Occultism in South India T.Subba Row in his letter to Madame H.P.Blavatsky dated 3-8-1882 made certain claims. He did take HPB and others to the Ashrams of Rishis living in South India. The Science b…

Occultism in South India

T.Subba Row in his letter to Madame H.P.Blavatsky dated 3-8-1882 made certain claims. He did take HPB and others to the Ashrams of Rishis living in South India. The Science being of high sophistication and Sacredness the living saints do not come open into the world and try to popularize their systems. When the eligible persons are available they spare no pains to get in touch and guide them.

South India has always been a seat of Occultism. Rishi Agasthya travelled from North to South and stayed on here for certain reasons. Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhwa, to speak of only a few, were born here and made significant contribution to the Occult Sciences.

In modern times, many saints such as Aurobindo, Ramalingaswamy, Valluvar, Vemana, CVV were born here and formulated their Occult philosophies. There are any number of schools popularizing Occultism, Religious philosophy and Yoga systems. Achala and Taraka Raja yoga systems are ancient and still well known to their followers.

Occultism is the work of Universal mind on Nature, which includes the human-nature. It is a path to perfection and Realization, in the true sense of the term.

From the Logos who is heading the solar system, out-going energy flows through 7 centres of force. As these 7 Rays of Light come forth, so too there are 7 types of Adepts , in strict accordance of this classification are of 7 types. The first two classes of Adepts are rare in manifestation. Once in 2 or 3 thousand - year period one may appear on earth. Sankara and Buddha belong to these classes. The adepts of the other classes are always available on earth.

In Occultism, there are two distinct classes of tradition: Himalayan and the Southern. Though the aim pursuit of the adepts belonging to the two schools is the same, it is not necessary that those of south Indian system should dovetail to the Himalayan/Tibetan School.

 There is a clear Guruparampara in each of the systems. An adept while leaving his body selects an eligible Disciple and transfers all his spiritual knowledge and Wisdom to him for furtherance of the cause. The Teacher always overshadows his disciple and because of the stupendous skills and powers he exhibits we call him an Avatara many times. There are avataras and also those who have come up of their own struggle and strife (as we see in the case of Buddha - the Flower of the 4th root race.)

In the South school, there is lot of study connected with the states of consciousness. Jagrat, Svapna and Sushupti are the popular names given to these states but what is peculiar is the sub-states in each of them making a total of nine. The 9 stages of consciousness are tabulated underneath:

Jagrat                  Jagrat  -  waking consc.

                            Svapna-  dreaming

                            Sushupti- dreamless sleep

Svapna                Jagrat  - waking clairvoyance

                            Svapna -somnumbulic clairvoyance

                            Sushupti-kama loka

Sushupti              Jagrat - devachan

                            Svapna- between planets

                            Sushupti- between rounds

Above these 9 stages, come the true mystic states of consciousness.

     Adepts have access to these.

Atma or self observes the nine classes of objects which means such and such a consc. Is active.

There are seven senses according to Occult Science but the fact is the higher two are not yet developed. So the South school speaks of only 5 senses. There are 7 factors in each plane of the consciousness. But only 5 are active. The 6th factor is Mind. The 7th is Atma. Mind draws deductions from the impressions of the senses when collected and arranged. Atma observes the generalization that the mind makes from the impressions of the senses.

Seven rays emerging from the Logos are separate and subsequently co-mingle in the formation of all beings. When the individual begins his course of evolution, these rays are equally balanced in him. In the course of man's actions, his karma causes him to come under the particular influence of a Ray. He must make progress under this ray till he merges his life in the life of the Logos— the grand fountain-head of light and power.

Even as the merger takes place, man will not lose his individuality; he enjoys an almost infinite extension of individuality. Even as an individual merges with a particular Logos, the touch or contact with the other Logoi will not die down. He shares in and experiences their consciousness also.

We cannot possibly understand the relationship of Atma on any plane with the Logos. This relationship will be known only after the last initiation is taken. Then he will thoroughly understand his spiritual nature, sees the way to the Logos but it may take him several incarnations after the last initiation before he can merge in the Logos.

