physical is dropped that inequality no longer exists./4-5

All the matter of the astral body is constantly in rapid motion from one part of it to another, so that it is quite impossible for any astral particles to be specialized in the same way as certain nerve-ends are specialized in the physical body. The senses of the astral body act not through special organs, but through every particle of the body, so that with astral sight a man can see equally well with any part of his body, and can see all around him simultaneously, instead of only in front of him. (…) It is, however, perfectly possible for him to materialize a hand which, though invisible, can be felt just as the ordinary physical hand can be, as may often be observed at séances./6

If it is complained that … the departed does not see the physical world exactly as it really is, we must answer that neither the departed nor we on this plane every see the physical world as it really is at all, for we (or most of us) see only the solid and liquid portions thereof, and are altogether blind to the far vaster gaseous and etheric parts; while the departed does not see the physical matter at all, nor even the whole astral counterpart of it, but only the portion of the latter which belongs to the particular sub-plane upon which he is at the time. The only man who gets anything like a comprehensive view of affairs is he who has developed etheric and astral sight while still alive in the physical body./8

The length of a man’s stay upon any sub-plane depends … on the amount of matter belonging to that sub-plane he has built into himself during earth-life. /10

The length of a man’s astral life after he has put off his physical body depends mainly upon two factors – the nature of his past physical life, and his attitude of mind after what we call death. During his earth-life he is constantly influencing the building of matter into his astral body. He affects it directly by the passions, emotions and desires which he allows to hold sway over him; he affects it indirectly by the action upon it of his thoughts from above, and of all the details of his physical life (his continence or his debauchery, his cleanliness or his uncleanliness, his food and his drink) from below. If, by persistence in perversity along any of these lines, he is so stupid as / to build for himself a coarse and gross astral vehicle, habituated to responding only to the lower vibrations of the plane, he will find himself after death bound to that plane during the long and slow process of that body’s disintegration. On the other hand, if, by decent and careful living, he gives himself a vehicle mainly composed of finer material, he will have very much less post-mortem trouble and discomfort, and his evolution will proceed much more rapidly and easily./13-14

The ordinary man has little will-power or initiative, and is very much the creature of the surroundings which he has made for himself, on the astral plane as on the physical; but a determined man can always make the best of his conditions and live his own life in spite of them. What has, after all, been caused by his will can gradually be changed by his will, if time permits. A man does not rid himself of evil tendencies in the astral world any more than he would in this life, unless he definitely works to that end./17

In the summer-land men surround themselves with landscapes of their own construction, thought some avoid that trouble by accepting ready-made the landscapes which have already been constructed by others. Men living in the sixth sub-plane, upon the surface of the earth, find themselves surrounded by the astral counterparts of physically existing mountains, trees and lakes, and consequently are not under the necessity to manufacturing scenery for themselves; but men upon the higher subplanes, who float at some distance above the surface of the earth, usually provide themselves with whatever scenery they desire, by the method that I have described. The commonest example of this is that they construct for themselves the weird scenes described in their various scriptures, and therefore in those regions we constantly find ourselves in presence of clumsy and unimaginative attempts to reproduce such ideas as jewels growing upon trees, and seas of glass mingled with fire, and creatures which are full of eyes within, and deities with a hundred heads and arms to correspond. In this way, as a consequence of ignorance and prejudice during their physical life, many men do a great deal of valueless work when they might be employing their time in the helping of their fellows./19

The dead man is the only absolutely free man, free to do whatever he wills and to spend his time as he chooses, free therefore to devote the whole of his energies to helping his fellows./20

When a man dies, the etheric part of his physical body is withdrawn from the denser part, and shortly afterwards (usually within a few hours) the astral breaks away from the etheric, and the man’s life on the astral plane is begun./23

The etheric body is only a part of the physical, and is not in itself a vehicle of consciousness—not a body in which a man can live and function./24

Here therefore is a possibility of making karma, and of making it on a scale which is entirely out of his reach on these lower planes, for every thought on those higher mental levels has a force quite out of proportion to that of our limited thought during physical life./46

There is perfect continuity in the astral life. That life is in many ways much more real than this, or at least much nearer to reality, and this physical existence is only a series of breaks in it during which our activity is greatly limited and our consciousness but partially operative./58

