All Occult Development Begins with the Vital Body

LETTER NO. 74 - January, 1917

Recently a friend who has been taking the correspondence course a number of months wrote to get a matter cleared up which is bothering him; and as it may be that others are feeling somewhat similar to him but have not reached the point of expression, we thought best to use this letter as an answer. It has sufficient general interest to be of value even to those who have not looked at the matter in the light seen by our friend. He does not want to complain, but he asked for the correspondence course in the hope of getting something to further occult development. Instead he receives each month a nice little sermon, which he admits is good for both beginners and advanced students, but where is the schooling? Other authors give certain exercises which help their followers; will we please give him one that will develop the faculty of writing?

No, we cannot do that. The Rosicrucian teachings are designed to further spiritual progress rather than material prosperity, and we know of no occult exercise which will bring wealth, either directly or by abnormally fostering a latent talent. If we did, we would not teach it, for such use of occult power is black magic. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you," said Christ, and we shall make no mistake by following His advice. If our friend or any one else wants to develop a latent faculty for the good alone he may do with it, that spiritual aspiration will, if persistently adhered to and backed by physical effort (works), eventually bring the desired end without the need of a special occult exercise.

And about the lessons being "nice little sermons." Yes, so they are when read superficially. But if they are studied deeply, there is a great deal of occult knowledge found of much more benefit to the student than an exercise such as the one our friend wants. There is, however, "method in our madness" in giving it out just that way. Perhaps this may not have been apparent to students, and we will therefore try to make it clear. Kindly bear in mind, however, that the following is a comparison made for a legitimate purpose; it is not a criticism.

Apart from the fact that the Eastern School of Occultism bases its teachings on Hinduism, while the Western Wisdom School espouses Christianity, the religion of the West, there is ONE GREAT FUNDAMENTAL, IRRECONCILABLE DISCREPANCY between the teachings of the modern representatives of the East and those of Rosicrucians. According to the version of Eastern Occultism the vital body--which is called "LINYA SHARIRA"--is comparatively unimportant, for it is incapable of development as a vehicle of consciousness. It serves only as an avenue for the solar force "prana," and as "a link" between the physical body and the desire body, which is called "KAMA RUPA," also the "astral body." this, they say, is the vehicle of the Invisible Helper.

The Western Wisdom School teaches us as its fundamental maxim that "ALL OCCULT DEVELOPMENT BEGINS WITH THE VITAL BODY," and the writer, as its public representative, has therefore been busy since the inception of our movement trying to gather and disseminate knowledge concerning the four ethers and the vital body. Much information was given in the "COSMO" and succeeding book, but the monthly lessons and letters give the result of our researches up to date. We are constantly parading this vital body (vital in a double sense) before the minds of the students so that by knowing and thinking about it as well as by reading and heeding the "nice little sermons" which we use to wrap this information in, they may consciously, and unconsciously, weave the "Golden Wedding Garment." We would advise all to study these lessons carefully year after year; there may be much dross, but there is gold among them.

You have our sincere wishes for abundant spiritual growth during the New Year.