The South school recognizes 2 paths to the same end, the glorified Immortality.

(i)                 Steady natural path of progress through moral effort and practice of virtues.    

(ii)               Precipitous path of occultism through a series of initiations.

The second path is dangerous to those who do not hold the talisman which ensures safety.  This talisman is: a perfectly unselfish, self-forgetting, self-annihilating devotion to the religious good of mankind, a self-abnegation.

The South school recommends only the first path, not again saying that second path is not to be adopted at all. Disciple is sufficiently warned so that he does not hamper his own progress.

The first path is methodical this way:

(i) A devotion to virtue.

   (ii) A gradual withdrawal from the grosser material concerns.

               (iii)A withdrawal of life forces from the outward world and its interests.

   (iv) The direction of these forces to the inner life of the soul, until the man is able to withdraw himself within himself.

(v) Turn round to direct himself towards the Logos and the spiritual life and away from the material plane, he passes first into the astral life, and then into spiritual life, till at last the Logos is reached, and Nirvana is attained.

South school recommends the safe path; with reservation that if the disciple is   fit for it his Karma will lead him to the second path. Path of occultism seeks the disciple and will not fail to find him, when the fit man presents himself.

T.Subba Row, though he does not categorically indicate as such, is suggesting the Taraka Raja Yoga system for general adoption by the aspirants.                                                                                                


                                                                                  [Adopted from TSR's essay by Dr N C Ramanujachary]                                    







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Comment by Hari Menon on June 20, 2013 at 12:20am

Dear MKR ,

   I understand from your posts that you are quite knowledgeable in these things , it is reflected in your structured thoughts, unlike mine - but I am posting in long hand since , the background of the terrain helps and so the introductions ,(may or may not be wrong -but I take full responsibility for these remarks made- they will not be found in any book). A really lively discussion in a mature manner is possible once a person understands what the other means ! Failing which everything fails !!

Comment by Hari Menon on June 20, 2013 at 12:17am

Dear MKR,

    It is today only when I was searching fro the mentioned letter in your other post on the Internet I was led to this one !! , I do understand very well what you say in this one - 

You are absolutely correct a 100% on this what you have written , it is faultless in its knowledge .

The Southern Tradition of Self realization , is as you have delineated , but I wish to point out a sine qua non for the advatic students in the Shankara tradition , the understanding of the Siddha and Shaivism is a must , this initiations into the Shaivic traditions leads one to the right understanding of the moving aspect of Nature . It is also known as "Shakthi Sanchara"(m) - And the greatest people of knowledge of the Shaivate traditions and its perfectly pure advaitic part which is no different from that of Shakaras  can only be arrived at from the state of Tamil Nadu in India , they have a very very long and distinguished line of Philosophy which is in fact NOT dependent on Sanskrit literature and may be said to be in cases older than the Aryan Vedic counterparts of this philosophy , In fact , The Shaivaite Traditions and Philosophies are much older than the ARyan Philosophies which is rarely understood by the modern world .It is almost impossible to delineate the literatures on Philosophy that are available in Tamil which is the language of this state , The Siddha  Papampara started by the Sage Agastya is a great one and one of the science of life and medicines . There are many other exponents like Nadi Shastra which is so sublime and not just the holding of a pulse and then trying to predict like common wayside astrologers. These are all connected to the Shakthi Aspect in which the Adepts of this state are real masters , it is also doubtful whether whether the knowledge part that actually leads to self realization in Shaivism (apart from Shaathi Sancharam) is practised in the whole of North India with the depth and pristine beauty that is practised in the South mainly in this State of India . THis is not to denigrate the north or anything , but the knowledge aspect is what I am emphasizing and the real true practicioners of this very ancient tradition , which has very good insight into the primitive frertility cults and primeaval nature worship and of shadows .We are (I mean those who are of the Shankara school ) very much required to gain to this knowledge , it is sine qua non for the complete man to emerge , now what happens when one dives into Advaitic Shaivism - which is the same as that of Shankaras for after all it is Advaita , the person is thrown into the winds of Shakthi Sanchara according to his abilities and knowledge and believe me there are quite a few that it is almost very common and not surprising , it is as easy as meeting a man on the street .The Dvaita and Vishista Advaita are both experienced as the lower levels of these two systems of advaita , Shakthi Sanchara helps locate the exact points of Dvatic realization and Vishista Advaita ,Now just a remark on these points - it raises a smile when people debate about the merits of Ramanujachrya and Madhvacharya and Shankaracharya and the superiority of one over the other and who was contered by what in which Bhasyam or Nyaya or Vartka or Tika , the fact is it is   that Vishista Advaita , and Dvaita Philosophies  are stepping stones to Advaita and the experiencing of which are the indications of Advaitic Seat , these masters stopped short intentionally since it was meant for different types of students , It is impossible for a person not to experience the Advaitic Realization once the Pure realizations (by knowledge ) of either Dvaita or Vishastadvaita is there .