The astral life is much more vivid and its emotions are far stronger than any that we know down here./58

We must try to understand that as soon as we leave the physical body at night we stand side by side with a departed friend, exactly as we did when he was with us on the physical plane. One great thing to remember is the necessity of curbing all sorrow for the so-called dead, because it cannot but react upon them./60

The main object of the helper is to calm and encourage the sufferer, to induce him to realize that death is a perfectly natural and usually an easy process, and in no case a formidable or terrible leap into an unknown abyss./62

In the mental world one formulates a thought and without any expression in the form of words. Therefore on that plane language does not matter in the least; but helpers working in the astral world, who have not yet the power to use the mental vehicle, must depend on the facilities offered by the astral plane itself. These lie as it were half way between the thought-transference of the mental world and the concrete speech of the physical, but it is still necessary to formulate the thought in words./67

When a man functions in the mental vehicle he leaves the astral body behind him in a condition of suspended animation, along with the physical./68

There is a special class of devas who respond to music and express themselves through it, and sometimes they are willing to teach people to whom music is the first and only thing in life./69

The Theosophist will not allow this rearrangement, because he intends to work, and therefore he must be free to move through all the sub-planes. We cannot get rid of elemental essence, but we can subdue the desire-elemental, draw in the finer types of matter, and make the ego strong keep the upper / hand. The essence wants violent emotion, so as to evolve downwards—which, it must be remembered, is its proper and legitimate course of evolution. If it knew of our existence, we should appear to it to be evil beings and tempters, trying to prevent the evolution which it knows to be right for it. If we steadfastly refuse to allow our astral body to vibrate at the rate peculiar to the coarser matter, that coarser matter will gradually be discharged from the body, which will become finer in texture, and the desire-elemental will be of a less active kind./69-70

At present there is a moment of unconsciousness between sleeping and waking, and this acts as a veil. It is caused by the closely-woven web of atomic matter through which the vibrations have to pass./78

The joy of life on the astral plane is so great that physical life in comparison with it seems no life at all./78

Astral pleasures are much greater than those of the physical world, and there is danger of people being turned aside by them from the path of progress. It is quite impossible to realize while one is confined in the physical body the great attractiveness of these pleasures. But even the delights of the astral life do not present a serious danger to those who have realised a little of something higher. After death one should try to pass through the astral levels as speedily as possible, consistently with usefulness, and not yield to its refined pleasures any more than to the physical. One must not only overcome physical desire by knowledge of the astral or the heaven-life, but also go beyond even them, and this not merely for the sake of the joy of the spiritual life, but in order to replace the fleeting by the everlasting./79

If there are seven dimensions at all, there are seven dimensions always and everywhere, and it makes no difference to that fundamental fact in nature whether the consciousness of any individual happens to be acting through his physical body, his astral body or his nirvanic vehicle./80

Degrees in the feeling which prompts thought are expressed by brilliance of colour. In devotional feeling, for example, we may have the three stages of respect, reverence and worship; in affection we may have the stages of good-will, friendship and love. The stronger the thought the larger is the vibration; the more spiritual and unselfish the thought the higher is the vibration. The first produces brilliancy, the second delicacy of colour./90

A thought shows itself as a vibration in the mental body of man; that vibration is communicated to external matter, and an effect is produced. Thought therefore is itself a real and definite power; and the point of vivid interest about it is that everyone of us possesses this power./98

If a man allows himself to begin to think evil of others, it soon becomes easy to think more evil of them and difficult to think any good of them. Hence arises a ridiculous prejudice which absolutely blinds the man to the good points in his neighbours, and enormously magnifies the evil in them. / Then the thoughts begin to stir up his emotions; because he sees only the evil in others he begins to hate them. /98-99

We must not excuse ourselves, as so many do, by saying that undesirable feelings are natural under certain conditions; we must assert our prerogative as rulers of this kingdom of our mind and emotions. /99

We can accustom ourselves to look for the desirable rather than the undesirable qualities in the people whom we meet; and it will surprise us to find how numerous and how important those desirable qualities are. Thus we shall come to like these people instead of disliking them, and there will be at least a possibility that we may do them something approaching to justice in our estimate of them./100