Something more of the Shaivaite learnings in Advaita , the initiation into the Shakti sanchara (which is actually pure Kundalini ) automatically leads on eto the Spands and The mysticsm of the Tibetan Buddhists. It is impossible not to be an person of Advaitic realization and not have knowledge of either Shaivaite Mystcsm or Tibetan Buddhism or Kashmiri Advaita (which again like the Dvaita and Vishista Advaita schools are complementarry ). I will bring out the particular distinction 

You are 100% correct in your post as to the two methods used by swamis in South India , the first is the Purely Knowledge part of Shankara and transcends through the 9 states of consciousness from Maha jagrath to Bija Jagrath.  No movemnets or lines are assumed in Advaita . Transceding by thought and knowledge alone , no out of body or anything is there -it is pure knowledge , a man sits in a place and realizes at the same place , there is no movement at all .This is a purely Vaishnavaite form of worship with Mahavishnu as the Deity, and moves through Maya.(I know that you can grasp the significance of this ) . It is the Raising of a Brahmakara Vritti within oneself (which happens in classical yoga but differently ).Which "dies" down on its own and takes all thoughts along with it .

In the second path which you have mentioned above is The realization of the self by understanding all aspects of "Nature" ie. cosmic nature - or in other words manifest nature which is Maya in other words.but called Shakthi in  Shaivism as it is the ocean where all the primeval tributaries of nature worship and other bizzare and lowly forms of worship come to subside in (in a way the ocean ) like brahmakara Vritti !!. SO when in the study of Shakthi Sanchara (which is the moving aspect of Shiva ) one does get to touch certain points where very ols and ancient Purushas have left their "doors' which allow glimpses into lost civilizations . This is not accessible normally , it will be opened by the purusha himself who is a dazzling one and no smaller than the thumb nail , but fully golden and resplendent , - THis is the ancient but venerable science of Sankhy which all yogis resort to irrespective of the path they have come through - so snkhy yoga is a prereqisite for the understanding of both Vaishanvaite and Shaivaite Advaita .IT is the point of absolute realization that the microcosmic is the macrocosmic takes place .There is no going back from this place of realization - it is the absolute realization and can be gained to by the Vaishnavites and Shaivaite Theorists of knowledge . NOw in Shakthi Sanchara - one is directly found among the north indian lobby of the Kasmir Advaita and one is "tethered' to these teachings first and then shakthi sanchara in depth is done to experience and teach the student of Tibetan Buddhism which is highly mystical only - the knowledge content is there but highly metaphorical and not easily understood unless one is already an advanced soul . Because of the nature of the terrain which is inhospotble the philosophy also is understood the same way and another problem is that - when knowledge is not complete the conceptions of the Purusha (which is there in Buddhism -The ancient one ) and the practitioner believes based on some incomplete experience having gained to leaves off the completion of the yoga - he leaves a maimaed or incomplete purusha in space which is of cosmic proprtions , these lie like various bodies in memory in heaps as mutilated and incomplete philosophies , and leaves the poor lesser spirits attached to those conceptions with no way of progressing here or for ever , so the adepts remove these bodies and liberate the spirits and "burn" the purushas which are incomplete at times advanced students do come across ancient purushas and then having realized join it to their "body" and complete the conception in an immaculate way .

For instance I can give you numerous examples which lie in the skies of Christianity also -we come across many contorted pictures and visions of jesus , crucified and with such faces one would be astonished, arrows shot into the body , some with no hands, some missing in many features, some with nose not there like a leper etc (I am not writing all the details ) Now these are the conception of man wrongly concieved and left off by the progenitors or artists who have in their naiivette been convinced of their self realization and left the god to die (or so it seems) they just realize so much and not any more , the agony and the picture they have drawn is acrystallization of their inner strugle and they have forgotten to turn it into a calm and reposing picture , of course good and immaculate conceptions are there but very very few and far between like the one with jesus sitting on a mountain top with his body turned to the east and in the cool twilight a solitary star that twinkles which conveys the great soul who has managed to turn his savoiur into a very epitome of Peace and calm contemplating man , these people have managed to pulll and remove the cross on jesus ang get him to climb the mountain and place him there by their very efforts and gain to peace .Man and his God - but these are rare. 

I hope I Have been helpful 

Comment by Dr N C Ramanujachary on November 8, 2012 at 10:09am

The definition I quoted(the first part) comes from the article 'The Elemental kingdoms'. .Blavatsky said this in her many statements.

2. The date of the letter is 3 February 1882 (not August, I'm sorry for this mistake.). This letter is in full form available in the text "Blavatsky's letters to Sinnett'.

Comment by Kurt Leland on November 8, 2012 at 7:34am

Another query. This blog post mentions a letter of Subba Row of 3-8-1882. Is this the correct date. I have tried to track this letter down and it is not mentioned in your list of the ten known letters of Subba Row. If the date is correct, I would very much appreciate being pointed to a book or Web resource that would allow me to read it in its entirety. What you have written about the letter here is most intriguing!

Comment by Kurt Leland on November 8, 2012 at 7:31am

I was led to your fascinating and informative posts on T. Subba Row while trying to track down the source of a definition of Occultism that has been attributed to H. P. Blavatsky. Your piece on Subba Row's article "Occultism in Southern India" contains a similar definition of Occultism to the one I am trying to track. My question is whether this statement originates in the writings of Subba Row, or whether you know of some other source for it. I have been annotating an anthology of writings by Annie Besant and the source of this particular definition has proved elusive. Here is the statement in your blog post::

Occultism is the work of Universal mind on Nature, which includes the human-nature. It is a path to perfection and Realization, in the true sense of the term.

Here are two occasions in which Annie Besant used a similar formulation:

To begin with, what is occultism? The word is used and misused in the most extraordinary ways. H. P. Blavatsky once defined it as the study of mind in nature, meaning by the word mind, in that connection, the study of the Universal Mind, the Divine Mind, the study of the workings of God in the Universe. (Occultism, Semi-Occultism, and Pseudo-Occultism)

Occultism has been defined by H. P. Blavatsky as the study of the Divine Mind in Nature. And, taking it in its broadest and deepest sense, I do not think that we can better that definition—the study of the Universal Mind as shown forth in the universe. ("Occultism and Occult Training")

If you or anyone else on this forum have suggestions on the source of this definition of Occultism, I would appreciate a response. There are many statements by HPB that employ parts of it, but I have not been able to trace it in its entirety.

Many thanks!

Comment by M K Ramadoss on July 25, 2012 at 9:06am

From a practical standpoint, the distinction between Himalayan and Southern seem to be not that important to most of us rookies. It looks like "a perfectly unselfish, self-forgetting, self-annihilating devotion to the religious good of mankind, a self-abnegation" seem to be the key foundation to both systems. Are any English language publications of Taraka Raja Yoga available?

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