A grumbling and fault-finding attitude towards others is unfortunately sadly common at the present day, and those who adopt it never seem to realise the harm that they are doing. If we study its result scientifically we shall see that the prevalent habit of malicious gossip is nothing short of wicked. It does not matter whether there is or is not any foundation for scandal; in either case it cannot but cause harm. Here we have a number of people fixing their minds upon some supposed evil quality in another, and drawing to it the attention of scores of others to whom such an idea would never otherwise have occurred./101

Think of your friends by all means, but think of their good points, not only because that is a much healthier occupation for you, but because by doing so you strengthen them. When you are reluctantly compelled to recognise the presence of some evil / quality in a friend, take especial care not to think of it, but think instead of the opposite virtue which you wish him to develop. If he happen to be parsimonious or lacking in affection, carefully avoid gossiping about this defect or even fixing your thought upon it, because if you do, the vibration which you will send him will simply make matters worse. Instead of that, think with all your strength of the quality which he needs, flood him with the undulations of generosity and love, for in that way you will really help your brother./101-102

The man who wishes to do useful work, either for himself or for others, by means of thought-power, must conserve his energies; he must be calm and philosophic; he must consider carefully before he speaks or acts. But let no one doubt that the power is a mighty one, that any one who will take the trouble may learn how to use it, and that by its use each one of us may make much progress and may do much good to the world around him. You should understand this power of thought, and the duty of repressing evil, unkind and selfish thoughts. Thoughts will produce their effect, whether we wish it or not. Each time you control them it makes control easier. Sending out of thoughts to others is as real as giving money; and it is a form of charity which is possible for the poorest of men./103

Make it a practice to set apart a little time each day which shall be devoted to formulating good thoughts about other people, and sending them to them. It is capital practice for you, and it will unquestionably do good to your patients also./104

There mere impulse has its birth in the astral body, while the true intuition comes directly from the higher mental plane, or sometimes even from the buddhic./106

Any sudden idea or vision which comes to you may be simply the thought-form of some person who is keenly interested in the subject in hand./107

It is easy to see that when one thinks of something a little difficult, one may attract the thought of another person who has studied the same subject, and even the person himself if he be on the astral plane./108

The etheric double is the vehicle of vitality, the life-principle, which is perpetually circulating through our bodies; and when any part of our etheric double is withdrawn that life-circulation is checked and its current broken. A terrible drain on vitality is then set up, and that is why the medium is so often in a state of collapse after a séance, and also why so many mediums in the long run become drunkards, having first taken to stimulants in order to satisfy the dreadful craving for support which is caused by this sudden loss of strength./120

In cases of materialisation, dense physical matter, probably chiefly in the form of gases or liquids, is frequently borrowed from the body of the medium, who actually decreases temporarily in size and weight; and when it takes place, naturally that is a further source of serious disturbance to all the functions./121

No one connected with any school of white magic would think it right to interfere with the etheric double of any man in order to produce a materialisation, nor would he disturb his own if she wished to make himself visible at a distance. He would simply condense, and build into and around his astral body a sufficient quantity of the surrounding ether to materialise it, and hold it in that form by an effort of will as long as he needed it./121

There is no harm in using will-power to cure diseases, so long as no money or other consideration is taken for what is done. There are several methods; the simplest is the pouring in of vitality. Nature will cure most diseases if the man can be strengthened and supported while she is left to do her work. This is especially true of the various nervous diseases which are so painfully common at the present day. The rest-cure which is often advised for them, is quite the best thing that can be suggested, but recovery might often be greatly hastened if vitality were poured into the patient in addition. Any man who has surplus vitality may direct it by his will to a particular person; when he is not doing that, it simply radiates from him in all directions, flowing out principally through the hands. If a man is depleted of strength so that his spleen does not do its work properly, the pouring in of specialised vitality is often of the greatest help to him in keeping the machinery of the body going until he is able to manufacture it for himself./122

One should take care not to be caught or entangled on the astral plane, as a man easily may be, and that through his virtues as well as his vices, if he be not exceedingly cautious. For example, it is possible to affect others by thought, and thus obtain whatever is wanted from them, and the temptation of his power to an ordinary man would be overwhelming. /123

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